Jeep Renegade hits the subcompact trail

Jeep is downsizing as it aims for growth.

The all-new 2015 Jeep Renegade unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show today marks the automaker's first foray into the modern, subcompact SUV segment.

Designed in the U.S., the tiny little off-roader will be built in Italy on a platform shared with Fiat.

About the size of a Kia Soul, the Renegade packs many of Jeep's iconic styling elements into its small five-door package, including an upright seven-bar grille, round headlights and trapezoidal wheel arches.

Power comes from either a 160 hp 1.4-liter turbocharged four cylinder paired with a six-speed manual transmission, or the 184 hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder and 9-speed automatic combination that recently debuted on the Jeep Cherokee and gives the Renegade a maximum 2,000-pound tow rating.

Front-wheel-drive is standard, and two all-wheel-drive systems are available.

Dubbed Active Drive and Active Drive Low, each has the ability to completely disengage the rear driveshaft in order to improve fuel economy, but can send 100 percent power to the wheel with the most traction on slippery surfaces.

Active Drive Low also has a 20:1 crawl feature to further enhance the Renegade's rock crawling capabilities, and is offered exclusively on the "Trail Rated" Trailhawk model, which gets a jacked-up suspension, skid plates, integrated tow hooks and other off-road gear.

The interior design is modern, with body color accents and a configurable 7-inch display in the instrument cluster, but features a Jeep Wrangler-inspired dashboard grab handle for the front-seat passenger.

Along with a glass panoramic sunroof option, the Renegade can also be ordered with removable roof panels that store in the cargo area to give it an open-air feel.

Pricing for the Renegade has not yet been announced, but it its scheduled to go on sale in Europe late this year and the U.S. in early 2015.