This Jeep’s been studying abroad.
The hardy American brand -- owned by Italian automaker Fiat -- used Tuesday’s 2014 Geneva Motor Show to unveil the all-new 2015 Renegade compact crossover SUV.
The small, boxy crossover will slot below Jeep’s popular, budget-oriented Patriot in terms of size. But expect it to target a more premium buyer who might also look at quirky models like the Kia Soul or Nissan Juke.
"The all-new 2015 Jeep Renegade expands the brand’s portfolio and targets the rapidly expanding small SUV segment around the globe," Mike Manley, Jeep’s chief executive, said in a statement announcing the vehicle.
The tidy Renegade is loosely based on the platform Fiat uses in its new four-door 500L, though it’s been modified to fit the Renegade’s optional all-wheel-drive systems and its independent rear suspension.
Although the Renegade will come standard with front-wheel-drive, one AWD system will be available on mainstream Sport, Latitude, and Limited models. A more sophisticated "let’s really get dirty" system will be standard on Trailhawk model.
Demonstrating the global reach of this new model, Jeep will offer seven engine choices depending on the global market, including two diesel options. For now, just two gas engines are headed to the United States, though Manley has indicated Jeep may bring more diesel models to the U.S. in the future. (Jeep also debuted a diesel Jeep Cherokee at the Geneva Show, though it’s currently headed to Europe markets only.)
In the U.S., Sport and Latitude models will come with a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder that makes 160 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. It will be paired with a six-speed manual transmission.
Optional on these two versions and standard on the Limited and Trailhawk models will be a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine that makes 184 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with Chrysler’s nine-speed automatic transmission.
That go-anywhere Trailhawk model is similar to the Cherokee Trailhawk in that it enables Jeep to maintain its credibility with the brand’s trail-happy core enthusiasts. The Renegade Trailhawk gives buyers the aforementioned AWD system, an increased ride height, skid plates, tow hooks, beefier tires and a driver-selectable traction control system with four off-road settings.
Another option on the Renegade will be what Jeep calls My Sky (because no new feature is complete without a slick name). This setup gives buyers two manually removable fiberglass roof panels that can be stored in the Renegade’s trunk. In the more premium models, the front panel also tilts and slides like a normal moon roof.
Other available goodies include either a five-inch or 6.5-inch touch-screen infotainment screen, a mobile phone app to unlock and start the vehicle, forward collision warning and mitigation, lane-keeping assist and on-demand Wi-Fi hot spot connectivity.
Though American by name, the Renegade is to be built in Fiat’s plant in Melfi, Italy. The crossover will roll into U.S. dealerships at the end of 2014, with pricing announced closer to its on-sale date.
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