Jeep used the aptly named Cherokee Ranch in Sedalia, Colorado, to give automotive journalists their first in-depth look at the 2015 Jeep Renegade. We were not allowed to drive the new small Jeep at its unveiling, yesterday, but Jeep is releasing new details about the vehicle that will be built in Italy and exported to 100 markets around the world.
The Renegade is built on a Fiat platform but includes Jeep four wheel drive components. It takes many of its design cues from the popular Wrangler. This vehicle is critical for Jeep and its parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. It is the company's first entry into the small SUV market around the world. Key competitors will be the new Chevy Trax as well as the Kia Soul.
Jim Morrison, who heads Jeep Brand in North America, says that Jeep sales are up more than 50 percent, in Colorado, compared to last year at this time. He says nationwide Jeep sales are up 44 percent, compared to last year. Morrison says that is because of the brand's performance ability. "Jeep gets people to work on time" says Morrison. He is promising best in class 4x4 capability from the new Renegade. Morrison tells reporters that despite its smaller size, it will handle well in either snow or sand. Morrison laughed as he said "every time it snows, we sell more Jeeps."
Mark Allen, head of Jeep Design, says that the new Renegade carries many of the traditional designs of traditional Jeeps. The Renegade includes the seven slot front grill. The popular Jeep X motif is apparent on the roof design and even on the tail lights. The 2015 Renegade will also offer a dual sunroof system called "My Sky." The two panels can even be removed and stowed in the cargo area, so the passengers can enjoy the great outdoors.
The new Renegade will be available in two different engine configurations. Jeep will offer a 1.4 liter Turbo engine that produces 160 horsepower. That version will come with a manual transmission. Drivers will also be able to buy a nine-speed automatic, powered by a 2.4 liter Tigershark engine that kicks out 180 horsepower. Jeep is not releasing fuel efficiency numbers but all models are expected to get at least 30 miles per gallon.
The 2015 Renegade will go on sale early in 2015. Jeep is not releasing pricing, but it is expected to be under $20,000.
Several trim packages will be available including a Trailhawk model.