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Is the B-Ute more than it seems?

by David Zatz on

Earlier this week, Jeep unveiled its B-Ute concept, a largely unremarkable Renegade with predictable tweaks to show off Jeep Performance Parts®. There’s more to the story, according to Allpar contributor redriderbob.

Looking at the front of the B-Ute, we see — according to Bob — the new 2019 Renegade front fascia, which continues the theme of the original, but with a bit less cartoon and a bit more sculpting. The sunken headlights are interesting — in times passed, one would think they would irrevocably damage the aerodynamics of the little crossover.

In the back, which you can’t see in the release photo, the tail-lights are reportedly also from the 2019 Renegade.

Major changes are unlikely for the Renegade, which is made in Italy, Brazil, India, and China (US and Canadian imports are from Italy). Fresh materials and mild appearance changes to the interior are most likely — in short, we’re in facelift territory; volume sales for Jeep’s hottest territory, North America, are going to the more-profitable Compass anyway.  That means they can update the stereo, which doesn’t bring up tooling costs, and the fabrics and surfaces, but no major underlying designs.

FCA can’t make enough 2-liter turbo engines to even think about putting them into Renegades yet, according to one trusted source, who believes the company didn’t plan production of a major component quite as well as they could have.  A 1.4 turbo hybrid would be nice for cutting turbo lag, but the 1.4 turbo is on its way out, so that’s unlikely.  GSE production is still ramping up, so even Europeans and South Americans are likely to stick with the old FIRE engine and current diesel options.

A true next-generation Renegade is almost certainly under way; that one, which may see production in Mexico as well, will almost certainly see a completely new engine lineup, with mild-hybrid options, GSE fours for most of the world, and, for top trim, the 2-liter turbo which FCA still refuses to call “Hurricane.”

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