Jeep has just lifted the veils off their smallest model ever and it’s a beauty. Called the 2015 Jeep Renegade, it’s the automaker’s first foray into the growing midsize crossover market, combining on-road driving dynamics with the iconic badge’s best-in-class off-road expertise.
Looking like a baby version of the Jeep Wrangler, it brings the familiar seven-slat grille, circular headlights, and upright stance that’s been the outfit’s trademark identifier, fully embracing the brand’s familiar styling while looking every bit suited to ply the daily traffic you encounter. And while the exaggerated lines make it appear more adorable than rugged, that actually plays well to city driving, all while still owning every credential necessary to make it suitable for less-than-paved terrains.
The Jeep Renegade comes with Fiat-Chrysler’s all-new small-wide Active Drive Low 4×4 system, which can provide up to 100 percent of the engine’s available torque to the ground, along with a 20:1 crawl ratio and Jeep’s Selec-Train system. Key off-road features include 8.1 inches of wheel articulation, 8.7 inches of ground clearance, hill-descent control, custom fascias (30.5 degree approach, 25.7 degree breakover, and 34.3 degree departure angles), 17-inch all-terrain tires, 19 inches of water fording, and up to 3,300 pounds of towing capability depending on engine. Suffice to say, this whip should handle medium-duty off-road adventures without breaking a single bolt.
Every Jeep needs a way to enjoy the open skies and the Renegade does that by offering two options in open-air roof systems, both of which can be removed completely to enjoy outdoor bliss full time. Other details include 16 available powertrain combinations, an optional nine-speed automatic transmission, a full-color instrument cluster (including a 7-inch touchscreen display), and up to 50.8 cubic feet of interior storage (with the rear seats folded flat).
Hands down, the Jeep Renegade looks poised to be a serious contender in the small SUV category — it’s pretty, it’s tough, and it’s loaded with a large amount of options for those inclined towards more rugged paths. No word yet on pricing or availability date.