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Jeep Renegade coming next year

The Renegade mini SUV launched in Geneva this week with a trio of petrol engines and a diesel, linked to manual and nine-speed automatic transmissions.

Based on the same platform found under the Fiat 500X, the Renegade will be sold in front and all-wheel drive versions and the top-spec Trailhawk maintains a "Trail Rated" off-road capability.

Jeep Australia won't comment on prices ahead of a 2015 local launch, but Carsguide expects he entry model to cost around $29,000, rising to $40,000 for the Trailhawk.

Fiat-Chrysler Australia spokeswoman Karla Leach acknowledges the SUV is a key vehicle. "Most of the growth is coming in the small SUV range and we now have the full line-up from soft-roader front-wheel drives to the off-roading Trailhawks," Leach says.

Seven airbags will be standard along with a slew of electronic aids, from blind-spot and lane departure alerts to forward collision mitigation and rear cross-path detection. A five-inch or 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen will run the latest UConnect software and the driver's display includes a customisable panel.

The exterior styling is Jeep's impression of a scaled-down Wrangler, highlighted by removable "My Sky" roof panels. The honeycomb fibreglass and polyurethane panels can be stored underneath the 350-litre cargo area on the manual version, while a tilt/slide mechanism automates the process.

A new "Tek-Tonic" interior design look gives the Renegade a youthful look and plenty of soft-touch moulded plastics. The global Latitude badge will be replaced by Longitude in Australia to avoid confusion with the Renault Latitude.

The top-spec Trailhawk will roll on 17-inch wheels and has 205mm of articulation combined and 220mm of ground clearance. A towing pack boosts capacity to 900kg with the 2.4-litre petrol engine or 1500kg with the MultiJet 2.0-litre tubodiesel.

The Renegade is being built at the Melfi factory alongside the Fiat 500X. It will compete with the like of the Holden Trax, Nissan Juke and Renault Captur.