As a brand known for off-road prowess, Jeep needs to work harder than most on its small city four-wheel drives. Even though the current Renegade will likely never leave the tarmac, it can be specced with a trail-rated Trailhawk package, but for some the knowledge that their little car can tackle the Rubicon Trail won't be enough. Those people are now catered for, thanks to new versions of the Renegade to be launched at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
As is often the case with these compact four-wheel drives, the Jeep upgrades center on style. The most dramatic of the two Los Angeles launches is the Renegade Deserthawk, which sits on new painted 17-inch wheels, designed to pair with the set of decals on the hood and bootlid. There are also unique rock rails and a heavier-duty tow kit at the rear.
The extra styling touches don't undermine the off-road capability of the standard Trailhawk. That means it's fitted with a low-range 20:1 crawl ratio, switchable four-wheel drive modes, skid plates both front and rear and proper tow hooks. There's 8.7 in (22 cm) of ground clearance and 8.2-inches (21 cm) of wheel articulation, and the car will cross every stream, at least, those up to 19 in (48 cm) deep.
Inside, the Deserthawk has been treated to a few choice upgrades, including leather seats and contrast stitching. All-weather floor mats might not give the cabin full Wrangler-style hose-out capability, but they're certainly a start.
Alongside the Deserthawk will sit the Renegade Altitude, which has been blacked out from front to back. All the chrome highlights are gone, replaced with gloss black highlights. Even the wheels and tail light rings have been given the stealth treatment, although we're not sure how the fancy paintjob would look after a tough session off-road.
The blackout theme continues inside, where the cloth seats and trim are both finished in black. Shiny metal diamond trim has been used on all the touch-points, in an attempt to make them feel more upmarket.
Both the Renegade Deserthawk and Altitude will make their debut at the LA Auto Show. They'll be landing in showrooms in January 2017, with prices starting at US$22,390 for the Altitude and $28,140 for the Deserthawk.
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