Jeep sells nothing but SUVs, and for the most part they are excellent SUVs. The exceptions were the Jeep Compass and Patriot, two crossover who shared their mechanical bits with the Dodge Caliber. Jeep has resold them since the caliber went down in 2012 because Americans are crazy about crossover, also not-so-good. Nevertheless, the compass and patriot have hardly deserved to be called jeeps. They are almost gone, although the Patriot is still being sold as a model in 2017, replaced by this new compass, which only shares the seven letters with its predecessor.

The compass is exactly what the old one was: beautiful, capable, fun and functional. Now tightly seated in Jeep’s lineup between the smaller Renegade and larger Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, the compass completes an all-SUV lineup, which is except for no exceptions.


Rugged appearance The compass is a beautiful compact SUV. More than the weird-looking Cherokee or Boxy Renegade, it catches the same hard-but-challenging person as the brand’s best selling Grand Cherokee. And it looks good in every order, from the base sport to the round trip Trailhawk to the top Limited trim shown here

Actual Offroad Chops The sales point of a Jeep, from the Wrangler on down, is becoming more off-road ardor than your typical SUV or crossover. The compass has, for example, a standard ground clearance of 8.2 inches that is higher than other crossover’s size and more in line with larger models like the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue. The comparatively smaller Nissan Rogue Sport has, for example, only 7.4 inches. Plus, when ordered with all-wheel drive, the compass comes with the Selec-Terrain traction control system with four modes: Auto, Snow, Sport and Sand / Mud (Trailhawk models get an additional mode called Rock). Tailor-made terrain settings are unusual in this price class, but it is not surprising to find them in a jeep.

Really fun to control Despite the brand’s tendency to unpaved adventures, Jeep has designed the compass with surprisingly good on-road manners. There is a nice balance between compliance and control in the suspension, and the steering is light but accurate. With its relatively small dimensions, the compass handles even without the mass, which can often overwhelm larger SUVs in corners, leaving a few additional degrees of fun before physics sucks you.

Great for the money The new compass costs a few thousand dollars less than the Jeep Cherokee, give or take, depending on the equipment level. Despite its lower cost and smaller outer dimensions, the compass still strikes the Cherokee in some important interior dimensions. On the one hand, it has more loading space with the resettles both up and down: 27.2 and 59.8 cubic feet, respectively, compared to 24.6 and 54.9 cubic feet. There is also more head and leg clearance in the compass than in the Cherokee.


Rough engine The compass is a glaring weak point, its engine, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, which leads its family line back to the 2013 Dodge Dart. It is neither polished in operation nor still in sound, but at least it gets working with a rugged 184 hp and 175 foot-pounds of torque and fuel consumption of 25 miles per gallon, which is decent for a vehicle of this size with all-wheel drive

Mismatched transmission Once again, Fiat-Chrysler’s nine-speed automatic transmission makes the cons list. While the first examples that were introduced to the market a few years ago have improved significantly, this high-relation car simply does not feel comfortable with smaller engines like the compass 2.4-liter four-cylinder , With the performance at a premium when the RPMs are low and the programming of the gearbox is targeted (forgive the word game) to fasting up for maximum fuel efficiency, the compass feels lethargic from the line up / when you buried your foot.

Difficult rear seat exit While the compass is actually larger inside than the Cherokee in some way, rear seat accommodations are not among them. It is not surprising that there are two centimeters of legroom less for rear passengers (38.3 inches versus 40.3), but the liberation itself is also heavier because the seat back sits behind the C-pillar. It gives you a sunken feeling while sitting, and getting out requires you to go forward with your body before you get out.


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Photos: John Neff


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