by George Polgar

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When it was introduced in 2014, the new Jeep Renegade was a distinctly different small SUV than this venerable American brand had ever presented.

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First of all the new globally-focused Jeep Renegade from the house of Fiat Chrysler is built for the US market in Melfi Italy, as well as Brazil and China for other markets.

That a descendant of the jaunty little Jeep that helped liberate Italy during WWII would actually be produced there caused very little stir, considering that just a few decades ago there was an ugly and ineffectual militancy to the “Buy American” movement as it related to automobiles.

A recent test drive of the Renegade Trailhawk proves that the American concept of an off-road capable, value oriented, stylishly packaged small SUV can be built and sold all over the world and yet still retain its American character.

(PHOTO: © 2015 FCA US LLC.)

The chunky cubist exterior of the Renegade is in sharp contrast relief from the onslaught of aero sculpted small SUVs and crossovers flooding the market. The front seven vertical slat grill with round headlamps is a familiar Jeep design that works nicely with playful X stamped rear tail lights and other mildly militaristic touches.

A standard 2.4L Tigershark® MultiAir® 2 engine with a 9 speed automatic transmission and rough and ready 4×4 set-up makes the Renegade Trailhawk a truly fearless off-roader. And as a driver you really feel the confidence of the design backed up with a sophisticated Selec-Terrain® Traction Management System.

The Jeep Renegade models are priced from a base of around $19,000 up

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to $27,000 for the truly impressive Trailhawk edition.

Model: 2017 Jeep Renegade

MSRP: From $26,895

MPG: 21 city / 29 highway

Towing capacity: 2,000 lbs

Horsepower: 180 hp

Curb weight: 3,532 lbs

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Wheel size: 17″ diameter, 6.5″ width