Cars - Jeep

Road tests and reviews of the latest Jeep models available in South Africa

2015 Jeep Renegade

2015 Jeep Renegade

By Franky Johnson

Following the world reveal at the Geneva Motor Show in March and the US premiere at the New York International Auto Show in April, the new Jeep Renegade, the Small SUV, now makes its debut to the South African market.

The all-new Jeep® Renegade expands the brand’s vehicle lineup, entering the growing Small sport-utility vehicle (SUV) segment, while staying true to the adventurous lifestyle Jeep is known for.

Determination, skill and desire to be part of one solid team are the most important ingredients in the making of the new Jeep Renegade, the first Fiat Chrysler Automobiles vehicle to be jointly developed by Italian and American designers and engineers and the first model in the brand's history to be built in Italy, at the refurbished SATA plant in Melfi (Basilicata). An all-new Jeep, resulting from the combination between the design, functionality and off-road expertise of the U.S. brand and the style and the dynamic features that are signature cues of the Italian cars all over the world.

Jeep Renegade is a model packed with a strong stylistic personality. Agile and spacious, it is perfect for errands across town and boasts best-in-class interior roominess and excellent on-road driving dynamics.

In South Africa, the new Jeep Renegade will be available initially with the Limited trim levels – Longitude, and Trailhawk (September arrival) – and the fuel-efficient 1.4l MultiAir powertrain with manual transmission. Sales of the new model will start in South Africa during May 2015.

Exterior design

Jeep Renegade builds on the Wrangler’s powerful stance, rugged body forms and aggressive proportions that include best-in-class approach and departure angles purposely designed to deliver best-in-class capability.

At the front, Renegade is decidedly Jeep with its signature seven-slot grille. Large circular headlights convey the typical Jeep look to the Renegade. Below the grille, a two-piece front fascia is aerodynamically tuned and features a body-colour upper and moulded-in-colour lower.

Short overhangs, trapezoidal wheel arches and a sculptural blend of fluid shapes interrupted by strong chamfers create Renegade’s rugged bodyside form. Inheriting Jeep Wrangler’s DNA, the Renegade features beefy tyres, wide fender forms, and a raised belt line that recalls the icon’s half-doors. Adding to the Renegade’s contemporary look is an optional daylight opening which harks back to the Wrangler’s classic hardtop. At the sill, this new Jeep SUV features lower moulded-in-colour accent cladding that adds protection, all while lightening the weight of the vehicle by visually placing more painted body above the wheel centres.

Linking the side profile to the rear is the familiar Jeep shield-shape that ties in the rear windscreen and Wrangler-like square tail lights with black accent surround. For added detail, the tail lights feature a new “X” form design theme inspired by military equipment (fuel can) – exuding strength and playing on the Jeep brand’s roots.

Interior design

Jeep Renegade interior features a rugged and energetic appearance that builds upon the Jeep brand’s legendary heritage. It’s precisely crafted details, innovative and high-quality colour and material appointments, state-of-the-art technology, and clever storage features draw inspiration from contemporary extreme sports gear and active lifestyles.

When the Jeep designers began the interior design process, they started with a fresh canvas and simple design brief: create a Small SUV that they themselves would aspire to own. This objective is strikingly apparent in the Renegade’s dynamic lines, hand-sculpted forms, and emotional character.

Tek-Tonic design theme

The interior of the new Renegade has a distinctive form language which Jeep designers have titled “Tek-Tonic.” The design theme is defined by the intersections of soft and tactile forms with rugged and functional details. Major surfaces such as the sculpted soft-touch instrument panel are intersected with bold functional elements like the passenger grab handle. Indispensable for off-road adventures, the robust handle is borrowed from its big brother, the legendary Jeep Wrangler. It cleverly integrates into the passenger air vent to create a unique sculpted element. The unique centre vent and the anodized bezel accents draw inspiration from performance goggles and boots used in extreme sports. Unique protective clamps that surround the UConnect touchscreens, shifter bezel and front-door speaker bezels exude strength and precision. The clamp surrounding the touchscreens is embossed with “Since 1941,” paying homage to the Jeep brand’s legendary history.

Jeep Renegade features a unique steering wheel with a thick rim section. Integrated audio, voice and vehicle controls add a new level of convenience and sophistication.

