An impressive array of tech features – including 9-speed automatic transmission – marks the arrival of Jeep’s entry into the compact SUV category. The Renegade, the first Jeep fruit of the link-up between Fiat and Chrysler, is due to go on sale in Europe towards the end of 2014 prior to being rolled out to the rest of the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region.
A contemporary interpretation of the Jeep heritage, the Renegade is designed to combine on-road ease of driving with off-road ruggedness. Playing a big role in that versatility is what Jeep calls a new “small-wide 4×4 architecture”. In other words, compact dimensions with a wide stance.
Drive options include Active Drive and Active Drive Low, two full-time 4×4 systems. There’s also the ability to decouple the rear axle to improve fuel efficiency. Engines for the South African market will be taken from 12 powertrain combinations that include two MultiAir2 petrol engines, two MultiJet II diesel engines and one E.torQ engine. Transmissions include two manual, one dual-dry clutch transmission (DDCT) and one automatic gearbox.
Notwithstanding the Renegade’s apparent off-road cred, it offers some seriously road-oriented driver aids and safety features. These include 6 airbags as standard, stability control with Electronic Rollover Mitigation, rear parking camera, Forward Collision Warning-Plus, Adaptive Cruise control and LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus. Infotainment options include UConnect touchscreens and a 175 mm colour multiview display.
Among the neat practical touches in the interior are a fold-forward front-passenger seat and height-adjustable cargo load floor.
How low can you go?
Active Drive Low is one of two new four-wheel-drive configurations for Jeep. It features specific mapping of gear ratios, Hill Descent Control function and Low range to cope with challenging off-road conditions. The Active Drive system as a whole combines with Jeep Selec-Terrain traction control system with up to five modes Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud and Rock (Trailhawk model only). Jeep quotes maximum wheel articulation up to 205 mm and ground clearance of up to 210 mm.
For the latest automotive news, get your hands on PM’s November 2014 issue – on sale 20 October.