There have been five incarnations of the Jeepster name. The first was before Jeep was Jeep, when Willys-Overland unveiled the first Jeepster in 1948 as a more car-like take on its basic and rugged wares. It looked like someone had given Chrysler designers a Jeep Truck and said, “Make this a Chrysler for cheap,” long before there was any connection between the two automakers. That effort only lasted two years on sale before retirement. In 1966, Kaiser visited the Jeepster’s grave to try again, this time targeting the Ford Bronco and Toyota Land Cruiser with a model that came in four body styles and remained on sale for six years. In 1998, Jeep showed off a Jeepster concept channeling the Willys-Overland version that, again, looked like someone gave Chrysler a Jeep to turn into a Chrysler, but for more money. Then, in 2018, Jeep took a Jeepster concept that channeled the Kaiser model to Moab for the Easter Jeep Safari. Now, for the fifth stab at it, Mopar Insiders reports that Jeep has a 2020 Renegade Jeepster Edition on the way, based on the entry-level Renegade Sport trim.
The goodies begin by swapping out the Renegade Sport’s standard 16-inch black wheels on 215/65 rubber for a set of 19-inch granite-painted aluminum wheels that are an inch wider and wear 235/45 tires. The other exterior changes are gloss black rings on the slotted grille instead of chrome, and Jeepster decals on the doors. Black and Colorado Red, already in the color palette, will be two choices along with three new custom colors coming with late availability. FYI, on the standard Renegade, any color other than white costs $245.
Inside come the larger, seven-inch Uconnect with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, black cloth seating with accented stitching, metal diamond speaker covers and vent bezels, and passive entry and remote start.
Jeep hasn’t added the trim to the Renegade configurator, but we’re told it will cost $1,895. That would put a Renegade Jeepster with front-wheel drive at $25,765 after destination, and $27,265 with four-wheel drive. History holds that the Renegade, like all the Jeepsters of yore, is a push into a new segment. But this isn’t the return anyone would have hoped for the name. The package price includes the exterior color price, but Jeep could at least offer a contrasting white roof with the Colorado Red paint to make this all a bit less cynical. This isn’t how you get a modern band to coo the line from T-Rex’s 1971 classic to the lead singer’s Jaguar-like girlfriend, “Oh girl, I’m just a Jeepster for your love….”