In front of the driver, the instrument cluster design includes a large analogue speedometer and tachometer. For an added sense of adventure, Renegade’s gauge cluster features a paintball-splatter design graphic that originated from one of the Jeep design team’s weekend paintball adventures. Straddling both gauges is a state-of-the-art 7” TFT display that provides full-colour vehicle information and allows the driver to enjoy a customized user experience. The screen provides vehicle information and feedback through intuitive design, all to keep the driver’s hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

The lower part of the dashboard neatly integrates climate controls, a dampened glove box and the media centre with USB, auxiliary input and 12-volt power connectivity for mobile devices. Proudly touting its Jeep design DNA and capability is a rubberized mat in the storage compartment under the media centre, moulded with a topography map of Moab, Utah – a legendary off-road spot for Jeep enthusiasts. Similar to the X-shape inspired tail-lights are the two front cup holders with the same embossed design detail that provides grip to secure different-sized beverage containers.

The Jeep Renegade’s centre console armrest is wrapped, providing a softer touch, and offers an adjustable position for improved comfort. For added detail, the protective clamp bezel surrounds the transmission shifter and is finished in an anodized accent colour to match the frames surrounding the climate control vents, the cup holder and the speakers.

Passenger seats are ergonomically designed to support the contour of the body during longer journeys and are trimmed with premium cloth or leather. The Renegade includes a second-row 60/40-split seats, or for added convenience, 40/20/40-split seats with cargo area pass-through available.

In addition to its 351L of storage or 1 297L with rear seats folded flat, the vehicle features as optional equipment a removable and reversible cargo floor panel. Maximizing versatility is a fold-forward front seat that enables the new Renegade to accommodate long objects.

Following the Jeep interior design team’s philosophy for the Renegade, introduced and seen in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Cherokee, a new approach for colour and materials inspiration was obtained through different lifestyle adventures and locations around the world, creating invigorating colour and material environments.

The new Jeep Renegade Limited is available with three interior trim choices. The following colour/trim options are available per model: Black Premium fabric with Metal Diamond bezel accents, Black Leather (optional) with Metal Diamond bezel accents and Beige stitching and two-tone Bark Brown/Ski Grey Leather interiors (optional) with Anodized Orange bezel accents and stitching.

POWERTRAIN

Jeep Renegade models equipped with the 103 kW 1.4l MultiAir Turbo feature a six-speed manual transmission with 6.68 ratio spread and a 4.438 final-drive ratio for fuel efficiency at faster speeds. And thanks to its first-gear launch ratio of 18.4:1, the gearbox delivers quick acceleration with smooth, precise shift quality. A tubular intermediate shaft with equal-length half shafts helps mitigate unwanted torque steer.

This six-speed state-of-the-art manual transmission is built and designed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies and belongs to a new group of compact transverse, three-shaft transmissions.

The six-speed is synchronized in all gears for smooth gear transitions. The shift cables are equipped with an adjustment mechanism for enhanced shift feel as well as an enhanced start / stop sensor that picks up movement to the gear (i.e. out of neutral).

The clutch system features a dual mass flywheel with pendulum damper for enhanced noise/vibration characteristics at lower speed (i.e. reduced and/or eliminated rattle). The clutch system is hydraulic for reduced operating effort and reduced pedal vibration.

1.4l MultiAir II Turbo engine

The petrol engine offering includes the 103 kW 1.4l MultiAir II Turbo engine with Stop&Start paired to a six-speed manual transmission.

The 1.4l Turbo-MultiAir II engine is the smaller displacement variant from Fiat Chrysler new family of four-cylinder petrol engines.

The 1.4l MultiAir II Turbo engine is designed to take full advantage of the exclusive MultiAir valve train system developed by Fiat Powertrain and includes a host of new engine components designed for reduced friction to enhance the performance and fuel efficiency of Jeep’s first offering in the Small sport utility marketplace.

The 1.4l MultiAir II Turbo produces a maximum of 103 kW at 5 500 r/min and torque of 230 Nm at 1 750 r/min in combination with the six-speed manual transmission. The 1.4l MultiAir II engine also incorporates “Stop/Start” technology.

Structurally, the 1.4l MultiAir Turbo engine starts with a durable cast-iron block and a structural aluminium bedplate. The bore and stroke are 72 mm and 84 mm respectively, for a total displacement of 1 368 cm3.

Boost pressure is dynamically managed to provide a broad torque curve over a wide variety of ambient conditions, with a peak pressure of 22 psi at 4 000 r/min. Exclusive MultiAir valve-actuation technology controls intake air, cylinder by cylinder and stroke by stroke. The resulting precision reduces carbon-dioxide emissions and boosts fuel-economy up to 7.5 % compared with engines equipped with conventional valvetrains.

At the bottom end, a forged-steel crankshaft with select-fit main bearings is supported across five main journals. The crankshaft and its counterweights are designed to reduce overall mass.

Durability is ensured with the use of lightweight forged-steel connecting rods that have been designed with a unique cross-section to minimize longitudinal and lateral rod-bending.

