THE original all American Jeep helped America and its allies win the Second World War and become a motoring legend but the latest Jeep is very much a cosmopolitan car being jointly developed by Italian and American engineers and is the first model to be built in Europe but sold in the USA writes Bryan Longworth.
It is the Jeep Renegade which is produced in Italy by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles the new company established after Fiat took over Chrysler and it is also the first small SUV to feature a nine speed gearbox.
The Renegade is also available with a huge removable sunroof that converts it into an open top SUV which is another first in the compact crossover market sector where the Renegade will be facing formidable competition like the Skoda Yeti and Vauxhall Mokka.
Renegade pricing starts at £16,995 for the front wheel drive model rising to £27,995 and there is a choice of six engines three petrol and three diesel with four transmissions including a nine speed automatic.
There are four different trim levels and the Renegade which has a large rear load area and best in class interior roominess that adds to its appeal especially with family owners wanting plenty of space.
Although it is built in Italy a prime requirement was that Renegade must be instantly recognisable as a Jeep with its American heritage and that has been achieved for the car has the brand’s classic styling cues such as the seven slot grille with round headlights and trapezoidal wheel arches.
Renegade is available with two and four wheel drive and one of the two 4x4 systems has a rear axle disconnect facility which seamlessly switches between two and four wheel drive to guarantee traction which keeps the car on the move in the most treacherous conditions and improves fuel consumption.
The Renegade Trailhawk will appeal to owners wanting the maximum off-road ability for it has a raised ride height plus low ratio gears, hill descent control and rock mode
The new Jeep is closely related to the Fiat 500X which is built at the same plant at Melfi in central Italy with the two cars sharing some components but the designers have managed to provide the Renegade with really distinctive features in the tradition of the famous American firm.
And owners can highly personalise their Renegade for there are over 110 accessories including original stickers for the bonnet, doors and rear side panels among them the iconic US Army Star in either black or white.
These should prove popular for it helps owners to maintain links with the original and iconic Willys Jeep that played such an important role in World War Two with the US military.
The rugged styling provides Renegade with distinctive looks that are unlike the competition in the compact crossover sector providing it with big sales appeal for owners wanting something completely different.
Model: Jeep Renegade.
Engines: Six petrol and diesel.
Drivetrain: Four and two wheel drive.
Trim levels: Four.
Price: From £16,995.