The crisis in the Ukraine and the unveiling of the Jeep Renegade. Both were big news over the past week – although one is obviously more important in the grand scheme than the other. But however much of a stretch it may be, there is a small fiber holding the two stories together – at least in my strange world.
You see, there is a Ukranian vehicle out there that has a striking resemblance to the new Renegade – and its the LuAZ 1302. With some obvious Jeep inspiration, the LuAZ is a little dynamo in Ukraine – much like the Renegade intends to be here.
LuAZ 1302 vs Jeep Renegade
|Engine||Water-cooled Inline Four||1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo|
|Ground Clearance||11 inches||8.1 inches|
|Carbon Monoxide in cabin||Yes||TBD|
|Chances of Being Ejected||Good||TBD|
Don’t expect to buy a new LuAZ, as the company is on the verge of bankruptcy and is relegated to assembling cars that are produced by another company. But if you can find one, you can immediately take advantage of the 11 inches of ground clearance – 2.9 inches more than the Renegade! But just because you have the ground clearance doesn’t mean that you will actually be able to clear anything, as the LuAZ offers a meager 53 horsepower from its liquid-cooled inline four. Although this is better than the 34 horsepower offered from the air-cooled four its predecessor, the LuAZ 969, has under the hood.
In comparison, the smaller engine on the Renegade, the 1.4-liter four-cylinder, will offer output of 160 horsepower. The Renegade will also have the option of a 2.4-liter Tigershark that will increase output to 184 horsepower. The 1.4 is the same engine offered on the Fiat 500L and the 2.4 exists on the Dodge Dart.
For those of you rooting for the Ukraine vehicle in this comparison, there’s this. From 1984 to 2002, only 67 people were killed from faulty exhaust systems on the LuAZ that allowed carbon monoxide to enter the cabin. Heck, that’s 18 years. Let’s see if the Renegade can go that long without some carbon monoxide leaks.
The LuAZ doesn’t have a great crash test rating. In fact, a Wikipedia entry implies that being thrown from the vehicle is a common occurrence. Apparently passengers were ejected more often in the 80s and 90s than Dennis Rodman. But again, we don’t have test crash data on the Renegade yet, so let’s not jump to conclusions on a winner.
In all seriousness, the 2015 Jeep Renegade looks pretty awesome and the LuAZ 1302 was, is and always will be garbage. But I guess when you live in the Ukraine, you take what you can get.