While the automotive press was busy at the New York Auto Show awaiting Jeep's North American debut of the 2015 Jeep Renegade, we were in Moab, Utah, to experience the simultaneous introduction alongside Jeep enthusiasts. On hand to answer questions and uncover the Renegade at the annual Easter Safari were Jeep Marketing Manager Becky Blanchard and Senior Engineer Brian Nathan.
The Omaha Orange Jeep Renegade, a Trailhawk model, was right at home amongst the slick rock background of Moab as enthusiasts gathered around to take in the little Jeep for the first time. Featuring more traditional Jeep styling than the Cherokee, the Renegade seemed to strike a chord with the Jeep fans gathered at the Jeep display. Since this vehicle rides the line between cute and rugged, we heard many questions about fuel economy (estimated to be in the mid-30s), whether it can be flat-towed (manual, FWD model can be), and price (yet to be announced).
The Renegade is powered by a 1.4L Turbo MultiAir I-4 or a 2.4L TigerShark MultiAir2 I-4 and backed by either a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmission, shared with the Cherokee. Also available is Jeep's excellent Active Drive four-wheel-drive system, while Trailhawk models benefit from the Active Drive Low, which adds a 20:1 crawl ratio. Other unique Trailhawk features include tow hooks, skidplates, and differentiating styling.
In person, the smallest Jeep is much bigger than it looks in photos -- and actually dimensionally compared to the beloved first-generation Cherokee XJ. The upright profile, which is taller than the larger Grand Cherokee, allows the Renegade to offer a surprising amount of interior volume, including a deep cargo area. The little Jeep, co-developed with Fiat, was designed for adventurous buyers on a budget, giving them access to the Jeep brand and Jeep capability at a lower price point, while also offering a high-mileage vehicle that should appeal to those who may have never considered a Jeep before.
Other cool features include Jeep's Trail Rated certification in the Trailhawk model, optional My Sky removable roof panels, and a ton of fun design cues hidden about that tie the Renegade into the Jeep family. If the positive reception in Moab is any indication, the Renegade isn't going to have any problem being adopted as an authentic member of the Jeep family.
To learn more about the Jeep Renegade, visit our first look here!