2015 Jeep Renegade

Jeep is charting new waters with its 2015 Renegade, which takes the SUV brand into subcompact territory. The vehicle will also be built in Italy and imported to the U.S., which is another first for Jeep, but the good news is that the Renegade should live up to Jeep’s reputation for toughness and off-road prowess.

The Renegade was created from the start for global sales; worldwide, it has two Fiat diesels, two Fiat gasoline engines, one Chrysler engine, and one old Chrysler gasoline engine updated by Fiat. The mini-Jeep will be sold in Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, North and South America, and Europe, with everything from a five-speed manual to a nine-speed automatic. Americans appear to get two choices: a Fiat 1.4 turbo engine hooked up to a six-speed manual transmission, or the Chrysler 2.4 liter four-cylinder with the ZF-designed, Chrysler-built 928TE nine-speed automatic.

Jeep shoehorned a fair amount of technology into this cabin. UConnect is available in two new form factors – a 5- or 6.5-inch touchscreen display. While we’re bummed that the big 8.4-inch display is getting left out, we imagine it’d look like a bit much in the Renegade’s dash. The other big-ticket tech feature is Chrysler’s seven-inch TFT display in the instrument cluster, something we’ve raved about for its clarity and attractive presentation of information. It replaces a standard, monochrome 3.5-inch display. A heated steering wheel, heated seats and other, more common options are also available.

Available features will include and a Uconnect Access system that will provide 911 emergency services, a remote-access phone app, and on-demand wifi hot-spot capability. Jeep says that the system’s seven-inch, fully configurable instrument cluster is the largest of its type in the segment.

The top Uconnect system will now read text messages and send dictated messages. SiriusXM Travel Link provides real-time traffic updates, local fuel prices, and weather conditions, plus other info services…