By on March 4, 2014

2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk

What you’re looking at is a four-wheeled ATM for Fiat Chrysler. The Jeep Renegade is a unibody crossover based on a Fiat car platform. To satisfy the Jeep faithful, it has an available all-wheel drive system with a 20:1 crawl ratio, 8.7 inches of ground clearance and a rock crawling mode as well as a 2,000 lb towing capability with the 2.4L 4-cylinder (Euro-spec diesels get as much as 3,300 lbs). None of that matters as much as the fact that it’s an entrant for Jeep in one of the automotive world’s fastest growing segments.

The Renegade will be they key to FCA’s plan to turn Jeep into a “global brand”. The Geneva unveiling is just the tip of the iceberg, with the car expressly designed for the needs of world markets – two diesel powertrains, a 1.6L making 118 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, and a 2.0L making 140 or 170 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque will be offered outside North America. Both the diesels, the 1.4L Multiair engines and the naturally aspirated 1.6L gasoline I4 get start-stop, with a 6-Speed DCT offered on certain 1.4 models.

The wide range of powertrains will help the Renegade stay competitive in Europe, Asia and other markets where high fuel costs and taxes on displacement and CO2 emissions. Other features like blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning and lane departure warning, as well as UConnect, offer advanced active safety features in what is typically a value segment.

Vehicles like the Dacia Duster and Ford Ecosport have been more no-frills, valued priced affairs. The Opel Mokka and Renault Captur offer more content, but both feature the “amorphous blob” aesthetic so typical of most entrants in this segment. The Renegade, on the other hand, looks like nothing else. Practicality aside, buyers in the small crossover segment are looking to make a statement, rather than opting for the same old B and C-segment hatchbacks – especially in emerging markets.

In many ways, Jeep can thank Fiat for what is essentially a Panda 4×4 dressed up in Carhartt jeans and Red Wing boots. Fiat has provided the platform, the powertrains, the assembly plant and the understanding of what it takes to compete in world markets. But only Jeep could make the Renegade so desirable, with its just-right proportions, Wrangler-esque design cues, and the halo effect of the Jeep brand.

The Renegade looks to be a rare synthesis of the best parts of the Fiat-Chrysler partnership. It is the right product, delivered at a time when the automotive market cannot get enough small crossovers. FCA’s biggest problem will be finding enough capacity to build them.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

77 Comments on “Editorial: The Jeep Renegade Is Geneva’s Most Important Debut...”


  • avatar

    20:1 is nothing ground-shaking, but I’ll have to take it. The 2000 lbs tow rating is okay (same as newer Pentastar Wranglers actually).

    BTW, the roof turns out to consist of removable panels.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    “faitful” Play on vowels, Derek.

    Odd little duck with whimsical detailing, that won’t survive the concept, but should.

  • avatar

    Agreed totally Derek. Rumors have it the Fiat will take this car and put its own brand on it here in Brazil. 2015 is what I hear. Would be a great hit here, or like we say, a “golaço”. Under the Fiat or Jeep brand.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    The FIAT 500L has a $20k price tag and gets 28 combined MPG, but has no tow rating. It’s also fugly.

    This Jeep is a lot prettier. If I can get a FWD, 6-speed Renegade that has a 1k tow rating and still gets 28 MPG for $20k, I’ll mail my deposit to Sergio tomorrow.

    • 0 avatar

      Hah! I’d take the 500L any day of the week, but I prefer a minivan to anything “jeepy” (talking about Wrangler-like vehicles, Defender etc. and not the brand “Jeep”). I’m sure my wife wouldn’t though. But I’m sure her tastes are more in tune with the tastes of people the world over. For better or worse, it does seem that cars like this Renegade are the wave of today and the forseeable future.

      • 0 avatar
        eggsalad

        Oh, I’d take a minivan in a hot second over any of these. I loved my 1992 Plymouth Voyager. Unfortunately, nobody sells a minivan with a clutch in the US anymore. That leaves me stuck with CUV.

        • 0 avatar
          rdchappell

          Mazda5?

          • 0 avatar
            eggsalad

            Aside from its (dismal) 3rd row of seats, the Mazda5 doesn’t hold a candle to its cousin, the CX-5.

