2015 Jeep Renegade
2015 Jeep Renegade
2015 Jeep Renegade. Click image to enlarge

Preview by Justin Pritchard, photos courtesy of Chrysler Group

Globalization, Fiat’s backing, and the Jeep brand’s determination to break into new market segments has resulted in a new Jeep model that will hit Canadian dealers for model-year 2015 as the brand’s first entry in the small-SUV segment.

The new Renegade, which will battle machinery like the Nissan Juke, Mini Countryman, Chevrolet Trax, and Mitsubishi RVR for the hard-earned bucks of us Canucks, is designed to expand the Jeep brand globally by blending Jeep heritage with what the automaker calls “fresh new styling” to appeal to young and adventurous shoppers.

With Renegade, Jeep is hoping to capture some of the success they’ve recently experienced with the new Cherokee – which has allowed the brand to break into the compact crossover market with a compelling CR-V / RAV4 / CX-5/Escape alternative.

The Cherokee was recently called the Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year by a panel of auto experts at the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada (AJAC), after an extensive testing process saw it earn top scores for powertrain refinement, ride quality, noise levels, feature content and overall value.

The new, globally-leveraged “small-wide 4×4” platform upon which the smaller Renegade is assembled aims to pull off a similar trick. Jeep officials say the new Renegade targets world-class ride quality and off-road performance, using 4×4 technology from the Cherokee. Also delivered is a slew of uncharacteristically premium features and up to 70 advanced safety and security implements.

2015 Jeep Renegade2015 Jeep Renegade
2015 Jeep Renegade. Click image to enlarge

“The all-new 2015 Jeep Renegade expands the brand’s product portfolio and targets the rapidly expanding small SUV segment around the globe with benchmark levels of  efficiency and driving dynamics, while at the same time delivering best-in-class 4×4 capability that customers expect from Jeep,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO  –  Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC.  “Renegade symbolizes the brand’s renowned American design, ingenuity and innovation, marking the Jeep brand’s first entry into the small SUV segment in more than 100 markets around the globe.”

The hardware? Look for Jeep Active Drive, effectively a full-time automatic 4×4 system, or Jeep Active Drive Low, which adds a class-exclusive 20:1 crawl ratio for tackling steep and / or slippery grades. Both systems feature a rear-axle disconnect system to decouple power from the rear when the rear wheels aren’t being driven, saving fuel.

2015 Jeep Renegade
2015 Jeep Renegade
2015 Jeep Renegade. Click image to enlarge

Both four-wheel drive systems also feature the Selec-Terrain controller, allowing drivers to call up various system calibrations which alter throttle sensitivity, traction control thresholds, shift points and the like to assist with varying road and trail surfaces with the twist of a dial.

The entire package rides on a set of Koni’s Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) struts, which engineers say improve handling and agility.

For those planning on taking their Regenade into some challenging territory, a Trailhawk 4×4 model is also in the works – and will include the Active Drive Low system, a unique ROCK calibration for the Selec-Terrain system, increased ride height, revised fascias that aren’t as easy to whack on a boulder, improved water fording, and more. Skid-plates are also installed to help keep drivers from having an oil-pan-versus-rock-related whoopsie.

Under Renegade’s hood are no fewer than 16 powertrain combinations available globally – though it’s unclear which of these will wind up in the Canuck-spec model. Chrysler’s material so far points towards the inclusion of a nine-speed automatic transmission and a 2.0L MultiJet II diesel engine, or a 2.4L MultiAir2 gas engine as likely here.

Related Articles:
Jeep Renegade Leaked Before Geneva Debut Tomorrow

Manufacturer’s Website:
Jeep Canada

Photo Gallery:
2015 Jeep Renegade

Elsewhere in the Renegade lineup, shoppers can expect to be presented with a laundry-list of upper-class features, including full Uconnect infotainment functionality, text-message read-aloud, radar-based hazard-detection systems and a pair of open-sky roof systems that let those on board enjoy the rays.

The gist? Look for core Jeep attributes and capabilities combined within a city-sized package that’s easy on fuel, packed with top-end features and designed with styling that stands out.

Renegade was designed in America and will be built in Italy. More information will be available closer to its on-sale launch.

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