There is no doubt that Jeep makes some of the most iconic SUVs in the world. Apart from the Wrangler, which is the company's most hard-core off-roader based on the original "Jeep", over the last few decades, the American car maker really has diversified its portfolio to include everything from budget soft-roaders like the Patriot to massive luxurious seven-seaters such as the Grand Cherokee. But it seems the downsizing bug has bitten Jeep as well and at the upcoming 2014 Geneva Motor Show, an all-new compact crossover is ready to make its world debut.
Even though this new crossover carries the legendary "Renegade" name, it is far removed from any other vehicle that Jeep has produced in its entire history till date. Rather than tweaking one of its existing platforms, Jeep has looked to Fiat (which now wholly owns Jeep's parent company, Chrysler) for providing it with a small enough platform on which to base this new Renegade.
And if the leaked pictures aren't giving it away already, the real shocker is that this new Jeep is actually a Fiat Panda underneath all that gussied up bodywork. Not that we have any problems with it, mind you.
The Panda 4x4 is an absolutely brilliant platform and suffices most urban yuppies for their softroading needs. Plus, we think, the tiny proportions lend the Renegade a certain cuteness that many other cars which have taken this route, such as the Mini Countryman, haven't been able to manage.
Though there aren't any details speaking about specifics of this car, the design on the Renegade has classic Jeep lines through and through, which seems to work surprisingly well given the car's diminutive proportions. And speaking about proportions, this is the smallest vehicle that Jeep has made since the original Willy's that served during the Second World War. Technically speaking, what we do know is that the Renegade will be sold in 4WD versions only and will have a choice of petrol or diesel motors to power it. In order to emphasise the Renegade's off-road abilities, Jeep will be offering the car in a Trailhawk Trail-Rated edition as well.
The Renegade, of course, is good news for India in any case. After plans of launching the "big Jeeps" such as the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee in the country have been put on hold in lieu of pricing problems, the Renegade, at least in theory, should have no problem fitting inside the correct price point for a compact SUV in India.
And when you factor in Fiat India's plans to manufacture the Panda in India, the Renegade starts making perfect sense to go head to head against the current favourites in this segment in India like the Renault Duster and the Mahindra XUV5OO. Of course, at the moment, this is more speculation than fact, considering that even Jeep hasn't officially said anything about the Renegade, and all we have to go on are a few leaked pictures. But hopefully, things should make themselves clear once the car is unveiled at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show in the next few days.