What is it that makes a Jeep a Jeep? Probably more than you think, because most people identify it, by its having all-wheel drive and the seven vertical air-inlets of the radiator. Although the original Jeep was an open vehicle, the boxy design of the closed car is important, Because the trapezoid-shape of the wheel housings then fit in with the whole concept.
Then of course, you should bear in mind, that it was originally a military vehicle. When purchasing a new one, this impression can be maintained through certain colour-combinations and foil-stickers. The 'Renegade' image, which suggests freedom and adventure, has been successfully marketed for decades. Long before the flood of SUVs became fashionable, Jeep was, and still is, the world's largest producer of this type of vehicle.
However, the newest Jeep is in fact, a Fiat, with only relatively few Chrysler-ingredients mixed in. It should accomplish the final breakthrough. To being, momentarily, the group's most successful product. From 2014, they hope to sell 1 million per year instead of the 700.000 of the year before. It will be interesting to see if this 50% increase can be achieved.
Does the new one look like it's got what it takes? That's something you'll have to decide for yourself. Whether the American buyers will, once more experience the strange enchantment that a Jeep product seems to provide, remains to be seen. The technology is there, which means that only the classical element may be missing. Apart from this point, to be able to produce in an economical and effective manner, for the first time, a Jeep is being built outside of America, in fact, in Melfi in the south of Italy, parallel to the successful Fiat 500.
Of course, the Renegade is not using the tried and tested, but also CO2- unfavourable Jeep-technology, instead, they're using the well known transverse-engine with an additional drive train to the rear. One of the specific features, indeed, only found in the two most expensive versions, is called the "Jeep Active Drive Low". This is an additional gear-reduction and a lot of software for choosing the best possible traction, on the most varied terrain.
The second specific features are the twin sun-roofs. Their elements can made of be glass or of plastic. Whatever the case may be, both can be removed and the front one can even be electrically raised or slid back. The interior is more playful than the exterior. So you will see almost exaggerated often the seven cooling fins as a symbol. Otherwise, it appears conventional, e.g. by the lack of adjustment of the rear seats. Forward visibility is limited by the high bonnet. 04/15