Photo by Vince Taroc.
While I’ve never thought of myself as a Jeep Driver that changed when I test drove the 2015 Jeep Renegade Sport 4x4. The subcompact SUV may have been engineered as an off-road lifestyle vehicle, but it was awfully fun to drive at freeway speeds in the asphalt jungle that is Los Angeles.
The Renegade Sport 4x4 is celebration of sorts for the Jeep brand. There are various “easter eggs” throughout the vehicle harkening back to the classic World War II Jeep, with nods to the “X” on the external fuel carriers, the iconic grill design hidden throughout the vehicle on its lights and elsewhere, and even an old-fashioned Jeep blazing a trail on the windshield.
For all the celebratory fun, the MY-2015 Jeep Renegade delivers a ride that’s fun, albeit a bit rambunctious—almost as if the vehicle is just pining for the off-road it knows is out there somewhere—thanks to its 1.4L I4 MultiAir turbo engine paired with a 6-speed manual transmission, which produces a peppy 160 hp and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine has an EPA-rated fuel economy of 31 mpg highway/24 mpg city/27 mpg combined. With the available 2.4L Tigershark engine and tow package, the Jeep Renegade can tow up to 2,000 pounds. The Tigershark variant is matched with a 9-speed automatic transmission.
Photo by Vince Taroc.
Contenting for the MY-2015 Jeep Renegade 4x4 that I tested was basic—no rearview camera, and the infotainment system was relatively simple and pared down, and I enjoyed that. With the manual transmission and the back-to-basics instrumentation, it brought the driving experience back to the essentials as well.
There is one advanced piece of technology that was included on the vehicle I was driving, and that was hill start assist—which comes standard and came in handy on a steep graded onramp that I’ve had trouble in the past with my own manual transmission vehicle.
The Jeep Renegade 4x4 had good storage and its back to basics approach didn’t mean it was uncomfortable. Quite the contrary, the manual 6-way driver seat was comfortable and the instrumentation was easy to use and conveniently arranged. Storage was also good with 18.5 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 50.8 cubic feet with the rear seats down.
The Jeep Renegade 4x4 would be a great fit in a branded fleet, looking to make a statement and project an active, adventurous image.