Jeep is screaming at the top of their lungs about the new Renegade. Oddly enough, it seems familiar.
It’s not the full independent suspension. That’s completely new and going to cause all sorts of revolts from the Jeep purists. (It is based off the Fiat 500 after all.)
It’s not the size. It’s roughly the same as the square head-lighted, YJ Wrangler, but the four doors changes the feel dramatically.
It’s the look! I’ve seen that look before. No. Not on a Jeep. I’ve seen it somewhere else. Oh, that’s right. The International Scout II.
The Scout II was International’s attempt to compete against the popular Jeep CJ-7. They made it a little bigger to carry people in the back more comfortably and give a little more storage space behind them.
Never heard of them? They started out making competitors to the Chevy Suburban and worked there way down in size. They never had a lot of sales, so they eventually went bankrupt in the Eighties.
Now Jeep brings out this little runabout and I can’t help but notice the similarities.
Same round headlights
Same upright grill
Same boxy look
And same kick up in the bottom of the rear side window.
It’s a modern Scout to me. Possibly getting a diesel option for it doesn’t separate the idea either. International threw diesel engines in the Scouts back in the day as well.
But then, Jeep doesn’t really have to worry about people like me noticing the look. They aren’t aiming this at me. They aiming at the people who have Soul. Kia Soul that is.
Yep. They built this to go after Kia. I didn’t know the urban commuter was so important to Jeep. You sure wouldn’t know this from their commercials.
To compete against the Soul, The Renegade will have the same interior mood lighting and techno gadgets galore. To one up Kia, Jeep will offer a double sunroof as an option. It’s called a sky roof and will let a lot of sunlight in to wash out the touch screen on the dash quite nicely.
As you can bet, the hardcore religious Jeep worshipers are going into hysterics over this. They are crucifying the Renegade and anyone who defends it with a passion that would make any political party envious. “Ugly” and “Fiat Panda wannabe” are among the few comments I can repeat here. Most are far worse.
There is a chance for Jeep to get a marketing win out of this though. The know it’s not a Wrangler. They don’t want to try to sell it to Wrangler buyers. They want to sell it to Kia owners. So they need to make their commercials for this market. This give them a chance to spoof themselves. Using an overly dramatic voice they could talk about conquering deadly potholes, splashing through the torrents of the neighborhood sprinklers, and narrowly avoiding the rampaging large SUV wildlife on the road while snagging the tight parking spot right next to whatever hangout is popular at the moment. Don’t think it will work? It did for Suzuki (until Consumer reports killed it)
Now if Jeep wants to get crossovers from their own brand there’s only two ways of doing this. Camping and Ralley.
Either way it’s going to be an interesting time for Jeep – even with a 30 year old style.