This funky-looking mini-SUV is the new Jeep Renegade, the American brand’s surprise entry to the B-segment SUV market. The Italian-built Renegade is based on Fiat’s Small Wide platform that also underpins the Fiat 500L.
With this car, the brand is trading heavily on its military heritage. Traditional Jeep styling cues such as the seven-slat grille, circular headlights and square wheel arches give the Renegade a sort of concentrated Wrangler feel, but in a softer, less aggressive way. Thrown into the mix are some nice details like the jerry can-inspired tail lights and red Willys Jeep logos on one of the available wheel options.
The rugged-but-organic look extends to the interior, which features a design language called “Tek-Tonic”. Soft, tactile forms are juxtaposed with rugged details like the Wrangler-esque passenger grab handle. As with the exterior, the interior also features a number of little Easter Eggs such as a topographical map of Moab, Utah – a popular off-roading destination – in a storage tray ahead of the gearlever.
One of the main features of the Renegade’s interior is the My Sky roof system, which Jeep says continues the open-top off-roader tradition that began with the Willys Jeep. It consists of two fibreglass polyurethane panels that can either be removed manually and stowed in the boot or tilt and slide away electrically to open up the roof from the second row forward.
Six Fiat engines will be available with the Renegade – four MultiAir petrols and two MultiJet II diesels. Depending on the engine choice, you can get either a five- or six-speed manual, a six-speed dry dual-clutch transmission or a nine-speed automatic, as well as front- or four-wheel drive (with Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system). Suspension is fully independent, with McPherson struts at the front and Chapman struts at the rear.
Like the Cherokee, the Jeep Renegade is also available with a “Trail Rated” Trailhawk variant, which promises proper off-road capabilities. It features a low-range four-wheel drive system, a 20 mm higher ride height, a “Rock” setting on the Selec-Terrain system, 17-inch all-terrain tyres, skid plates and red tow hooks.
Live pix by Stefan Baldauf / Robert Kah