Oh, how the Renegade has fallen.
Picture a Jeep Wrangler Renegade in your mind, and you’ll likely see an American-made, brutish, square-shaped, dirt-covered, rock-hopping jacked-up SUV on oversize tires.
That’s the Renegade of the past, which was actually an option package offered for the Wrangler from 1991 to ’94.
The Renegade of the future is a FIAT with a 7-slot grille.
There’s not anything wrong with that, per se, it’s just not what one would expect from the Renegade name. I totally get it—there’s an economic demand to create vehicles with low price tags and high miles per gallon. Why is it necessary, though, to mess with history to make it happen?
Jeep, which is owned by Chrysler, which is owned by FIAT, has released images of the newest member of the Jeep family. It sounds like a great little car, but it by no means will live up to Jeep’s legendary go-anywhere reputation. When the press announcement says it carries Jeep DNA with the front grille and shape of the wheel arches, there’s a pretty clear indication that this’ll be a commuter car, not a rock hopper.
It’s possible I’m wrong by jumping to this conclusion, because the announcement also says:
The trail-rated Jeep Renegade Trailhawk is at home taking in the city sights and tackling extreme off-road challenges anywhere in the world with the segment’s first rear-axle and power transfer unit disconnect for 4×2 fuel efficiency and traction when needed.
I just can’t get past the idea that the new Renegade is based on the FIAT 500L. That fact makes me assume the Renegade will be a front-wheel-drive machine with optional AWD, making it ideal for someone looking for something small to commute to work in on blustery wintry days.
For true off-road domination, I think it’s best to look toward the used market and find a real Renegade.
How does the 2015 Jeep Renegade look to you?