2015 Jeep Renegade: the mini-Jeep
The Jeep Renegade was designed alongside the new Fiat 500X, but it’s not the same: changes were needed to get the Trailhawk version, 8.7 inches of ground clearance and better off-road clearance angles than the Cherokee. Even the standard models have a strengthened body to meet Jeep standards.
The Renegade was created from the start for global sales; worldwide, it has two Fiat diesels, two Fiat gasoline engines, one Chrysler engine, and one old Chrysler gasoline engine updated by Fiat. The mini-Jeep will be sold in Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, North and South America, and Europe, with everything from a five-speed manual to a nine-speed automatic. Americans appear to get two choices: a Fiat 1.4 turbo engine hooked up to a six-speed manual transmission, or the Chrysler 2.4 liter four-cylinder with the ZF-designed, Chrysler-built 928TE nine-speed automatic.
Jeep Renegade All Wheel Drive Systems
There are two all wheel drive systems on Jeep Renegade, one of which is restricted to (and standard on) the Trailhawk model.
The 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk has front tow hooks (in some markets), skid plates, all-terrain tires, and fascias that allow better approach and departure angles; it also has more ground clearance than other Renegades. Renegade Trailhawk has 8.1 inches of wheel articulation.
Jeep Active Drive is the basic AWD system; it uses a power transfer unit (PTU), and has yaw correction, balanced torque distribution, and brake traction control to reduce both understeer and oversteer. The system also uses a fully variable wet clutch for control of rear wheels, moderating torque for slippery roads or performance — unlike Jeep Cherokee, which uses dog clutches.
Renegade Trailhawk adds a two-speed power takeoff unit; the low range locks the front and rear drive shafts and adds a 4.334:1 gear reduction for a “crawl ratio” of 20.1:1. The system also adds (but only in low range) Hill Descent Control and Hill Ascent Control, to automatically control the speed, from a user-selectable 1 mph to 5 mph, using the throttle and brakes. When in low gear, stability control is shut off entirely.
|2015 Renegade||2014 Cherokee||2014||2014|
|Breakover angle||21.2||24.0||25.7°||22.9° ||21.7°||23°||23.6|
|Water crossing (5 mph)||19”||20”||19”|
The AWD systems both use the driver-selectable Selec-Terrain traction control system, which controls the powertrain, drivetrain, and brake computers, and stability control.
- Standard mode is automatic, staying in front wheel drive most of the time, but splitting torque as needed.
- Sport limits traction control, increases stability-control thresholds, and targets a front/rear torque split of 40/60 for a rear-drive feel.
- Snow starts in second gear, sets brake controls for slick surfaces, and goes into full time 4x4, preferring a 60/40 front/rear split.
- Mud/Sand is similar but has modified brake controls, and prefers rear wheel drive.
- Rock, on Trailhawk only (because it is only available in low gear), is similar to Mud/Sand but increases brake lock differential capacity, and locks the differential.
Jeep Renegade Powertrain: Transmission and Engines
|Engine||Fiat 1.4 Turbo||TigerShark 2.4 Four|
|VVT||MultiAir||MultiAir 2+cam phasing|
|Horsepower||160 @ 5,500||184 hp @ 6,400|
|Torque||170 @ 2,500-4,000||177 lb-ft @ 4,400|
The 948TE automatic transmission, built by Chrysler using a modified ZF design, has a stunning 9.81 ratio spread, with a low first gear and a tall top gear; the wide ratio spread delivers an aggressive first gear ratio of 4.71 for low-end performance and small gear ratio steps which provide smooth transitions, while the overdrive comes in at 0.48:1. Renegade TrailHawk adds a rock-crawl ratio of 20:1, using a 4.334:1 final drive with the 4.71:1 first gear. This transmission has Electronic Range Select, so drivers can limit the highest gear it will go into.
The nine-speed uses a 4.334:1 axle ratio with the 1.4 and 2.0 engines (AWD), and with the Trailhawk and 2.4; it uses a 3.734:1 axle ratio with the 2.4 liter in FWD and non-Trailhawk AWD.
The system can dynamically choose from over twenty shift maps for specific conditions, choosing based on engine characteristics, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, grade changes, temperature, speed, and electronic stability control demands. (ZF actually allows for many more shift maps, but so far Chrysler has not taken them up on it; Cherokee has 40 shift maps available, still just a fraction of the total allowed by ZF.)
North Americans can choose between the Fiat 1.4 Turbo and Chrysler TigerShark 2.4 four, both coupled to the nine-speed automatic standard. The 1.4 turbo has more power outside North America, along with a stop/start system.
The rest of the world can get the a variety of engines, though most are only available with front wheel drive:
- 1.6 liter EtorQ (based on Chrysler Tritec), 108 hp, 112 lb-ft, with start/stop system; front wheel drive, five-speed manual only.
