2015 Jeep Renegade
While we as automotive enthusiasts tend to be wary of returning nameplates, as they rarely live up to the cars that originally used them, it can be done with success, as jeep proved with the new cherokee. Well, with that success in hand, jeep is now focused on the rapidly growing small crossover segment, and has placed the venerable Renegade name on an new model, with a new DNA.
Renegade is defined as “one who deserts or betrays an organization.” So it’s a fitting nameplate for the 2015 Jeep Renegade, as it enters into a new segment for brand, and is clearly unlike any other jeep in the stable… …or is it?
Jeep fans know that renegade not as a model name, but rather a trim package found mostly on cjs and wranglers.
And while early photos, with its borderline-cartoonish appearance, made it hard to take seriously, in person, the subcompact renegade sports much better proportions while still saying classic jeep up front. But, less so in the rear ¾ view with the upwardly arched quarter windows. But, the x-motif in the taillights and elsewhere, playing off a ww II-style fuel can, is pretty cool.
As for its new DNA, the renegade is on fiat’s small-wide 4x4 platform that it shares with the 500l and upcoming 500x. Built in Italy, FCA hopes renegade will make jeep as popular in global markets as it is here.
One feature we haven’t seen on other new smallish-utes is removable roof panels. Renegade’s basic mysky system has two separate pieces that, when taken off, deliver some of that open air experience jeeps are known for. Mysky with a power sliding front panel is also available.
There’s not an abundance of room in the comfortable front seats, but more than you’re expecting; and that just means all of the controls fall close to hand.
Seat controls were manual in our latitude-trimmed tester, but they’re very beefy felling, not compact car flimsy. The instrument panel looks nice, if a bit gimmicky. there’s jeep logos and “since 1941” script everywhere. It can get a bit cheesy and some materials are more economy than rugged.
The uconnect screen is on the small side, but it gets the job done, and the overall look of the interior will undoubtedly appeal to the younger set. Rear seat room is good, but the seatbacks don’t quite fold flat for cargo.
And while total cargo space is decent at 50.8 cubic-ft; 18.5 behind the rear seats; it falls well short of the Honda HR-V. Also, the mysky panels storage bag takes up a lot of floor space.
Now, jeep wanted to make sure you can still do jeep-type things in the renegade, and the trailhawk model features a standard active drive low 4x4 system with terrain select modes for snow, sand, mud, and rock. It’s clearly the only suncompact ute designed for true off-road use.
And you can still get jeep’s regular-strength active drive full-time 4x4 system in all other trims, which worked fine for us.
On road, the renegade feels very car-like, with minimal roll in corners and heavy steering. It’s a solid package overall, with no squeaks or rattles from the roof panels, though wind noise can ring out at speed.
As for powertrains, there are two. The larger, 2.4-liter tigershark I4 boasts 180-horsepower, and 175 lb-ft. of torque. Though a little rough at idle, there’s an impressive amount of power for a segment that mostly consists of sub-2.0-liter engines.
And of course there is one of those available here as well, fiat’s 160-horsepower 1.4-liter multiair turbo-4 which comes with a 6-speed manual.
The 2.4-liter gets a 9-speed automatic which worked okay. There’s still some occasional stumbling, but it’s definitely an improvement over early cherokees.
At our test track, the 2.4 renegade snaps off the line like a sprinter, but quickly settles down into a marathon pace; reaching 60 in 8.6-seconds. Leisurely shifts compound the ¼-mile situation, which took 16.5-seconds to climb to 83 miles-per-hour.
A relaxed pace was the way to go through our cone course too; as anything more, turns manageable understeer into full-on plow. An average stopping distance of 120-feet from 60 was not bad, but random locking and an unsettled rear needs to be improved upon.
Government fuel economy ratings for a 2.4 4x4 are 21-city, 29-highway, and 24-combined. Our average of 25.4 of regular is certainly superior to an old xj; but we expected better from such a small-fry. Still the energy impact score of 13.7-barrels of oil use and 6.1-tons of annual CO2 emissions is healthier than average.
We think jeep’s first attempt at a truly global small crossover will represent the brand well throughout the world, as it will be available in more than 100 countries. Pricing here in the good old U.S. of America starts at $18,990 for a sport; 4-wheel-drive adds 2-grand more.
So, while its origins are off-shore, the 2015 Renegade still embodies much of what has made the jeep brand an American icon. Combined with a low price, it’s the perfect jeep for people who think they want a jeep, but really want a rugged-looking small crossover with all of the modern comforts they’ve become accustomed to. so, renegade is one traitor with a good cause.
- Engine: 2.4 liter / 1.4-liter
- Horsepower: 180 / 160
- 0-60 mph: 8.6 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 16.5 seconds @ 83 mph
- EPA: 21 mpg city/ 29-highway
- Energy Impact: 13.7 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 6.1 tons/yr
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined