Jeep Renegade

The Jeep Renegade is offered with a choice between two 4-cylinder engines. The base engine is a 1.4L turbocharged unit that makes 160 hp. The optional unit is a non-turbo 2.4L 4-cylinder that makes 180 hp. The 1.4L turbocharged engine is connected to the front or to all four wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission, while the bigger, 2.4L engine sends power to the wheels via a 9-speed automatic. Four-wheel drive is a $2000 option on most trim levels, though the Trailhawk trim includes it as standard equipment.

The 2015 Jeep Renegade is available in four distinct trims: Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk. The Sport trim is the most value oriented of the trim levels, costing several thousand dollars less than the Latitude. However, the Sport trim still comes standard with several smart features such as a height adjustable rear cargo floor and a fold forward front passenger seat. More traditional features that come standard on the Sport trim include power windows, remote keyless entry and steering wheel mounted audio controls.

The Latitude trim adds a little bit of luxury and a little bit of style to the Renegade. Exterior additions include 16-inch aluminum wheels, deep tinted sunscreen glass and front fog lamps. Inside, the Latitude includes a backup camera, a leather wrapped steering wheel and a 5-inch Uconnect touchscreen.

The Limited trim level focuses on turning the Renegade into a compact luxury SUV. Standard features include the bigger engine and automatic transmission, leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat, a remote starter, a digital instrument gauge, dual-zone automatic climate control and 18-inch wheels.

Buyers intending to take their Renegade off-road on a regular basis should probably consider springing for the Trailhawk trim. It comes standard with 4-wheel drive and the bigger, 2.4L engine but it also adds a slew of additional features to improve off-road performance. Exclusive to the Trailhawk, is Jeep's Selec-Terrain dial, which has five separate modes for various off-road conditions including modes for rocks, snow or sand. Ride height has been raised for the Trailhawk and skidplates have been added underneath the vehicle. 17-inch wheels are wrapped by knobby, aggressive tires while several exterior bits are painted black, making the Renegade Trailhawk look meaner than other trim levels.

There are plenty of options for the Trailhawk, allowing customers plenty of leeway in creating their own unique vehicle. Top amongst these, is an optional removable roof dubbed My Sky that can be removed in sections. It can be ordered in either power operated or manually operated forms depending on preference and on how much the buyer wants to spend. A navigation system is also available as a standalone option, as is a keyless go system. A 9-speaker stereo is included in part of a popular equipment package, while an Advanced Technology package includes park assist and a lane departure warning system.

Editors' First Take

Automakers love claiming world-first records. While some have a tangential relation to the industry (the first car to come with semi-autonomous tech as standard, for example), others...don't. Jeep just laid claim as the first automaker to navigate an Olympic white-water rafting course, which is totally weird and doesn't have much to do with cars.

The Jeep Renegade is the off-road brand's littlest ute, but clearly, that lack of physical footprint doesn't correlate to a lack of capability. To prove this, Jeep put an Olympic snowboarder behind the wheel of a very slightly modified Renegade, which the athlete drove up and down the rafting course at the Cardiff International White Water Centre in Wales.

The water doesn't appear too crazy-deep, as it only gets up to the bottom of the Renegade's front fascia. Nevertheless, Jeep added drain holes in the footwells and raised the airbag's ECU by half an inch.

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