The 2015 Jeep Renegade is Chrysler-Fiat’s first attempt at adding a crossover vehicle to the iconic American brand, and it could become Jeep’s most-important vehicle. With a wide range of engine options to help it compete in a variety of markets, the 2015 Jeep Renegade is a big deal wrapped in a small car.
While the Renegade broke cover Sunday when early pictures leaked, now we finally have all the important deets, including engine specs and transmission options. There’s actually 16 different powertrain combinations, including a four different gasoline engines (at least two of which are shared with corporate cousin, the Dodge Dart) and a pair of Fiat diesel motors that the U.S. won’t be getting, at least for now. No hybrid model, at least not yet.
Among the engine options is a 1.4 liter turbo with 160 horsepower and 184 ft-lbs of torque, and a bigger 2.4 liter, 184 horsepower four-banger with 177 ft-lbs of torque and 2,000 pounds of towing capacity. The smaller, turbo engine will come mated to a six-speed manual transmission driving the front wheels, though a new all-wheel drive system will be available that disconnects the rear wheels when not needed, improving fuel economy.
While the horsepower and towing may be kind of wimpy for a Jeep, engineers made sure purists don’t have too much to complain about by giving the Jeep Renegade 8.7 inches of ground clearance and the Jeep Active Low 4×4 system. More geared towards off-road rock crawling than snowy highway driving, the Active Low system offers a 20:1 crawling gear ratio, making for a total of five driving options for drivers who select this feature.
Fuel economy guesstimates haven’t been launched yet, though the smaller four-banger should be good for over 30 MPG highway. Alas, America will miss out on the higher-MPG diesel engines, as well as a Stop-start system that will come standard on European models, including its cousin the Jeep Cherokee. That could change though, as word of a diesel-powered Wrangler seem to indicate that Jeep could embrace more efficient engines down the road.
But for now at least we’re getting a turbocharged engine and a manual transmission, something the Jeep lineup has seriously lacked, and all in a pretty good-looking, Jeep-badged package. I have a hard time complaining about that, even if the styling is a little soft for my personal taste.
Sounds like a surefire winner for the latest entrant in the crossover segment.