            Currently, the CX-5 sits atop my short list of buy candidates. This Renegade has the potential to kick it to 2nd place.

          • 0 avatar
            Roberto Esponja

            eggsalad, a relative of mine in Barcelona owns a CX5 with manual transmission and can’t say enough nice things about it, she really likes it. And she’s a picky girl.

            Funny thing, she also fell in love with my Town & Country when she and her husband visited us. Couldn’t get enough of the practicality, comfort, etc.

        • 0 avatar
          eManual

          eggsalad – I still have a 1992 Voyager with a stick, but the head gasket is starting to leak. Also looking at the CX-5 when the weather gets better.

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        Haha, to each their own indeed! I’ve only seen 1 500L in person, but it just looked so “wrong” to me. It took all the cues of the quintessential Italian small car style, and then over-inflated them. It’s like the new Minis. I get why they did it, but all the magic is lost for me.

        I’m just too picky though.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I have to admit that this is decent looking for an entry-level Jeepster type vehicle, that should sell well in emerging markets & many European countries suffering under the displacement=sin regime.

          However, color me extremely skeptical of Fiat’s short, intermediate & long term reliability/durability. This may not matter as much in non-North American markets (just look at how well received VW products are in those markets), but it will be an Achilles heel in North America.

          Solid state-like reliability is not only expected of vehicles sold in North America, but solid state-like reliability alone won’t even guarantee success.

          The Fiat multi-air engines are not faring well thus far in North America; I realize some here own them and love them *khrodes* and am glad, but the hard data is thus far not shining kindly on their reliability, period.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I suppose when the 2 litre diesel comes to Australia the pricing vs quality will play a role in numbers sold.

    Jeep in Australia offer a lot of bling at a cheap price.

    Hopefully the “US” vehicles will come up to Korean car standards.

    As for the 20:1 ratio, it will suit what most customers of this product will ever use it for.

    It would be a great vehicle for a young couple who surf, fish, camp and want to tow a small boat.

    Fiat might be onto a winner here, especially the diesel variant.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    The problem I felt with the 500L was essentially it was a great sized 4-seater that had no carrying capacity. I understand that car serves more or less a 2nd-car situation or city dwellers where a much smaller car serves better. This Jeep is marketed as a serious competitor for your main-car dollars.

    I would love to see it succeed and sell because it seems like a really nice car that will serve a market that needs more competent players. I’ll be looking at one when they make it to these shores but I doubt I’ll be a buyer because it looks like it still lacks any major trunk space.

  • avatar
    niky

    The awesome Panda 4×4 with a sexy Jeep body? Consider me sold.

    But the idea that there’s nothing like it is an insult to the Suzuki Jimny. Then again, the Jimny is absolutely prehistoric compared to this.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Just from reading and perusing the pictures I see a lot of Honda Element in these. The so-called multi-activity vehicle that was discontinued in 2011 was offered with a stick. I can see some Element owners who are ready for a trade in making their way down to Sergio’s place for a look. Plus it’s about the same price as the Element.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    “In many ways, Jeep can thank Fiat for what is essentially a Panda 4×4 dressed up in Carhartt jeans and Red Wing boots.”

    No way this is related to the Panda (Fiat Mini platform). The pictures make it look much, much longer and wider, especially the interior pictures. I guess it’s on the GM-Fiat SCCS platform. (500L, Opel Corsa/Adam, Alfa MiTo, Citroën Nemo…)

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    “buyers in the small crossover segment are looking to make a statement”

    Horse hockey…. we’re looking for tall, high-riding, decent MPG vehicle for 18-25K that doesn’t require a rubber spine for ingress & egress and that restores visibility and suspension travel for surviving increasingly dense traffic on rapidly crumbling roads. And some of us also deal with considerable snow driving.

    Most of us are at an age where any statements we needed to make done been made. For us, there is no “practicality aside”. In the US, it’s all about “refinement of the decline” and this vehicle is a perfect fit.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      I think he meant the younger ones. ;)

    • 0 avatar

      Kenmore,

      With all due respect, I think that you are correct re: North America, but in Europe, this vehicle is something that makes a statement versus a Golf, Fiesta etc

      • 0 avatar
        OldandSlow

        Derek, I agree with your take on Europe. That said, for “one” North American, that’s me – the 2015 Renegade get’s back to the roots of the crossover utility vehicle – before the CR-V and RAV 4 became bloated suburbanite people wagons.

