The new Jeep Renegade marks a series of firsts in the company’s history. On sale in the UK from February 2015, the Renegade is Jeep’s first entry into the small SUV segment. It is also the first Fiat Chrysler Automobiles car to be jointly developed by Italian and American engineers and the first Jeep to be built in Europe but sold in the
Those aren’t the Jeep Renegade’s only firsts. It becomes the first small SUV to feature a nine-speed gearbox. It is the first in its segment to have rear axle disconnect and it is unique in class thanks to the My Sky sunroof that gives occupants a true open-air driving experience. It is also the first in its segment to have a seven-inch full colour multi-view display in its instrument binnacle.
Although it’s built in Italy, at the rejuvenated SATA plant in Melfi, the Renegade had to be instantly recognizable as a Jeep. It will be sold in 100 markets globally and designers were challenged to come up with a look that would symbolize Jeep’s American heritage while appealing to youthful and adventurous car buyers. The result is rugged yet chic thanks to a combination of the brand’s classic styling cues such as the seven slot grille, round headlamps and trapezoidal wheel arches that blend with the fresh, modern look.
A new architecture beneath enables the Renegade to achieve Jeep’s fabled ‘Trail Rated’ status. This means the new model will be able to combine best-in-class off-road ability with world-class on-road driving dynamics. Inside, functional details crafted from high quality materials and using innovative colours ensure the Renegade will become a polished addition to its owners’ lives. It’ll be a practical one too, courtesy of best-in-class interior space and clever, functional storage areas.l;
Equipment has been designed to boost on-board comfort. Advanced technology includes the intuitive Uconnect touchscreen for infotainment with a choice between 5 and 6.5-inch screens. A wide range of options includes the kind of open air freedom that until now has been unavailable in the small SUV class. The unique-to-segment My Sky has two lightweight panels that can be easily removed and stowed in the boot for a truly panoramic open-air experience.
There is also an array of advanced safety features including Forward Collision Warning Plus with Crash Mitigation which automatically prevents or reduces the impact in low-speed shunts; ParkSense Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist that automatically parks the car; LaneSenseTM Lane Departure Warning Plus; and Adaptive Cruise Control.
The Jeep Renegade is available in 11 colours with six wheel designs and there are six powertrain combinations, each of which offers a combination of efficiency and performance. There are two MultiAir II petrol engines, a pair of MultiJet II turbo diesels and the 1.6-litre eTorque petrol. There are also five and six-speed manual gearboxes, the Dual Dry Clutch Transmission and the nine-speed automatic gearbox. Available with two or four-wheel drive the Renegade boasts two new, advanced 4×4 systems: Jeep Active Drive and Jeep Active Drive Low.
The new 4×4 systems supply the proper amount of torque for any driving situation ensuring enhanced safety even in the slipperiest conditions. The rear axle disconnect system seamlessly switches between two and four-wheel-drive to guarantee traction but reduce the energy required and therefore fuel consumption when 4×4 capability isn’t needed. Jeep Active Drive and Active Drive Low are combined with Jeep Selec-Terrain which gives the driver four settings (five on the Trailhawk version) for optimum performance on any surface. Combined with independent suspension that will give a maximum wheel articulation of up to 205mm with ground clearance of up to 210mm on the Trailhawk model, the Jeep Renegade sets new standards of 4×4 capability in the small SUV segment.
The Jeep Renegade range has four trim levels: Sport, Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk. Early Renegade customers will have the choice of a fifth model, the Opening Edition. Although the Sport is the entry to the range, it still features a high level of specification. Standard equipment on this includes a five-inch Uconnect touch-screen with a DAB radio and Bluetooth plus auxiliary and USB connectors, a 3.5-inch Electronic Vehicle Information Centre, air-conditioning, electric parking brake and 16-inch aluminum wheels.
The Longitude offers high levels of functionality and comfort. It does so by augmenting the Sport model’s features with optional four-wheel drive plus large car equipment such as standard cruise control, ambient LED lighting, a leather wrapped steering wheel and satellite navigation as well as 17-inch aluminum wheels. The Limited tops the range in terms of technological equipment and has 18-inch aluminum wheels, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, leather upholstery, the segment leading seven-inch colour Thin Film Technology (TFT) Electronic Vehicle Information Centre, 6.5-inch Uconnect touch-screen with sat nav and Bluetooth, privacy glass, rear parking sensors and silver side roof rails, door mirrors and front grille. The exclusive Opening Edition is limited to 200 models. It comes with a unique interior and unique 18-inch wheels; 100 are available in Alpine white, 100 in Omaha orange paintwork.