Lightweight cast-aluminium pistons contribute to the overall efficiency of the reciprocating assembly and the engine’s high-rpm capability. Full-floating piston pins are used for added strength.

Piston cooling jets, located at the bottom of each cylinder, contribute to fuel economy by squirting oil on the bottom of the pistons. This helps maintain cylinder temperatures and reduce the possibility of hot spots along the cylinder walls or at the top of the piston that could lead to spark knock.

The new Jeep Renegade is equipped with standard Stop&Start technology on all powertrain configurations. This system automatically shuts down and restarts the engine to reduce the amount of idle time, thereby reducing fuel consumption and emissions. This is most advantageous for vehicles which spend significant amounts of time waiting at traffic lights or frequently stop in traffic. As a result, fuel economy gains can range from 5 – 10 %.

Designed and engineered to deliver legendary Jeep capability, the new Renegade is the first Small sport-utility vehicle (SUV) to use the all-new “small-wide 4x4 architecture.” With its fully independent suspension, Renegade raises the bar in the Small SUV segment with world-class on-road driving dynamics and passenger safety.

As the first Jeep vehicle built exclusively outside of the United States to target global markets, the development of Jeep Renegade was a global collaboration of Jeep engineering and design, with Italian craftsmanship and execution.

The Jeep Renegade’s modular architecture means many models can be built using the same basic underpinnings. The result is better quality and reliability, less development time and improved tooling. The architecture that the Renegade is built on comprises common modular and interchangeable components, and allows for modularity of the wheelbase, front track, rear track, front overhang, and length and width across vehicle lines.

With extensive use of advanced steels, composites and advanced computer-impact simulations, the Jeep Renegade’s architecture delivers world-class torsional stiffness for optimum control of body geometry. For passengers, the new architecture delivers off-road durability and up to 205 mm of rear wheel articulation and 175 mm of ground clearance – all while feeling tighter and stiffer, with an added sense of confidence and control during high speed on-road manoeuvres.

Rigid body structure

Renegade features a unibody structure with the upper body and frame engineered as a single unit for a stiff and more mass-efficient structure. Its rigid foundation can be credited to the extensive use of high-strength steel and liberal use of structural adhesives. The new Small SUV utilizes approximately 70 % high-strength steel for maximizing vehicle dynamics and crash performance while optimizing weight efficiency – the first Jeep vehicle to use high-strength steel to this extent.

For additional weight and strength optimization, Renegade features an aluminium bonnet, front cross beam and hybrid rear crash box.

One of the most notable body structure features is the application of advance high-strength and “hot-stamped” steels in the upper and under-body, A and B-pillars, front header, sills and rails. Combined, these structural attributes enable the Jeep Renegade’s roof strength, as well as enhanced visibility via thinner pillar sections.

Enhanced chassis-to-body structure interfaces, including suspension brackets and cradle attachments, are designed to ensure high stiffness at those points and minimize low-frequency noise into the cabin. Additionally, this rigid body structure enabled engineers to dial-in the Jeep Renegade’s chassis tuning. The overall result is Jeep Renegade’s solid, confident and refined feel on the road or trail.

Advanced electric power steering system

Jeep Renegade features precise steering, thanks to its electric power steering (EPS) and driving steering torque (DST) systems, which improve both handling and performance.

The vehicle features an advanced steering-column-mounted EPS system that utilizes the latest technology delivering sporty handling by managing significant loads at all steering wheel operating speeds, and power assist curves modulated according to driving conditions resulting in up to a 3 % improvement in fuel efficiency when compared with a conventional hydraulic system. All of the power boost, or assist, is provided via an electric motor, and because the system is fully electronic, the driver experiences optimal steering effort at all vehicle speeds with improved fuel efficiency, since there is no parasitic loss from a power steering pump.

The Renegade’s DST system improves both driving safety and handling performance by actively carrying out corrections, and automatically controls oversteer over surfaces with low grip in all driving conditions. Moreover, the steering system is fully integrated with the vehicle’s electronic stability control (ESC) system to help compensate in split-traction, torque steer and pull-drift (crowned road) situations.

Quiet interior environment

For Jeep Renegade to deliver a quiet interior cabin, engineers maximized the vehicle’s structural design and tuned the interior environment for sound quality and level by isolating powertrain, wind and road noise.

This city-friendly sized Jeep features a noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) package that 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 keep the cabin quiet. Combined, these design improvements provide the Renegade with high levels of interior sound quality.

SAFETY

Safety and security were at the forefront in the development of the new Jeep Renegade. The new Small SUV offers up to 70 available safety and security features, including the segment’s first availability of Forward Collision Warning-Plus and LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus.