        The first generation CR-V and RAV 4 were heaps of fun on unpaved back roads without as many scraping noises as the typical 2014 CUV.

        I own a Mazda Tribute. So, I can tell you about those scraping noises from beneath the vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          @OldandSlow — I agree, the first thing I thought of is how this reminds me of my 2nd-gen CRV, and really its more like the original 1st gen CRV or RAV4 which was the perfect size small CUV. Give it modern safety and economy and a decent dose of soft-roading capability and I will be buying one.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I agree on the comparisons to the older CRVs in terms of decent ground clearance (those had 8.7, same as this Jeep), but the CRVs were much more practical in terms of roominess. You could go with 4 friends and your gear, hatch volume is something like 27 cu ft on the original CRV. 12.4 in the Renegade. You could fit 4 people+ gear (full size over night backpacks, say) no problem. I think this Jeep could only fit gear for two people comfortably.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Kenmore,

      You make me sad with a smile. I hope to live long enough to be so wise.

  • avatar
    agent534

    All I see when I look at the Renegade is a new IH Scout.
    Not a bad thing at all. :)

    • 0 avatar
      oldowl

      +

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      …if the IH Scout were downsized to Samurai proportions. Which is still a good thing. Don’t know how the true off-road crowd will be able to mod the new Renegade, but like the little Suzukis, it looks like a great place to start.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Didn’t the Samurais come with solid axles? That is a big advantage that the Renegade won’t have. Considering that the Cherokee Trailhawk youtube videos talk about “great” articulation and then show one of the rear wheels a solid foot off the ground, I don’t have high hopes for this being much of an offroader from a suspension design or geometry perspective.

  • avatar
    NN

    All of a sudden, Jeep has a real international player on it’s hands. This will be a massive hit, I agree with Derek that capacity will be their issue, and wouldn’t be surprised to see them start assembly in Mexico, also at the 500 factory. Would be a cool novelty if they did keep it in Italy, despite it being a “Jeep”. This car will make Jeep a real player in Europe and possibly South America, also….places where Fiat has a strong presence.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Is this Buick Encore sized? I am very pleasantly surprised by the photos and the interior looks interesting. I agree with Derek, this should sell very well.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      A little larger, Autoblog states a little larger than a Kia Soul. From what I can find, the Encore has 92.8 cubic feet of passenger volume and 18.8cf cargo, whereas they state Rampage has 118.6cf passenger volume and 12.4cf cargo.

      http://www.autoblog.com/2014/03/04/2015-jeep-renegade-deep-dive-official-photos-geneva/

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Thanks. I saw the 118 cu ft but that must be a mistake since more spacious cars like the CX5 or Honda Accord have around 100-103 cu ft of passenger space. Cargo space is on top of that.

  • avatar
    bobman

    This little entry has Mike Manley agreeing with Sergio about being able to hit the million mark this year. That’s quite a departure from his him-hawing in Detroit just last month. With European sales looking much better in February, the future is brightening for FCA. Like I said before, a smart investor can make quite a few bucks with the IPO in October if it happens. They have billion dollar brands on their shelves waiting to be marketed. All this thanks to Sergio & Co.

  • avatar
    anti121hero

    Although I remain a true xj fan, (I absolutely love my 93 2 door xj 4×4 with the 4.0 high output and 8.25 rear) I think this is a MUCH better replacement for the compass and patriot, even if it is fwd based. It will be interesting to see how it does, and how it’s off road abilities are. Hopefully it can bring a little more to offer to the jeep brand than those two cuvs did

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    This looks promising — much more so than the Compass/Patriot (you’re allowed to make fun of me for owning one for a few months immediately after they came out). At least this time an attempt was made to make this vehicle off-road capable from the get-go; the “Trail Rated” designations for the Compass/Patriot were a late introduction, and almost an afterthought.