The Trailhawk is the model with the most ability off-road thanks to the Jeep Active Drive Low and Selec-Terrain system with Hill Descent Control and Rock Mode. It has all the key equipment from the Limited model and stands out as being the most capable Renegade of the lot thanks to a ride height that’s raised by 30mm compared to the 4×2 model, chunky mud and snow tyres, unique front and rear facias to improve approach and departure angles along with front suspension and transmission skid plates plus transfer case and fuel tank skid plate shields and a tow hook. The Trailhawk is the only Renegade to come with the 170hp version of the 2.0-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel with the nine-speed automatic transmission. And like every other model in the range it oozes the same sense of adventure and individuality that Jeeps are famous for.
DESIGN: RUGGED YET CHIC
As Jeep’s first offering in the small SUV segment, the new Renegade’s design must fulfil a complex set of requirements. The compact proportions required to ensure manoeuvrability in tight city centres also have to allow best-in-class off-road capability. It must look rugged while still being functional, versatile and stylish. It must also appeal to youthful customers who want to share Jeep’s values of freedom and adventure yet expect world-class quality and efficiency.
The result is a purposeful design that has the short overhangs, rugged body forms and aggressive wheel to body proportions that Jeep is famous for. Although the new Renegade’s look is bang up to date, there’s no doubting it’s a Jeep thanks to the signature seven-slot grille and large circular headlamps. At sill level, there’s moulded, colour-accented cladding. A raised belt line refers to the Jeep Wrangler’s half doors and the roof has an optional daylight opening reminiscent of the Wrangler’s classic hard top. The trapezoidal wheel arches, beefy tyres and wide bumpers have been associated with Jeep for more than seven decades.
The rear too has pointers to Jeep heritage with Wrangler-like square tail lamps and a black surround. The rear lights feature a new X design theme which was inspired by the ‘jerry’ cans mounted on the back of the military Willys Jeep – the legend that inspired the brand.
As a family car the new Jeep Renegade will need a highly adaptable interior. To achieve something that embodies the required comfort, quality, functionality and style it was designed around four pillars. Its design must make an emotional impact; it has to employ high quality materials; it should integrate state of the art technologies; and it must use space intelligently with clever storage solutions.
Jeep’s designers christened the form language they used for the Renegade’s interior ‘Tek-Tonic’. This is the combination of soft and tactile shapes and materials with rugged but functional details. An example is the way the beefy passenger grab handle is smoothly integrated into the air vent to make it look almost sculpted. Set into the soft-touch dashboard is a unique protective clamp surrounding the Uconnect touchscreen. This is embossed with the ‘Since 1941’ legend, in homage to Jeep’s history. A further nod to heritage comes with front cup holders that use the same X shape design detail as the tail lamps.
For added appeal, the protective clamp bezel surrounds the gear lever and is finished in an anodized accent colour to match the frames surrounding the climate control vents, the cup holder and the speakers.
There are six trim choices. These include: black cloth with Satin Silver bezel accents; black/Sandstorm cloth with Satin Silver bezel accents; Bark Brown/Ski Grey cloth with contrasting Anodized Orange bezel accents and stitching (Longitude); black leather with Satin Silver bezel accents and stitching; Bark Brown/Ski Grey leather with Anodized Orange bezel accents and stitching (Limited); and black leather with Ruby Red bezel accents and stitching (Trailhawk).
INTERIOR: CLASS LEADING SPACE AND TECH
The Jeep Renegade’s interior combines a series of attributes that make it the perfect accomplice for family life in the 21st Century. Clever design combines with clever touches to make it both helpful and enjoyable to spend time with. Drivers of the new Renegade sit behind a unique steering wheel with a substantial rim. This features controls for the audio and vehicle systems and as a unique feature in this segment, it can be specified to be heated. Further comfort is offered by the centre console armrest which is adjustable and padded in soft-touch material.
The rear seats split fold 60/40 or in Trailhawk models can be specified to have a 40/20/40 split with a ski flap for long, thin loads. To maximise possible carrying space, the front passenger seat folds forwards to enable the Renegade to carry really long objects. The boot has 351 litres of load space with the rear seats in place. Fold them flat and there’s 1297 litres of load space. The Renegade also features a removable, reversible and height-adjustable cargo floor panel as an option.
