Smallest Jeep Appears Ready to Embrace Itty Bitty Engines


Image: FCA

The subcompact Jeep Renegade, despite not carrying the heritage and go-anywhere trail cred of the Wrangler, remains a valuable asset for Fiat Chrysler, and with good reason. The Fiat-based model sets the lineup’s price floor, luring first-time buyers into the brand — hopefully for life.

As we saw earlier this month, there’s a mildly refreshed Renegade arriving for the 2019 model year. Unfortunately, the model’s European debut didn’t tell us much about engine availability for U.S. buyers. It now looks like an FCA service portal provided some of the answers to our powertrain questions.

Since the model’s debut, North American Renegades showed up in two power flavors: a turbocharged 1.4-liter Multiair four-cylinder, and FCA’s 2.4-liter Tigershark four. The 2019 model’s Turin unveiling only brought news of a three-cylinder, two variations of a turbo four-cylinder, and the obligatory diesels. We were left wondering what’s in store for America.

Thanks to the Nightcrawler-like online journeys of Bozi Tatarevic, we now have a listing of global engine offerings for the 2019 Renegade via the automaker’s service portal. There’s no 1.4- or 2.4-liter to be seen.

What we have instead is a turbo 1.0-liter three-cylinder making 120 horsepower and a compressed natural gas variant of the same engine. Were it not for Ford, the displacement would scream “Euro types only!” The three-pot is an entry-level engine bound for front-drive, manual transmission vehicles. The 1.3-liter four-cylinder seems the most U.S.-ready, as the mill comes in two flavors: 150 hp and 180 hp. Torque figures remain unknown.

According to European media, the 1.3 arrives with either a dual-clutch automatic or nine-speed automatic in tow. One receives an electronic stop/start system. Certainly, the most powerful of the two seems ripe for the U.S. and could be a replacement for both existing engines, though FCA might have other plans that aren’t reflected in its service portal at the moment. The other two mills are existing turbo-diesels of 1.6 and 2.0 liters of displacement, offered in overseas markets.

Confirmation of U.S.-bound engines might not be far off. The automaker said at the European launch that American customers can expect 2019 Renegade details later this month.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]