    But as with the Compass/Patriot, I do wish that FCA would make a soft top version. Call me a heretic, but the Wrangler is now too wide/large, heavy and thirsty for my taste.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    2000 pounds is adequate. This will go on my list.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Anything with this short of a wheelbase is not going to have much of a tow rating anyway. 200 Lbs will pull my popup.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        I’m sure the 2K tow rating is with nothing inside except maybe a 6 month old in a baby seat. Good luck stopping in a panic situation at highway speeds with 2K behind you. Don’t worry, I’m sure the car in front of you will slow you down!

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Request that Sajeev do a Vellum Venom on the concept. This thing is just asking for it.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    For FCA this is the most important debut of the Geneva Auto Show.

    I still have my doubts whether a vehicle with the foot print of a Chevrolet Sonic will sell in great numbers in North America.

    I certainly is a good looking vehicle from the front and side view. It will definitely cannibalize Cherokee sales volume.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      If it does take off; it will make me wonder if Ford will change it’s mind about selling the EcoSport in the U.S. It would seem more in touch with the market than the Fiesta; which is not selling well.

      With it’s small size and cheap interior, I cannot see the EcoSport hurting Escape sales; but instead Ford is leaving that market on the table for FCA and others.

  • avatar
    Krusty

    It is beginning to look like Fiat is using the Jeep badge in the same way BMW used the Mini Cooper badge. Sort of as a nostalgic jumping-off point for a line of cars that are as dissimilar from the original as “chalk and cheese”. It may rankle the Jeep purists, but it’s a smart move in a changing world.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Isn’t the Renegade actually getting a little closer to the original? It’s wheelbase is about 10 inches longer, a foot wider, and about 10 inches longer that the Willys MB. Maybe a short wheelbase open body version could get down to the size of original.

      • 0 avatar
        Krusty

        I agree that an open body version would be cool, but my definition of a “Jeep purist” would not agree that this even a Jeep. If it doesn’t have a separate chassis, two straight axles, and a true transfer case (and poor gas mileage and a small cargo space) then it’s a Fiat and that’s that. But the Jeep dealers will sell a mess of these. Honestly, I think that this looks more like a “Cherokee” than the KL. I was close to buying a 2014 Cherokee, but I am waiting to see how the transmission issues sort out and I might wait to see one of these.

  • avatar
    Krusty

    As mentioned, this is not “a Panda dressed up in Carhartts”.

    THIS is a Panda dressed up in Carhartts…

    http://ibnlive.in.com/photogallery/15388-2.html

    Also at the Geneva Auto Show

  • avatar
    noxioux

    Looks like I might be the only one here who thinks this is one UGLY baby.

    I’d rather just have the Panda. At least I can look at it without wanting to put it in a gunny sack with a rock and throwing it into the river.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      You aren’t the only one, I think it’s ugly too. I’m sure it will sell though, probably get a lot of buyers who might have considered the Dart. I wonder about the pricing, though, since the Cherokee can max out around $38k. I could see Jeep getting ahead of itself and letting this thing run to $30k++, which is Buick Encore territory.

      • 0 avatar
        clivesl

        I don’t think being able to option this up into entry lux territory is a bad thing at all. I can’t believe Buick is selling Encores based on brand image. I pointed a Buiick Enclave out to the wife the other day (we are looking at replacing the Minivan in another year) and she laughed out loud at the idea of a Buick. I told her about the rumors of a Durango based Grand Wagoneer with three rows and she would rather wait for that. Being able to get something this size with all of the bells and whistles for $30K? Sign us up (assuming I can get her off her three row addiction).

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    I’m amazed how many “Jeep purists” have no idea that Jeep has been making unibody wagons for over 50 years, or that their beloved (unibody) XJ Cherokee was designed under Renault ownership (a foreign make, for those unfamiliar).

    Also amazed at how purists describe “what it should have been” (room for lift kit and 33″ tires, BOF, removable roof, V6, solid axles, starting in low 20s, etc), and that’s exactly what a Wrangler is. Do these Jeep purists not know about the Wrangler?

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      We need to wait and see what kind of off road capability the Renegade has. Jeep made the Cherokee pretty capable. That said, even though Jeep has kept most of their vehicles true to loyalist expectations, most buyers don’t care about the capability.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      “Jeep purists” have a habitual problem of not putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to showroom models for the last 15 years. It’s far easier to bitch when FCA makes a car like the new Cherokee – ‘Can’t lift it? Won’t buy it.’ – when the truth is most of these armchair off-roaders haven’t put a tire on a real trail since that one camping trip a decade ago.

