Smallest Jeep Appears Ready to Embrace Itty Bitty Engines

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The subcompact Jeep Renegade, despite not carrying the heritage and go-anywhere trail cred of the Wrangler, remains a valuable asset for Fiat Chrysler, and with good reason. The Fiat-based model sets the lineup’s price floor, luring first-time buyers into the brand — hopefully for life.

As we saw earlier this month, there’s a mildly refreshed Renegade arriving for the 2019 model year. Unfortunately, the model’s European debut didn’t tell us much about engine availability for U.S. buyers. It now looks like an FCA service portal provided some of the answers to our powertrain questions.

Since the model’s debut, North American Renegades showed up in two power flavors: a turbocharged 1.4-liter Multiair four-cylinder, and FCA’s 2.4-liter Tigershark four. The 2019 model’s Turin unveiling only brought news of a three-cylinder, two variations of a turbo four-cylinder, and the obligatory diesels. We were left wondering what’s in store for America.

Thanks to the Nightcrawler-like online journeys of Bozi Tatarevic, we now have a listing of global engine offerings for the 2019 Renegade via the automaker’s service portal. There’s no 1.4- or 2.4-liter to be seen.

What we have instead is a turbo 1.0-liter three-cylinder making 120 horsepower and a compressed natural gas variant of the same engine. Were it not for Ford, the displacement would scream “Euro types only!” The three-pot is an entry-level engine bound for front-drive, manual transmission vehicles. The 1.3-liter four-cylinder seems the most U.S.-ready, as the mill comes in two flavors: 150 hp and 180 hp. Torque figures remain unknown.

According to European media, the 1.3 arrives with either a dual-clutch automatic or nine-speed automatic in tow. One receives an electronic stop/start system. Certainly, the most powerful of the two seems ripe for the U.S. and could be a replacement for both existing engines, though FCA might have other plans that aren’t reflected in its service portal at the moment. The other two mills are existing turbo-diesels of 1.6 and 2.0 liters of displacement, offered in overseas markets.

Confirmation of U.S.-bound engines might not be far off. The automaker said at the European launch that American customers can expect 2019 Renegade details later this month.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Middcore Middcore on Jun 20, 2018

    "The subcompact Jeep Renegade, despite not carrying the heritage and go-anywhere trail cred of the Wrangler, remains a valuable asset for Fiat Chrysler, and with good reason. The Fiat-based model sets the lineup’s price floor, luring first-time buyers into the brand — hopefully for life." This point can't be emphasized enough in considering FCA's woes in the US. To make a car company successful and engender brand loyalty, you need an entry-level vehicle. The Renegade is that for Jeep. But Jeep is the only FCA brand that has one! Dodge doesn't have one, they killed the Dart and replaced it with nothing. Chrysler doesn't have one. You could make the argument Chrysler is supposed to be a pseudo-prestige car you buy when you've "arrived" but nobody's buying that, literally or figuratively. If you have a mainstream/budget-conscious nameplate then positioning another one of your marques as the pseudo-luxury brand that buyers "upgrade" to down the line makes some sense but Plymouth is long gone. The only Fiat they've ever sold more than 10 of is small and cheap which are kind of "entry-level" traits but it's impractical and aimed at a niche and Fiat doesn't have anything like a full product stack above it for loyal customers to come back to even if they were so inclined. And I don't think there's any real transference in people's minds between the "American" FCA brands and the "Italian" ones - nobody says "I liked my Fiat 500 but I need more space so I'm going to go buy a Dodge." Jeep is the only FCA brand set up to attract first-time buyers who become repeat buyers. Coincidentally, it's the only FCA brand moving product off lots in high numbers.

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    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Jun 21, 2018

      @smartascii FCA put out the wrong Dart. The original compact 1963 Dart sold 460,000+ copies, and the final full year 1975 Dart sold over 237,000. Those numbers don't include the nearly identical Valiant most of those years. Funny, the compact Dart would be a family-friendly midsize today, and neither FCA nor any other maker would have a complaint about those production levels.

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jun 20, 2018

    Smallest Jeep Appears Ready to New Malaise. "What we have instead is a turbo 1.0-liter three-cylinder making 120 horsepower and a compressed natural gas variant of the same engine." I dd a 1.9 N/A DOHC I4 which produces the same bhp and probably similar torque. Its not powerful enough for avg traffic as I have to gun it quite a bit and it weighs under 2,5000lbs. This is just sad.

  • Zipper69 Current radio ads blare "your local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer" and the facias read the same. Is the honeymoon with FIAT over now the 500 and big 500 have stopped selling?
  • Kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh hmmm get rid of the garbage engine in my chevy, and the garbage under class action lawsuit transmission? sounds good to me
  • ToolGuy Personally I have no idea what anyone in this video is talking about, perhaps someone can explain it to me.
  • ToolGuy Friendly reminder of two indisputable facts: A) Winners buy new vehicles (only losers buy used), and B) New vehicle buyers are geniuses (their vehicle choices prove it):
  • Groza George Stellantis live off the back of cheap V8 cars with old technology and suffers from lack of new product development. Now that regulations killed this market, they have to ditch the outdated overhead.They are not ready to face the tsunami of cheap Chinese EVs or ready to even go hybrid and will be left in the dust. I expect most of their US offerings to be made in Mexico in the future for good tariff protection and lower costs of labor instead of overpriced and inflexible union labor.
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