- 1.4 liter MultiAir engine with 138 hp/170 lb-ft with stop/start system, manual six-speed transmission, and front wheel drive.
- 1.6 liter MultiJet II diesel with Stop/Start system (Europe only), six-speed manual, and front wheel drive; 118 hp, 236 lb-ft
- 2.0 liter MultiJet II diesel with Stop/Start system (Europe/Asia-Pacifica) with AWD only, and nine-speed automatic or six-speed manual; 103 or 125 kW output with 258 lb-ft of torque.
Suspensions and Body
The body is based on an updated version of Fiat’s SCSS small car platform (dimensions), with a new “small-wide 4x4 architecture” — a modular suspension system that allows vehicles with the same core dimensions to share suspensions and powertrain components. To work, the wheelbase, track, front overhang, length, and width have to be the same. (See our Renegade development page.)
Jeep Renegade was engineered for regulations and third-party safety ratings around the world, as well as passing Jeep’s tough test course in Chelsea. The upper body structure and frame engineered were as a single unit for a stiff structure, using around 70% high-strength steel and structural adhesives, the first Jeep SUV to use high-strength steel to this extent. For weight and strength optimization, Jeep Renegade has an aluminum hood, front cross beam, and hybrid rear crash box. High-strength and hot-stamped steels were also used in the underbody, A- and B-pillars, front header, sills, and rails; this provides better roof strength and thinner pillar sections.
Chassis-to-body interfaces, including suspension brackets and cradle attachments, were designed for high stiffness and to cut low-frequency noise, also helping with chassis tuning.
The front suspension is a MacPherson front-suspension design with “exceptional rigidity” for up to 170 mm (6.7 inches) of articulation and reduced weight. A front cross member increases rigidity and integrates a third-load line to improve energy absorption in a crash. A new innovation is a “split” type shock absorber mounting that transmits road vibrations to the body structure through two different routes.
An isolated rear cradle cuts noise and vibration, and provides attachment points for a lightweight Chapman setup’s two lateral links and half-shafts. With high-mounted strut-type shock absorbers and coil springs, this allows for maximized spring rates, improving its roll-steer for on-road performance and providing up to 205 mm (8.1 inches) of rear-wheel articulation for off-road.
The 2015 Renegade is the first Jeep to integrate Koni’s frequency selective damping (FSD) front strut and rear shock absorber system, which increases handling while actively filterering out high-frequency suspension inputs.
Electric power steering (EPS) and driving steering torque (DST) systems improve both handling and performance. The EPS system is mounted to the steering column, and alters power assist according to driving conditions; it increases fuel economy by up to 3% compared with hydraulic systems, by cutting parasitic losses, while eliminating power steering fluid changes and potential breakage points. Steering and stability control are integrated to help compensate in split-traction, torque steer and pull-drift (crowned road) situations.
Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) reduction includes laminated acoustic windshield glass, body-cavity silencing foam, under-flush rolled-framed doors with triple seals and acoustic wheel-well liners to absorb road noise and quiet the cabin.
Styling and Design
The seven-slot grille has an accent colored “shield” surround, large circular headlamps, and body-color vertical windshield surround. The two-piece front fascia has a molded-in-color lower portion for durability. Short overhangs, trapezoidal wheel arches, and fluid shapes interrupted by strong chamfers create Renegade’s rugged bodyside form. The lifted belt line recalls the Wrangler’s half-doors; a blacked-out daylight opening, with an optional black roof, also mimics Wrangler. At the sill, the Jeep SUV’s lower molded-in-color accent cladding adds protection, while visually placing more painted body above the wheel centers.
The “X” form tail lamps were inspired by military equipment. The rear molded-in-color fascia integrates the optional trailer hitch receiver cleanly, along with red rear reflectors for added nighttime visibility.
There are two optional My Sky open-air roof systems, one manual removable, one with a power tilt/slide feature; these provide segment- exclusive panoramic views. The honeycomb fiberglass polyurethane roof panels are lightweight and stow in the rear cargo area.
Aerodynamical features include a rear spoiler, integrated underbelly pans, sill spats, the tail lamp and aluminum wheels, and numerous body changes.
The 2015 Renegade has up to ten paint colors: Colorado Red Clear Coat, Omaha Orange Clear Coat, Solar Yellow Clear Coat, Mojave Sand Clear Coat, Commando Clear Coat, Sierra Blue Clear Coat, Glacier Metallic Clear Coat, Black Clear Coat, Alpine White Clear Coat, and Anvil Clear Coat.
Interior design themes
The interior has a form language which Jeep designers titled “Tek-Tonic,” defined by the intersections of soft and tactile forms with rugged and functional details. Major surfaces such as the instrument panel intersect with functional elements like the passenger grab handle; borrowed from the Jeep Wrangler, it integrates into the passenger air vent to create a unique sculpted element. The center vent “air-pod” and anodized-style accents draw inspiration from performance goggles and boots used in extreme sports. Protective clamps surround the Uconnect touchscreens, shifter bezel, and front-door speaker bezels.
