The New Jeep Renegade

by Larry

I know that when it comes to some of the new Jeep models I am a self-proclaimed curmudgeon. Personally I don't like many of the new vehicles produced today for a number of reasons from which I will spare you in this article.

However, the new addition to the Jeep line-up called the "Jeep Renegade" just seems to rub me the wrong way...again. In a previous article I wrote about how many (most?) traditional American vehicles were being overly influenced by European designers.

Well, since Chrysler/Jeep was bought out by the European company Fiat (you know, from Italy) I predicted that we would be seeing even more influence from across the pond than we did with Daimler (Germany), or much earlier with Peugeot (France).

I know that Jeep has had an impact in many places throughout the world. There have been various Jeeps licensed and produced in many other countries. However, until recently the company has not been owned and operated by a non-American entity (Fiat).

Now, I can be open-minded (sometimes), and I like some of the new foreign vehicles being produced, but I just can't seem to wrap my head around our American icon being put into the same cookie-cutter mold as every other vehicle on the planet. After all, if you know the history of the Jeep, there has been nothing in the automotive industry to compare to its heritage.

So, now we have the new Jeep Renegade. I do remember the true Renegade CJ and YJ from the past. These were when Jeeps still had their iconic character. Now Fiat decides to take the rugged sounding badge of the "Jeep Renegade" and slap it on a slightly modified Fiat mini-box.

How rude! That's like putting the H1 Hummer badge on a Toyota Prius. Yikes!

Is the new little Renegade a good overall vehicle for its demographic? Maybe. Time will tell. However, my point comes from a much different angle. Fiat could still build the same platform with all of its present amenities and call it something like...Dirt Scooter, or Fiat 501.

I understand that they want to capitalize on the "Jeep" name, but again, why insult tradition? In this ever changing world, tradition, character and heritage seem to be slipping away. Maybe this is no big deal to most people, but to this curmudgeon it is paramount that we don't destroy valuable fundamentals for the sake of progress.

Larry Morton, Owner/Editor

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