Jeep Renegade hybrid 2020: specs, details and on-sale date

Plug-in hybrid Renegade gets closer to production as factory reopens after coronavirus closure

Following coronavirus-related closures at its factory in Melfi, Italy, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is to gradually reopen the facility to finalise development of the plug-in hybrid Jeep Renegade 4xe, according to reports.

Speaking to Auto News Europe, UILM union representative Marco Lomio suggested that the construction of prototype Jeep models counts as research and development – work that is considered essential under Italian government rules. The resulting delays are expected to push the on-sale date for the plug-in hybrid Renegade and its Compass sibling to September 2020.

Previously, Jeep released images of the Renegade plug-in and its Compass sibling undertaking a mammoth 3,800km (2,361-mile) drive from the FCA group's Italian headquarters in Turin to a cold-weather proving ground in Sweden.

The Renegade's plug-in hybrid powertrain – shared with the Compass – features a 1.3-litre petrol engine and a rear-mounted electric motor: together they provide four-wheel drive, with power outputs up to 237bhp possible. The most powerful Renegade 4xe should cover 0-62mph in around seven seconds, with a top speed of 80mph in electric mode. An electric range of 31 miles is being targeted.

Charging the battery will take just over an hour and a half from a 7.4kW wallbox, while an ‘E-Save’ function allows drivers to preserve electric power for later in a journey. CO2 emissions should be less than 50g/km, for Congestion Charge exemption and low company-car tax.

According to Jeep brand boss Christian Meunier, the Renegade hybrid and its Compass sibling "pair unmatched 4x4 and all-terrain, all-weather capability with electrification for the first time, enhancing our core brand attributes, allowing greater torque control and improved crawl ratios. They’re more capable, more fun to drive, silent, refined and deliver fast acceleration."

Jeep Renegade 4xe hybrid First Edition specifications

The hybrid Renegade will arrive at launch in a fully loaded 'First Edition' trim level. This was offered to buyers in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria who placed an order through Jeep's dedicated web portal by 9 March this year.

The company says it'll be offered in one of two configurations depending on market: Urban, based on the standard S trim level, and Off-Road, based on the standard Trailhawk trim level. Urban will offer "a sporty look and a top-level trim in terms of elegance, content and technological equipment," including 19-inch alloy wheels, while Off-Road will bring Jeep's 'trail-rated' off-road capability and sit on 17-inch alloys.

In both cases, the most powerful 237bhp version of the PHEV drivetrain will be used, along with "comprehensive technological and driving-assistance features as standard, along with a full package of home and public recharging solutions".  The latter will include a home wallbox as well as a cable for charging at public points. Standard charging speed is 3kW (for a three-and-a-half-hour charge time), with the option to upgrade to 7.4kW.

Standard kit on the First Edition encompasses full LED headlights, Jeep's Uconnect navigation system on an 8.4-inch touchscreen, smartphone integration, a seven-inch TFT display showing information such as battery charge level plus electric and hybrid driving range, blind-spot monitoring, a rear-view camera, parking assistance, parking sensors, keyless and powered door mirrors. Available colours include Carbon Black, Alpine White, Granite Crystal Metallic, Blue Shade and Sting Grey.

After the initial launch period, the Renegade hybrid will be offered in the full spread of Longitude, Limited, S and Trailhawk trim levels. Exact UK-market pricing and specifications for these have yet to be confirmed.

Off-road capability

Jeep says that the main benefit of the hybrid system will be performance: the electric motor will deliver a large amount of low-down torque, aiding acceleration and off-road traction. The Renegade 4xe will come with a steel underbody to offer protection on the roughest terrain, while extensive waterproofing will give the top-spec Trailhawk variant a wading depth of half a metre.

“The move from mechanical to electric all-wheel-drive is a massive improvement – it’s more capable than the conventionally powered Jeep,” said the firm’s head of product marketing, Marco Pigozzi. “The enormous torque on offer from the electric motor allows [the car] to easily crawl over rocks and obstacles. And the fact that it’s mounted on the rear axle means [the car] is pushed up hills rather than pulled.”

Other Jeep hybrids

The same plug-in hybrid powertrain will be offered in the larger Jeep Compass and the company has also announced that the Wrangler will gain a plug-in hybrid variant: it was previewed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, with a full reveal in July ahead of sales beginning in September 2020.

Previously, Jeep has confirmed that it'll completely remove diesel engines from its range of vehicles over the next five years, with a range of hybrid and electric vehicles taking their place. In all, the company is going to invest almost £8 billion in electric and hybrid power in that period. The electrification programme will continue in the years that follow, with FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Jeep’s parent company) saying it'll have 30 electrified models by 2022.