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Italian Built Baby Jeep Coming

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It's indisputable that the newly redesigned Jeep is incredibly popular. While the styling may be polarizing, long-time fans don't seem to love the new design, everyone agrees that it's a marvel of technology with the world's first nine-speed transmission.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has big plans for the Jeep brand, intending to sell one million of them this year, a huge jump of 37 percent up from last year's record of 731,565. A big part of fulfilling that ambitious plan is to offer more variations within the iconic off-road brand; hence the new Jeep Renegade subcompact SUV.

Designed in the U.S. and built in Italy, the baby jeep still looks like a jeep with it's prominent grille and boxy styling, somewhat reminiscent of the Jeep Wrangler or the 2002 Jeep Liberty. The second Jeep to share a Fiat platform, the Renegade will be built on Fiat's "flexible small wide" platform found on the Fiat 500L and will likely only be available with full time all-wheel drive. Buyers can choose either gasoline or diesel engines. Fuel economy will be more than 30 mpg.

Plenty of creature comforts including voice-activated touchscreens and steering-wheel mounted controls can be found in the Renegade's 'robust and lively' interior.

Just like it's big brother, the baby Jeep will offer a nine-speed automatic transmission, the first small SUV to do so. Variants include a Trailhawk Trail Rated edition as well as an open air version. The Trailhawk will feature additional ground clearance and a crawl gear.

The Jeep Renegade name was a surprise to many, as it was thought that it might be called the "Jeepster", a rumour that was recently put to rest by FCA boss Sergio Marchionne. The Renegade name was last used on a fuel efficient concept car displayed in 2008.

Small SUVs are a hot market these days, both in North America and in Europe, where smaller vehicles are always popular. The baby Jeep Renegade should appear in North American dealerships late this year and will compete with the likes of the Buick Encore and the Nissan Juke. It's also going to be sold around the world, the first Jeep ever made for global markets and will launch in Europe later this year.

By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca

 

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