It is 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.
The result is an attractive urban SUV likely to appeal to buyers on the image it projects alone. However, the Renegade does not come cheap and at a starting price of R375 990, exclusivity will be somewhat assured. In South Africa, the new Jeep Renegade will be available initially with the limited trim levels – Longitude, and Trailhawk (from September) – and the fuel-efficient 1.4litre MultiAir powertrain with manual transmission.
But even the limited edition has a lot to offer in terms of specification level and the design carries a multitude of Jeep signature themes, such as round headlights, signature seven-slot grille and trapezoidal wheel arches. The interior finish is of a high quality, as is the fit. These aspects of all Jeeps has been improving over the years and that of the Renegade is probably the best yet.
The Jeep Renegade is powered by a fuel-efficient 103kW, 230Nm, 1.4 MultiAir II Turbo petrol engine with Stop & Start featuring a six-speed manual transmission and in 4×2 configuration. Power is adequate, especially given that, as a 4×2, it is does not carry the extra weight of a all-wheel drive transmission and, despite having sufficient ride height, it is unlikely to be called on to do any hard work.
A huge amount of the specification in the Renegade comes in the form of safety technology. The new small SUV offers up to 70 available safety and security features, including Forward Collision Warning-Plus and LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus.
The Forward Collision Warning-Plus braking assist 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 (ACC), when activated, decreases the vehicle’s pre-set cruise-control speed when closing in on another vehicle, 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.
The anti-lock brake system is capable of detecting if the vehicle is driving on a rough road by the oscillations in the wheel speed signals. Rough road is detected on off-road surfaces or trails, and ABS enters a different pressure control, where it will hold the brake pressure for longer pulses.
An Enhanced Accident Response System makes it easier for emergency personnel to see and reach occupants in the event of an accident by turning on the interior lighting, flashing the hazard lights and unlocking the doors on the Renegade and after airbag deployment also shuts off flow of fuel to the engine.
The ParkSense rear park assist system utilises ultrasonic sensors at low speeds in reverse to detect stationary objects. If it is determined a collision is imminent, the system will provide a momentary, autonomous brake apply/brake jerk then release. At speeds below seven kilometres per hour, the system will bring the vehicle to a stop before releasing.
There is also a rear camera that provides a wide-angle view of the area immediately behind the vehicle and containing dynamic grid lines to aid the driver when manoeuvring into parking spaces or narrow areas. It also helps in lining up a trailer to the vehicle’s trailer hitch, when so equipped. The image is displayed on the navigation screen when the transmission is shifted into reverse. There is also a trailer-sway control, which reduces trailer sway and improves handling in adverse towing conditions caused by crosswinds and traffic. The system monitors the vehicle’s movement relative to the driver’s intended path, then applies alternating brake pressure to slow the vehicle and then increases the pressure on one front wheel in order to counteract the sway induced by the trailer.
In parking lot situations, the Rear Cross Path detection this system warns drivers backing out of parking spaces of traffic moving toward their vehicle. It activates any time the vehicle is in reverse.
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 Anodised Orange bezel accents and stitching.
The Renegade features electric power steering (EPS) and driving steering torque (DST) systems. The DST system improves both driving safety and handling performance by actively carrying out corrections and, within limits, 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.
The UConnect 5.0 system features a 5″ touchscreen that enables handsfree calling via Bluetooth-equipped phones. Compatible smartphones, equipped with Bluetooth and MAP, can receive text messages and send from a list of 18 pre-defined messages.