All models have air-conditioning with Limited and above adding dual-zone climate control. The controls for this nestle in the lower part of the dashboard. Beneath it and directly below the USB, auxiliary inputs and 12-volt power outlet there’s a storage compartment complete with a rubberized mat moulded with the topography of Moab, a legendary off-road spot in Utah for Jeep enthusiasts.
Connectivity and infotainment: The Jeep Renegade comes with a range of state-of-the-art and segment-leading high-tech features. These are a customisable and intuitive way to make life on-board as comfortable and entertaining as possible.
The Renegade has Jeep’s Uconnect system which provides an interface between vehicle occupants and communication, entertainment and navigation touchscreen and even voice control. Uconnect comes in two versions, each with its own size of screen: Uconnect 5.0 with a 5-inch screen is in Sport and Longitude models while Uconnect 6.5AN with a 6.5-inch screen comes with Limited and Trailhawk models.
The Uconnect 5.0 system enables handsfree calls from Bluetooth phones. Compatible smartphones can send from a list of 18 pre-defined text messages. The system also announces the receipt of a message, identifies the sender and ‘reads’ the message aloud. Music can be streamed wirelessly while MP3 players can be connected to the premium media hub via the standard auxiliary jack or USB port and charged. The AM/FM DAB radio can be controlled by voice commands.
The Uconnect 6.5AN does everything 5.0 does and more. It also features sensor-assisted GPS satellite navigation. This helps to ensure accurate positioning, even in tunnels and areas where GPS signals are obstructed. And the stunning 3D graphics give a more detailed view of cities and landmarks. The Uconnect system can be specified with an optional ParkView rear reversing camera.
The Renegade also boasts the segment’s largest full-colour instrument cluster. This 7-inch Thin Film Technology (TFT) screen is standard in Limited and Trailhawk models and substituted with a 3.5-inch monochrome display in Sport and Longitude versions. Whichever the model, the screen sits in front of the driver within the instrument cluster. It displays information using a combination of graphics and text designed to communicate in a simple and straightforward way so that the driver’s main focus can stay on the road.
The display is operated by buttons on the steering wheel and drivers can customise the screen’s centre with a multitude of information. It offers the choice between turn-by-turn navigation signs, speed, real-time economy, audio information and safety warnings. The four corners of the TFT display can be customised to show current fuel economy, outside temperature, time, and compass direction. And warnings instantly pop up on the display. Either side of the screen there’s a large analogue speedometer and rev counter. The latter has a mud-splatter graphic on it instead of the traditional red line.
Open air freedom : Jeep Renegade buyers have a choice of two sun roofs. The unique-to-segment My Sky is stamped with the characteristic Renegade X design and consists of two panels. These lightweight rigid sections are easy to remove to give a feeling of open air freedom entirely new to this kind of vehicle. The panels can then be stored in protective bags and stowed safely in the lower part of the boot. Alternatively there’s a large dual-pane electric sliding glass roof.
4×4 SYSTEMS: STRAIGHT TO THE TOP OF THE CLASS
Jeep is renowned for offering best-in-class capability off-road and the Renegade has been engineered not to disappoint. It enjoys two innovative 4×4 drive trains that have been designed to provide traction in any environment. And it becomes the first small SUV to feature rear axle disconnect to deliver two-wheel drive levels of fuel efficiency.
Jeep Active Drive: Available on Longitude or Limited models, Jeep Active Drive is a fully automatic 4×4 system that slips seamlessly between two and four-wheel drive as road and driving conditions dictate. This enables it to limit understeer and oversteer for safer driving. An innovative Power Transfer Unit (PTU) can provide up to 2000Nm of the engine’s available torque to the rear wheels. A fully variable wet clutch, housed in the rear drive module, uses Jeep’s specially developed algorithms to combine with the PTU and give the right amount of torque for any driving conditions, no matter how low traction is.
Jeep Active Drive Low
Drivers who want best in class 4×4 ability can choose Jeep Active Drive Low. This builds on the strengths of Jeep Active Drive by offering a 20:1 low range ratio. It is available on Limited and Trailhawk models with the 2.0-litre diesel and nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Both 4×4 systems feature Jeep’s Selec-Terrain. This allows the driver to choose on and off-road settings for optimum performance in all conditions. All models feature four customised settings: Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud. Jeep Active Drive Low on the Trailhawk model adds a fifth: Rock. Selec-Terrain includes Hill Descent Control (HDC). At the push of a button, this uses the vehicle’s ABS braking system to control each wheel’s speed and enable smooth and restrained hill descent on slippery terrain without the driver’s input.