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Renegade maintains Jeeps heritage in looks, ability (pictures)

The 2015 Jeep Renegade comes with Italian engineering in its chassis due to its FCA parent company, the Fiat-Chrysler amalgam, but shows Jeep tradition in its design.

Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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2015 Jeep Renegade
1 of 28 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Wrangler fans may doubt the Renegade's abilities, but it has made a good showing on difficult offroad terrain.

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The Renegade is a new small SUV from Jeep, marking a new entry point for the brand in worldwide markets.

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Classic Jeep styling shows up in the round headlight and seven-bar grille, yet more dynamic lines along the sides give it modern appeal.

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Jeep offers a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine for the Renegade, but the Trailhawk edition is only available with the larger 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine.

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The Renegade is built on a chassis developed by Fiat and shared with the Fiat 500L and 500X.

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The Trail Rated badge only shows up on the Traihawk edition of the Renegade, which boasts Jeep's more serious offroad gear, including a 20:1 low range.

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The Renegade has 8 inches of ground clearance and short front and rear overhangs allow steep ascent and departure angles.

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A wading depth of 20 inches may not be extreme, but other cars in its price range can match it.

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The tailgate allows for easy access to the cargo area, and creates a nice bit of shade.

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Cloth seats with leather inserts are reasonably comfortable, but only the driver's side is power adjustable.

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The rear seats offer a 40/20/40 split to improve cargo versatility.

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With the rear seats up, the cargo area only affords 18.5 cubic feet of space.

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This example shows the optional 6.5-inch UConnect touchscreen infotainment system with navigation. Renegade Trailhawks come standard with a 5-inch touchscreen, lacking navigation.

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The steering system feels responsive, and is easy to turn at low speed.

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The nine-speed automatic transmission shifts a lot to find optimum engine speed, and is slow to kick down.

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Jeep's Selec-Terrain system offers five program modes for different conditions.

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An LCD panel in the instrument cluster shows offroad mode and trip information.

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Along with a rear-view camera, the Renegade can be optioned up with a blind-spot monitor.

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The navigation system is useful, although the screen is a bit small.

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This navigation interface will look familiar to users of Garmin systems.

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The UConnect system supports satellite and HD radio.

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The music library interface for onboard digital media shows the usual selections for album, artist and genre.

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The current track screen shows information in a large font, making it easy to take in at a glance.

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The upgraded audio system for the Renegade Trailhawk uses nine speakers, including a subwoofer, and includes surround processing.

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The UConnect system includes a limited number of apps, available through an online app store.

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Yelp integration makes it easy to find local businesses.

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UConnect includes a Bluetooth hands-free phone system.

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The Renegade makes a good choice for those shopping for a small SUV, as it can be optioned up to handle terrain most others can't.

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