By on October 1, 2018

Image: FCA

Jeep’s smallest model has a new uplevel engine for 2019, one that brings to mind the revered and diminutive Suzuki Samurai of the late 1980s. That model also housed a 1.3-liter engine, though the Suzuki’s mill boasted, in a manner of speaking, just 63 horsepower.

The Jeep Renegade’s new 1.3-liter four-cylinder isn’t likely to remind anyone of ’80s featherweight Japanese utes.

Turbocharged, direct injected, and equipped with standard electronic stop/start, the 1.3L found as standard equipment on the 2019 Renegade Limited and Trailhawk generates 177 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. Buyers of base Sport and mid-level Latitude models also have the option of outfitting their rig with this tiny engine.

Image: FCA

As a replacement for the 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder, the 1.3L unit is a global engine, with active grille shutters (not available on Trailhawk) adding further economy to the overall package. The only transmission available is a nine-speed automatic. For budget-minded buyers, the 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder remains in place at the bottom rungs of the Renegade ladder.

We’ve described the subtle yet meaningful appearance changes coming for 2019 already, with a rejigged fascia, grille, and front and rear lighting adding a teaspoon of menace to a package that’s difficult to refresh. For the coming year, Renegade’s Advanced Tech Group includes adaptive cruise control, ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist Plus, and front park sensors. There’s also new colors on the paint palette and new wheel designs to select from. Jeep’s My Sky roof remains available, as does an 8.4-inch touchscreen.

Image: FCA

The biggest news remains the new engine, which is second only to Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder in the Tiniest American Engine Competition. Compared to the three-pot’s 123 hp and 125 lb-ft, however, the Jeep mill’s power figures won’t have buyers worried they’ll be left struggling on steep grades. Compared to the engine it replaces, the 1.3L boasts 17 extra horses and 16 additional lb-ft of twist.

Sadly, we can’t judge the efficiency of the engine at this point in time. The EPA has not yet handed down its MPG verdict for the 2019 Renegade.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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