Did you hear the joke about the Jeep built on a Fiat 500 frame? Yea, me neither, and there’s a good reason for it. The new 2015 Jeep Renegade
is indeed built on the same platform as the Fiat 500X, but this should stand to show how cool the new Jeep will be. From a wide assortment of colors to the seven engine choices, the Renegade seems to signal a new era for Jeep, marking a smaller, cooler 4WD that for once isn’t the Wrangler. While this is all nice and great, the big question is, will it off-road?
If little things like availability in your country don’t bother you, then you can have your choice of seven different engine variants including four conventional gasoline
, two diesel
, and even a flex-fuel model. Since you’re probably only looking at picking one of these up in the good old US of A, the engine lineup isn’t quite as stellar, but still not bad. In the US the Renegade will come with a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine food for 160 hp and 184 ft-lb of torque from the Fiat 500L and the 2.4-liter Tigershark engine from the Dodge Dart with 184 hp and 177 ft-lb of torque.
You need to get that power to the road somehow, and once again the Renegade has a lot to offer. Around the world the Renegade will feature four different transmissions options ranging from a first in its segment nine-speed automatic transmission to two different manual and even a dual dry-clutch setup. In the US however we’ll only see the 6-speed manual and the 9-speed automatic. The Renegade Trailhawk will use the 9-speed automatic with an additional low-range 4x4 that features a 20:1 crawl ratio and Jeep’s special terrain adjustment, known as Selec-Terrain.
There’s more to a ‘ute than engines and transmissions obviously, so check out the rest of the specs for the 2015 Jeep Renegade:
- 4-wheel independent suspension
- 8.1” of wheel articulation
- 8.7” ground clearance
- 30.5º approach angle
- 25.7º breakover angle
- 34.3º departure angle
- 19” water fording depth
- Koni FSD front and rear shock absorbers
- Hill-Descent Control
- 17” all-terrain tires
Can it Go Off-Road?
So, the big question is, will the new Jeep Renegade handle off-road conditions? Well, the answer is a little trickier than a simple yes or no. The Renegade is a full-time 4WD SUV that features a 20:1 crawl ratio in the Trailhawk model, and that’s a good thing. 8 inches of ground clearance is enough to get through some pretty deep ruts and clear some hefty rocks
, which is another good thing. The terrain response system and ride control give it the smarts to handle a variety of terrain without seeming too pre-programmed, and best of all, there’s still a manual transmission option. Overall, unless you’re planning on a deep excursion into Moab or Rubicon
, the Renegade looks to have all the power and features you’ll need to get dirty and have some fun. Skid plates, tow hooks, and a towing package available that can get the Renegade towing up to 2,000 pounds make for just enough capacity to have fun.
If everything is what Jeep says it is, this brother of the Fiat will definitely turn some heads and get people excited about smaller 4WDs that aren’t Wranglers once again.