The steering wheel has a thick rim section with integrated audio, voice, and vehicle controls; a segment-exclusive 360-degree heated steering wheel is available. The instrument cluster frames the outboard air vent, and has a mud-splatter design graphic that originated from one of the design team’s paintball adventures. Straddling both gauges is a 3.5-inch monochrome display or a state-of-the-art 7-inch TFT display that provides information and customization.
The Renegade’s lower instrument panel integrates climate controls, a dampened glove box, and the media center with USB, auxiliary input, and 12-volt power connectivity for mobile devices. A rubberized tray behind the media center is molded with a topography map of Moab, a legendary off-road spot for Jeep enthusiasts.
The Jeep Renegade’s center console armrest is wrapped, providing a softer touch, and offers an adjustable position for improved comfort. For added detail, the newly familiar protective clamp bezel surrounds the transmission shifter and is finished in an anodized-style accent color to match the climate control vents.
The door panels have soft wrapped materials with integrated door pockets; second-row 60/40-split seats are standard, with optional 40/20/40-split seats that provide a cargo area pass-through.
In addition to 12.4 cubic feet (350 liters) of storage, which expands to 30.7 cubic feet (869 liters) with rear seats folded flat, the My Sky roof panels can be stowed underneath the dual-position rear cargo area shelf, in their bag. A fold-forward front seat provides around five feet of length from dashboard to rear hatch.
Colors include “Trespass Black” (with contrasting “Moroccan sun finishes” and contrast dual tone stitch colors); “Sand Surfing” Black and Warm Sand two-tone with Satin Chrome accents and an embossed cloth fabric; “Trailhawk” Black with Ruby Red anodized-style finishes, Ruby Red stitched accents; and the “Free Falling” Bark Brown and Ski Gray two-tone interior combination with orange details and anodized-style orange finishes.
There are two stereos, a 5 inch and a 6.5 inch unit; it appears that the 5-inch is the Microsoft/Fiat setup, while the 6.5 inch is the award-winning, secure, QNX-based Chrysler setup (though all are branded UConnect). Features include Bluetooth, radio data (RDS), digital audio broadcast (DAB), HD Radio, digital media broadcasting (DMB), satellite radio and travel information, USB ports, and auxiliary audio jack input — capabilities may vary by market. UConnect Access (USA only) includes one-button emergency assistance or roadside assistance, and can read text messages aloud.
Estimates of annual sales, worldwide, are now reported as 280,000 of the related SUVs from both Jeep and Fiat per year, around 150,000 Jeeps and 130,000 Fiat 500X. Internal Allpar sources reported that the 2015 plan is for around 320,000 per year for both vehicles. The massive Melfi plant is capable of at least that number.
Mopar concepts for NAIAS 2015
The off-road Mopar-equipped Jeep Renegade has a unique Commando Green paint job, highlighted on both sides by large, bold body-side graphics that pick up on the “X”-shape styling of the tail lamps (borrowed from the Jerry-can “X” design associated with first-generation military Jeeps). A map of Detroit, the location of the show, is on the optional hood decal. Black wheels have a single spoke outlined in red. Cross rails and a Mopar roof basket are also satin black, with a gloss black body side rail. A concept skid plate, prototype rock rails and rear valance, and production roof rails are tied by a matching neutral grey satin color; a production Mopar skid plate kit protects the underbody. Jeep badging is also trimmed in neutral grey, and the Jeep logo is laser cut on the rock rails. Inside is the inevitable Katzkin leather, along with exterior-matching bezels and trim. Mopar slush mats, a Mopar cargo tray, and Jeep-logo doorsills complete the customization.
There is also an “Urban” Renegade, built off the Limited with Anvil paint and Omaha orange touches, including orange pockets on the satin black wheels, along with orange accented mirror caps, grille rings, taillamp surrounds and roof rails. A bike carrier is attached to the hitch. Again, the interior has Katzkin leather, with orange highlights on trim pieces; and rather than off-road oriented mats, Mopar used a premium carpet mat and carpet cargo mat.
Initial pricing, announced in January 2015, was lower than most competitors (excluding Kia Soul). The chart below shows prices for front wheel drive and all-wheel drive, by price level. The base pricing for each model is grouped together, followed by each step up and ending with the premium trim lines. Nissan Juke Nismo RS is excluded because Jeep doesn’t have a high performance package for the Renegade, but the “base” Nismo is provided.
For front wheel drive versions, the Jeep has an advantage in MSRP across every single trim line. When you step up to the all-wheel drive models, the Renegade is less expensive than any of these key competitors except for the comparison between the Renegade Limited and the Chevy Trax LTZ.
Patrick Rall found the new Jeep Renegade to be the most comfortable of these four on-road, while being by far the most capable off-road.