The smallest Jeep has received a facelift, and it’s now cuter than ever. Introduced in 2014, the Jeep Renegade is unlike most 4x4s carrying the famous badge – jointly developed by a team of Italians and Americans, it’s based on Fiat’s Small Wide platform that also underpins the Fiat 500L, and is made in Italy at the Melfi SATA Plant in Basilicata for Europe.

The B-segment SUV then became the first global Jeep model, with assembly at the GAC FCA plant in Guangzhou, China, and in Pernambuco, Brazil, for the South American market.

The 2019 Jeep Renegade is boosted with more comprehensive safety equipment and up-to-date infotainment. There’s also a range of new three and four-cylinder downsized turbo petrol engines, which include a 1.0 triple with 120 hp/190 Nm and a 1.3 litre four-pot with 150 hp or 180 hp and 270 Nm of torque.

The entry engine is paired with a six-speed manual while the 150 hp 1.3L comes with a DDCT (Dual Dry Clutch Transmission). Both are front-wheel drive. The 180 hp 1.3L is mated to a nine-speed torque converter automatic with available 4WD.

The new modular engines are made entirely of aluminium for lightness (weight starts from 93 kg). The crankcase, developed in partnership with Teksid, is made of high-pressure die-cast aluminium alloy. Cast-in iron liners are used to increase structural robustness. They are 1.8 mm thick and coated on the outside with aluminium to create a “metallurgical bond” between liner and block. An architecture with bedplate was chosen as it offers the best balance of noise, vibrations, weight and structural performance, FCA says.

For better efficiency, the new engines have a 70 mm bore with a stroke-to-bore ratio of 1.24 and a 10 mm crank offset. This forms a very compact combustion chamber to benefit thermal efficiency. A conrod-crank architecture with improved mechanical efficiency results in minimised friction. The third generation of Fiat’s MultiAir tech, which improves combustion efficiency by adjusting valve lift and timing, is debuting on this new engine series.

Other highlights include direct fuel injection to maximise volumetric efficiency and a low-inertia turbocharger managed by an electrically controlled wastegate actuator, paired with a water-cooled supercharger module in the intake manifold to ensure quicker transient response.

In the diesel camp lies the updated 1.6L (120 hp, 6MT or DDCT) and 2.0L (140 hp or 170 hp, with 6MT or 9AT) MultiJet II units, all with SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) and Euro 6/D compliance. There’s also NOx reduction through AdBlue injection (the underfloor passive SCR manages ammonia slip, continuing the reduction process) and particulate matter reduction, through regeneration management.

The Renegade can be had with two 4WD systems (Jeep Active Drive and Jeep Active Drive Low), rear axle disconnect, Selec-Terrain traction control, Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control. The off-road Trailhawk trim best emphasises the 4×4’s off-road capabilities with maximum wheel articulation up to 205 mm and a ground clearance of up to 210 mm, plus a “Rock” mode in Selec-Terrain.

The 2019 Renegade manages to look cuter than ever, yet unmistakably Jeep. The new front fascia sports a redesigned, cut-in silhouette seven-slot Jeep grille – similar to the new Wrangler – new headlamps and fog lamps. The roof bars are black on Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk models.

The new headlamps with full-LED daytime running lights, high beam, low beam and fog lamps (optional on Limited and Trailhawk) enhance looks and safety – visibility is up by 50% compared to halogens and brightness is improved by 20% compared to xenons, Jeep says. The rear also features updated tail lamps with new LED light clusters, available on the Limited and Trailhawk. The light clusters feature an X pattern inspired by the Wrangler. Check out the gallery below to find surprise Easter egg details.

Exterior changes are completed by new wheels. The new model year offers seven different wheel options, from 16- to 19-inch, with the latter introduced for the first time and exclusive to the Limited.

Two “open-air roof systems” are available: a dual-pane electric sliding glass roof and My Sky, which has two lightweight panels that can be easily removed and stowed in the boot.

Inside, the Renegade gets a new centre console, which now features a built-in smartphone holder, new cup holders and additional storage compartments, including a pocket for an iPad Mini or other small devices. Also new is the position of the additional USB port (now at the rear of the central armrest for easy rear passenger access). These solutions provide more than 1.2 liters of additional storage space. There are new bezels on the radio, vents, central tunnel and speakers.

The Jeep can be had with five-inch, seven-inch or 8.4-inch NAV Uconnect touchscreen systems, which pack a more powerful processor with improved response capability. The top two variants come with a capacitive touchscreen with pinch and zoom capability and a customisable menu bar with ‘Drag and Drop’. It’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto friendly, too.

Lastly, safety. The 2019 Renegade comes standard with Lane Sense Departure Warning-Plus (self corrects to keep you in lane) and Intelligent Speed Assist with Traffic Sign Recognition. Auto parking now gets out of parking spots automatically as well. Forward Collision Warning-Plus with Active Emergency Braking standard, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind-Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path Detection are all available.

In Europe, sales of the 2019 Jeep Renegade will start in September. In Russia, the Middle East and Africa, the refreshed small Jeep will be available from the end of 2018.