2015 Jeep Renegade

What's new for 2015? The Renegade is an all-new vehicle for the 2015 model year.

Jeep is well known for building off-road-capable SUVs like the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. So when the company created the 2015 Renegade, a new entry-level model that's smaller than the compact Cherokee, it was bound to be different from the other entries in the growing subcompact crossover SUV class. Sure, the Renegade has unmatched off-road credentials. You almost expect that. But would you have also guessed that this Jeep is fun to drive around town and has plenty of character?

The Renegade's DNA might have something to do with that. Based on the same underlying body structure that serves as the basis for the Fiat 500X (Jeep is part of the Fiat-Chrysler merger), the Renegade is indeed small. It's 15.4 inches shorter than the Cherokee, for instance. However, it's actually about an inch wider than the Cherokee, and that has a positive effect on interior space, making the Renegade wide enough for a three-passenger rear seat and adding useful cargo capacity.

The Renegade is enjoyable to drive, too. It's nimble around town and easy to park, and four-wheel-drive models, especially the Trailhawk, offer best-in-class off-road capability. Buyers have a choice of two engines. We prefer the base turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder because it is smoother than the available 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Otherwise, the engines put out similar amounts of power.

Exterior Highlights
Five-passenger subcomapct cross over SUV available in Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk trim levels

The 2015 Jeep Renegade is a five-passenger subcompact crossover SUV offered in four trim levels.

Standard equipment on the Sport model includes 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, dual sunroofs (non-sliding, non-removable), keyless entry, power windows and locks, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a four-speaker sound system with USB and audio inputs.

The Latitude adds alloy wheels, roof rails, foglamps, automatic headlights, heated power-adjustable outside mirrors, air-conditioning, ambient LED lighting, a fold-flat front passenger seat, cruise control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Electronic additions consist of a rearview camera, the Uconnect control interface with 5.0-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice commands, an additional USB port and a six-speaker audio system.

The Limited gets 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, an upgraded driver information display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote engine start, a 115-volt power outlet, leather upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with four-way power lumbar), heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat with pass-through, and a remote rechargeable flashlight.

The off-road-oriented Trailhawk comes with four-wheel drive, hill descent control, a raised suspension, tow hooks and underbody skid plates. In addition to the Latitude's equipment it also has 17-inch alloy wheels and all-terrain tires, a full-size spare, premium cloth upholstery, red interior stitching, a removable cargo floor panel and a remote rechargeable flashlight.

Many of the Limited model's standard features are offered for the Latitude and Trailhawk via option packages. Over and above that, buyers can opt for a package that includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, HD radio and Uconnect Access (includes extra safety features, a WiFi hotspot and voice texting). Two safety packages are also offered. A Safety and Security package comes with a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic alerts, while the Advanced Technology package adds a lane departure warning system, lane keeping assist, rear parking sensors and a forward collision warning system.

For all Renegades, manually removable sunroofs can be ordered. On the Latitude and Limited, the front sunroof can also be power operated. Keyless ignition and entry is available for the Latitude and Limited, as is a premium nine-speaker audio system.

Interior Highlights
Uconnect infotainment system, smartphone ap integration, useful interior space, "My Sky" roof panels, optional Wifi hotspot capability for extra fee

It may be the entry-level Jeep, but the Renegade doesn't feel that way from the driver seat. Although a truly base Sport does without air-conditioning and cruise control, most Renegades come pretty well equipped and have soft-touch materials for the dash and armrests.

The Uconnect system is also better than most infotainment systems. The upgraded 6.5-inch touchscreen is responsive and has virtual buttons that are easy to press with a finger. It also offers access to the Yelp local search and Uconnect Access apps on owners' smartphones. Uconnect Access offers text-to-speech and speech-to-text capability, both of which work quite well, plus remote locking and starting and, for an additional fee, WiFi hotspot capability. The Limited model also comes with a fancy display in the instrument cluster that shows enhanced trip computer information.

While the Renegade is short, it is exceptionally wide for its size and that gives it some useful interior space for passengers and their cargo. The upright design provides lots of headroom, and front seat occupants have plenty of legroom. The rear cargo area offers 50.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down, and 18.5 cubic feet with the seats up. The Renegade's two opaque "My Sky" roof panels can be removed (if ordered that way), but they also gobble up some of the cargo space in all models except the Limited, where they stow under the rear cargo floor.

The 2015 Jeep Renegade comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, driver knee airbag, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and hill start assist. A rearview camera is optional for Sport and standard on all other trims. Two safety-oriented packages are available that add a blind spot monitoring system, a rear cross-path alert system, a lane departure warning system, lane keeping assist, a frontal collision warning system and rear parking sensors.

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