Jeep Renegade (2008): first official pictures

Published: 15 January 2008

Of the three concepts unveiled on the Chrysler stand the one most likely to see a production line is the Jeep Renegade. Whether it does so with its current tree hugger-pleasing power source is unlikely, but stranger things have happened.

Socket to ’em

Outdoor enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that Jeep has plumped for a hybrid diesel electric engine in the Renegade. A 200kW electric engine over each axle makes it genuine four-wheel drive and a 1.5-litre diesel engine cuts in when required to give extra boost. The combination gives a 400-mile range, meaning it’s unlikely you’ll be left stranded on a rain-lashed hillside looking for somewhere to plug it in. And unlike some of its pure electric concepts, it’s much less likely you’ll run out of gas entirely.

Jeep has concentrated on paring weight from the Volkswagen Polo-sized two-seater by using composite bodywork and giving it a stripped-out cabin. The overall result is an impressive claimed fuel return of 110mpg. The car’s a proper fun machine too, with no roof, a speedster windscreen and drainage holes in the floor so you can hose it out if you really go off-road.

Buggy off

A healthy dose of the classic 1960s beach buggy including a beefy rollover bar and ‘doors’ with see-through panels in them combine with the seven-slot grille and round headlights to make the Renegade look the part. And according to sources within Chrysler it could end up in production as a ‘baby’ Wrangler, aimed at drivers who want a fun and relatively affordable car for off-roading. Prices would start at around £16,000 putting it in similar territory to the Patriot.

If you think that’s unlikely, remember this is the second buggy-style concept that Jeep has done in recent years. The wild 2005 Hurricane concept trod similar ground, albeit with twin engines rather than the Renegade’s more fashionable planet-saving power plant.

They say: The Renegade is designed for a ‘hang on and have fun’ experience
We say: It’s a shame they went for the girly Compass when they could have done something like this
CAR’s verdict: 4/5