Standard safety features on the new Jeep Renegade consist of six airbags (advanced seats multi-stage airbags, all-row full-length side-curtain airbags, side bags), ESC (Electronic Stability Control) with rollover mitigation (ERM). To ensure maximum protection, the complete offering of safety features available or optional on the new Renegade also includes Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, Adaptive Cruise Control and ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines.

One of the most innovative systems fitted on the new Jeep Renegade is the Forward Collision Warning-Plus braking assist system – a first in the category. This system utilizes radar and video sensors to detect whether the Renegade is approaching another vehicle or large obstacle in its path too rapidly and warns or assists the driver in avoiding/mitigating the incident.

The LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus system uses a camera-based vision sensor to establish the Renegade’s position on the road. If an unintentional lane drift occurs, determined by trajectory change and the absence of turn-signal activation, the system will deliver a visual warning and a haptic warning – the subtle introduction of torque from the electric power steering (EPS) system. If the driver unintentionally drifts too far, the system provides a secondary visual warning.

The Blind Spot Monitoring uses dual ultra-wideband radar sensors to aid the driver when changing lanes or if being passed by or passing unseen vehicles. The system notifies the driver of vehicle(s) in their blind spot via illuminated icons on the side-view mirror and with a driver-selected audible chime.

The optional Adaptive Cruise Control, when activated, decreases the vehicle’s pre-set cruise-control speed when closing in on another vehicle in the same lane, or when another vehicle pulls into the same lane. ACC will accelerate to the pre-set speed when the vehicle in front speeds up or moves into another lane. The system will also maintain a driver adjustable distance between the vehicle and the one in front of it and is particularly useful when driving in adverse meteorological conditions or in situations of reduced visibility.

CONNECTIVITY & INFOTAINMENT

Jeep Renegade offers a range of communication, entertainment and navigation features and the segment’s largest full-colour instrument cluster. Its thoughtful, state-of-the-art, high-tech features and amenities are intuitive, easy-to-use and provide on-board comfort and infotainment.

The new Jeep Renegade showcases UConnect’s in-vehicle handsfree communication, entertainment and navigation.

The UConnect 5.0 system features a 5” touchscreen that enables handsfree calling via Bluetooth-equipped phones, as well as voice-command control of AM/FM. Compatible smartphones, equipped with Bluetooth and MAP, can receive text messages and send from a list of 18 pre-defined messages. The system announces receipt of the message, identifies the sender and then “reads” the message aloud. In addition, digital music can be streamed wirelessly from compatible Bluetooth smartphones or audio players supported by a media hub equipped with an auxiliary jack and USB port that enables recharging and seamless operation of portable devices.

Upping the ante is the available UConnect 6.5AN model with a 6.5” touchscreen display, voice operation of AM/FM, mobile phones and navigation system.

UConnect 6.5AN’s well-designed maps help drivers slip through traffic, while merging and turning using sensor assisted GPS.

Drivers can identify points of interest quickly and easily with stunning 3D graphics and detailed views of landmarks, cities and terrains. Audio directions and voice prompts provide turn-by-turn guidance. Sensor-assisted GPS helps ensure accurate positioning for the vehicle all while travelling through tunnels, indoor parking garages and other areas where GPS signals can become obstructed.

Additional features include hands-free calling, text messaging and audio streaming via compatible Bluetooth-enabled phones, personalization settings and a premium media hub with USB and auxiliary ports. The UConnect system is available with an optional ParkView rear backup camera.

Filling the Jeep Renegade’s gauge cluster in front of the driver is an available 7”, full-colour, premium multiview display, featuring a reconfigurable function that enables drivers to personalize information inside the instrument cluster. Information display is designed to visually communicate information, using graphics and text, quickly and easily.

The display offers drivers a wide range of customization options, from basic speed readouts to specific vehicle status information. Operation of the display is clearly communicated to users with easy-to-understand icons and instructions. Using buttons on the steering wheel, drivers can customize the screen with as much or as little information as they desire. Additionally, the four corners of the display can be customized to show information at a glance, including current fuel economy, outside temperature, time and compass direction. Vehicle concerns are instantly reported to the driver via pop-up warning messages on the display. And for added convenience, text message warnings are automatically stored so a driver can review them when it is safe.

Availability

The new Jeep Renegade range will be available in South Africa immediately from Jeep dealerships countrywide. Pricing on the Jeep Renegade 1.4L Limited starts at R375 990.00 and includes a standard 3 year / 100 000 km warranty and class leading 6 year / 100 000 km maintenance plan.

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