An icon for an icon: Renegade makes its North American debut in New York

As the press sat patiently waiting for the ‘big news’ from Jeep – a clear sign of what was to come hung from the rafters.  The jerry can influenced X which is dominantly portrayed on Renegade’s roof and tail lights stretched clear across the room.

Renegade jerry can crosshair

Renegade jerry can crosshair

The all new Jeep Renegade will be available in four trim levels, it will have two engine choices, two transmission choices, and two four wheel drive choices.  It will, in some configuration, surpass 30 mpg, boast the best off road capability in its class, and will cost some yet to be disclosed amount of money.  On display at the New York Auto Show this week are the Latitude and Trailhawk models.

2015 Jeep Renegade Reveal

2015 Jeep Renegade Reveal

The Jeep Renegade, even in non trail rated Latitude trim, is unmistakably a Jeep.  In addition to the expected seven slot grille, and trapezoidal wheel arches, the Renegade is littered with reminders of the little Jeep’s heritage, and the reputation it must live up to.  The Renegade Crosshair, as I hereby dub it, instantly reminded me of some kind of superhero logo – it’s very Lantern Corps-esk.   The design, of course, was inspired by the WWII era fuel cans.  The crosshair actually made the container stronger, and more reliable.  Two things i’m sure Jeep is happy to associate with the little off-roader.

Renegade Crosshair cup holders

Renegade Crosshair cup holders

You’ll also find the iconic Willy’s grille all over this thing.  Inside of the tailgate, headlights, taillights, speaker grilles, and even on the side of the rear view mirror.  Some may think they over did it a bit – but I think it fits this vehicle perfectly.  The Renegade is fun, and the interior bits of Jeep history amplify that.

Renegade Speaker Grille

Renegade Speaker Grille

The styling may look very Jeep, but what I really wanted to see was the meat that gave this little guy a trail rated badge.  I climbed under the trail hawk to get a better look at the rear differential and suspension setup.  What I found were beefy tubular control arms, skid plates, aggressive tires, and a tucked away hexagonal driveshaft.

drive train

drive train

As I climbed out, Jim Morrison (Director of Product Marketing for Jeep) asked me if I was a spy for Toyota.  I laughed and told him that I had to see the what made this Jeep a Jeep.  He replied that only spies and really cool journalists crawl under their Jeeps to see what’s under there – I’m certainly no spy, and will take that as a compliment.   I’ll have to wait and see if I get an opportunity to drive the Renegade on the trail to really see what it can do.  With its nimble size, 20:1 crawl ratio, and impressive approach and departure angles, it certainly has some potential.Jeep Renegade TrailhawkWith competitors like the Kia Soul, Nissan Juke, and Scion xB – the Renegade certainly stands out as the vehicle of choice for adventuring compact SUV buyers.
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