      Sure, they spend $10k in bullshit on the aftermarket for their 20-30 year old toy, but trying to get most of them into a Wrangler as a new purchase is a fools errand. Nothing proves the poseur-status of the ‘Modern’ Jeep buyer more than the CoD variant…

      I’m glad if this ends up being a winner globally, because money in the bank means that the company sticks around and can keep actually making fantastic niche cars without going tits up, again. AMC, Never forget…

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I was all set to hate on the “baby Jeep” idea, but actually, I like it. And it would suit my needs (well, wants) even better than a Wrangler, I would guess it will be a lot less expensive too. If they would make a softtop version I would really love it, but the hardtop with a giant sunroof actually works better for me anyway… the dogs would jump out of a Wrangler!!

    I could see this really selling well to the Jeep faithful as it doesn’t look like all the other CUVs (like the new Cherokee), it has more of an old school off roader look. The gas mileage should be good, if it actually has some off road capabilities (even though most buyers will never use it, I think its important to the image) then the lifestyle crowd will embrace it. If they ever do offer a rollbar-equipped softtop version to mimic the Wrangler then I bet they would sell a ton of them.

  • avatar
    imag

    My money is on the Honda Vezel (final name TBA) kicking the snot out of this Jeep in US and global sales. Derek – you want to take the bet?

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Your kidding, right? Looking at pictures, it doesn’t have the ground clearance of the Renegade, doesn’t look like it would survive in one piece if you took it off-road. Which means it is not even in the same market; if you are going to play that game then I bet the Ford F-150 will also beat the snot out of in global sales too.

      • 0 avatar
        imag

        The point is sales, not capability. Derek seems to be be pushing the viewpoint that Jeep this will be a huge success in the small crossover market. I am not convinced it will be as successful as many other mainstream small crossovers.

        It has been proven time and again that capability rarely matters in the CUV game.

    • 0 avatar

      No, because I think you are on to something. From what I understand, Jeep is capacity limited on these cars to about 180k-200k units per year. It will be a big hit for the brand, they’ll sell what they produce, and it will help Jeep hit the 1 million unit target, though overall volumes will likely trail the Vezel, nor do I expect it to dethrone the Duster or Ecosport or Mokka. Honda has the manufacturing footprint to do it. It’s a similar situation with the Cherokee and the CR-V. The Cherokee is only built in Toledo for now. As much as I may harp on how Cherokee sales figures are overhyped, they are capacity limited. Honda has 8 factories building the CR-V, and 3 building the Fit. You can be sure the Vezel will be built in multiple locations.

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      MOPAR KICKED THE SNOT OUT OF HONDA AMERICA LAST MONTH BY 55,000 VEHICLES! WHEN BRASIL AND CHINA JEEP FACTORIES GET CRANKED UP, THEN WE WILL TALK.

      HONDA= THE NEXT MAZDA

  • avatar
    carguy

    I would have to agree – if they they don’t screw up the mechanicals this is a timely entrant into one of the fastest growing automotive segments. It has the looks and the numbers to be very successful globally so lets hope its more fully developed than the Cherokee.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The interior looks like a silly $59.99 CD player from ten years ago.

    And I realize why the side view is so familiar. It’s a scaled down 2006 Montero Limited.

  • avatar
    SayMyName

    I’m hardly a Fiatsler fan, but if the company can get a handle on build quality and durability out of the gate (not something I’d bet money on just yet, given the abysmal Dart and the well-documented Cherokee intro issues) I agree this could be a massive global hit.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    My first impression (yesterday, before this post, in fact) was “oh, it’s a Cherokee the size of a Wrangler”.

    I think that’s right, just in general.

    Wrangler sized (my coworker looked up the numbers, and it’s Much Of A Muchness), but Cherokee-ish “I don’t think I’m running the Rubicon/Fighting WW2″ aesthetics and presumably interior trim.

    Hopefully a lot quieter and less harsh than the Wrangler, too.

    It may well sell like hotcakes.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India