Chrysler knew full well the need for expansion of its model line and that Jeep would eventually introduce more car-like models, something that wouldn’t be easy, as the company didn’t want Jeep to lose its go-anywhere off-road reputation. So, Compass is a car that promises its owners the capability to tackle rugged terrain like any other Jeep.
Coming off the assembly line in Belvedere, IL it is sold in the States for MSPR $18,465 – $24,575 with 4 trims available, making it both a good buy and also the first front-wheel drive Jeep with rear drive engaged on-demand, and a fully independent suspension. The transmission lacks the transfer-case with low range gearing needed for serious off-road use, but allows splitting torque in half between rear and front axles for some low traction surfaces.
Jeep Compass is powered by a 2.4 L 172 hp 4-cylinder engine developed in association with Mitsubishi and Hyundai. It is more than adequate for the city use, and even though Compass is fairly heavy for its size it renders estimated 25 mpg in the city and 29 on highways with the standard manual gearbox. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that raises cost by $1,000 is also available.
But moving from a more formal presentation to some personal impressions it is worth mentioning that its exterior does create an ambiguous impression. The headlights are round, the front is that of Jeep, but the rear looks like that of a Hyundai. However design is a matter of taste, especially since Chrysler positions Compass as vehicle for young adults. No complaints on the interior, the seats are comfortable, plenty of room for four people and a spacious trunk.
One of the strong points of this car is its handling and steering, which is not any different than that of a sedan. You can negotiate curbs with a speed of 85-100 miles per hour and still be confident. But off the asphalted roads Compass is also capable of performing. Most important part here is to switch off ESP and engage the part-time torque splitter. Here the Jeep’s heritage shines and shows that it is truly capable of much more as opposed to other crossovers.
After all Jeep Compass leaves a very good impression. It is a crossover, but one step above Nissan Xtrail, Hyundai Tucson, Mitsubishi Outlander or Subaru Forester. And even the die-hard fans of Grand Cherokee will enjoy driving it! So welcome Jeep Compass – a good car worth every penny.