WAJ members who attended our August, 2014 meeting were treated to a private press introduction of Jeep’s newest and smallest (some describe it as the cutest) vehicle, the 2015 Renegade. Scott Brown, Chrysler’s west coast PR person, led the event in South San Francisco at the WAJ’s favorite hangout, the Basque Cultural Center.
Scott kicked out all of the stops for the event and had a static outdoor display of the Renegade coupled with a talk by the men responsible for this multinational Jeep, Jim Morrison, Jeep Global Brand Manager, and Mark Allen, Jeep Design Director.
Several flavors of the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee were available for local test drives which were managed by our own Stuart Langager of Page One Automotive.
The test drive Jeeps included Grand Cherokees with both a 3.6 liter Pentastar gasoline with 8-speed automatic plus a diesel version. I found the model with a 3.0 liter VM Motori V-6 diesel with 8-speed automatic transmission was rather eager to demonstrate its robust torque rise launching off the line.
About the 2015 Jeep Renegade
Renegade MSRP price and fuel economy have not yet been announced, but an EPA highway rating above 30 mpg is expected. The compact 4-door SUV (actually a CUV) is based on a stretched Fiat 500L passenger sedan platform. Certain classical Jeep design features were carried over to the Renegade, including the famous 7-bar grill, trapezoidal wheel arches, and stubby prominent vertical lines. Three basic models will be offered, 2×4 base model with front wheel drive, a 4×4 version for off-road use and a trail-rated 4×4 version for more serious off-road use (the Trailhawk model). The latter has hooks front and rear that can withstand a towing pull of twice the vehicle weight, as well as more ground clearance, special all-terrain tires with higher aspect ratio, a 20:1 crawl ratio on Jeep’s Active Drive Low, undercarriage skid plates, and better off-road clearance angles (front and rear). The powertrain options are two: the 1.4 liter MultiAir turbo I-4 (160 hp) coupled with a 6-speed manual transmission and a 2.4 liter naturally aspirated MultiAir I-4 (184 hp) coupled with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Chrysler has been at the forefront of using torque converter automatic transmissions with lots of gears, which helps fuel economy. The 9-speed automatic sourced from ZF of Germany has the highest gear count on the market today. Both I-4 engines will be assembled at the Dundee, MI plant and shipped to Melfi, Italy for assembly with the vehicle. The compact Renegade will pursue global markets. With basic exterior design done in Auburn Hills, this multinational vehicle reflects a noticeable Italian heritage. Inside the Renegade will be such systems as Uconnect Access (for hands-free, communication, entertainment and navigation features), and a large 7 inch color instrument cluster. Voice operation of the radio, voice texting, hands-free calling, an available smart phone app to remotely start/lock/unlock the vehicle, and a Wi-Fi hot spot capability are offered.