The Compass was introduced in 2007 as an entry-level compact sport utility vehicle, one of Jeep’s first crossovers, occupying a slot with the Patriot just below the Wrangler.
For 2017, the Patriot is now gone, but an all-new Compass brings Jeep’s legendary and best-in-class 4x4 off-road capability, superior on-road driving dynamics, open air freedom, advanced fuel-efficient powertrains, over 70 innovative safety and advanced technology features, and premium, authentic Jeep design. Compass is built on a rigid foundation, with the upper body and frame engineered as a single unit, using more than 65-percent high-strength steel for maximum vehicle dynamics, crash performance and weight efficiency.
Compass is available in four trims: Sport ($20,995), Latitude ($24,295), Trailhawk 4x4 ($28,595), and Limited 4x4 ($28,995). Each level has its own special features and functions.
Sport has 16-inch black low-gloss steel wheels with all-season tires, cloth seats, remote keyless entry, and either front- or four-wheel drive.
Latitude changes up to 17-inch silver-painted aluminum wheels with all-season tires, premium cloth/vinyl seats, and passive entry with keyless Enter’n’Go.
The Trailhawk brings 17-inch polished-aluminum alloy wheels with all-terrain tires and adds the Jeep active drive low 4x4 system, selec-terrain traction management system, off-road suspension, hill descent control, skid plates, ruby red tow hooks, and two-tone black roof.
At the top of the line, the Limited is more refined, with 18-inch polished-aluminum wheels wearing all-season tires; leather-trimmed seats with perforated inserts; panoramic sunroof; and heated, power-adjustable front seats.
The two-tone roof on the Trailhawk and the Limited adds a premium touch and lengthens the appearance of the Compass for a stunning profile.
All models feature a fuel-efficient 180-horsepower, 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder Tigershark MultiAir engine designed to deliver over 30 mpg when paired with a six-speed manual transmission, standard in the Sport and the Latitude.
Six- and nine-speed automatic transmissions are available, adding $1,500 to the base price, and requiring a 2.4-liter MultiAir Engine with stop/start. Trailhawk comes with a class-exclusive nine-speed automatic (standard on 4x4 models) and the engine with stop/start technology.
Two advanced, intelligent 4x4 systems deliver 100 percent of available torque to any one wheel as need, giving the all-new Compass best-in-class off-road capability. Jeep active drive is full-time all-wheel drive, seamlessly switching between 2WD and 4WD as needed, while Jeep active drive low is a class-exclusive full-time 4x4 system with 20:1 crawl ratio.
Both systems include Selec-Terrain with up to five modes – auto, snow (4x4 models), sand, and mud, plus exclusive rock mode on Trailhawk – which coordinate 12 separate vehicle systems, providing the best 4WD performance on- or off-road, in any weather conditions. Cold weather and icy roads are no problem with available heated exterior mirrors, windshield wiper de-icers, along with snow mode.
Of course, Compass’s exterior is unmistakably Jeep, with the signature seven-slot grille, trapezoidal wheel arches – found on every Jeep vehicle since 1941 – and a traditional clamshell hood with a double break line and center bulge. The grille has been freshened by setting the individual chrome slots in gloss black. The headlight bezels also feature a black outline, giving the Compass a little attitude in the front.
An available CommandView dual-pane panoramic sunroof ($1,295) connects driver and passengers to the wild outdoors through the largest opening possible.
A gloss black painted roof (depending on the exterior color choice, including the A-pillar, rear spoiler, and C-pillar) paired with the wrap-around chrome trim (up the A-pillar, along the window/roof junction, down the C-pillar/window seam, around the lower rear window) give Compass a unique, premium appearance in the compact SUV segment. The sloped roofline and muscular fenders and shoulder create a stunning profile.
My Compass Limited 4x4 was redline pearl with black lower cladding and bumpers, black roof (two-tone paint group), black lower interior featuring cattle tan stitching on the seats, console, doors, dash, shifter boot, and heated steering wheel; ivory headliner and pillars; and brushed-aluminum and gloss-black trim on the steering wheel, dash, doors, trapezoidal center stack, and console, riding on 18-inch polished gray pocket aluminum wheels (five stubby silver “V” spokes). Nineteen-inch polished black pocket aluminum wheels with five silver “V” spokes are also available, as well as a compact spare tire for $245.
Eighteen exterior color combinations are available – nine with the black roof and nine monotone – with either black or black/ski gray leather bucket seats with perforated leather inserts.
LED taillights and Bi-Xenon HID headlights with LED signature lighting strip were included in an advanced safety and lighting group ($895), along with automatic high beam control, advanced brake assist, lanesense lane departure warning, and full speed forward collision warn plus.
The slim, rectangular shape of Compass’ unique LED taillights blended into the power liftgate ($495) for an instantly recognizable Jeep appearance.
The power liftgate opened at the touch of a button (closed with a button located on the inside wall of the cargo area – much more convenient than on the liftgate itself) to 27 cubic feet of cargo space.
A three-level cargo floor accommodated everything we needed for a day at the lake. A 60/40 folding rear seat and a forward-folding front passenger seat allowed us to haul several longer items after a trip to the local farm supply store, with 60 cubic feet of space behind the front seats.
Compass is capable of towing up to 2,000 pounds – useful for hauling small boats, motorcycles, or a folding camp trailer.
Uconnect 8.4, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and SiriusXM satellite radio are all standard for the Compass Limited.
A navigation group ($895) brought GPS navigation Uconnect 8.4 NAV, SiriusXM Guardian Service (remote start, lock/unlock, horn/light flash; send & go destination; vehicle finder), travel link, and traffic plus.
Beats Premium Audio added $695. The navigation system was easy and quick, with simple menus and easy-to-read fonts and graphics.
A safety and security group ($745) included the parksense rear park assist system, blind spot and cross path detection, and rain sensitive intermittent windshield wipers. A park-view rear back-up camera is standard.
This Jeep is versatile for everyday use, as a family vehicle, as a work vehicle, or a weekend fun vehicle.
The ride is easy and comfortable, driving is fun, and Compass is very attractive.
With $5,265 in options and $1,095 destination charges, my Compass delivered for $35,355 – affordable, fun, and practicality all in one.
Incidentally, the new Compass was named Activity Vehicle of Texas at the Texas Auto Writers Association’s Texas Auto Roundup in October.
The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at email@example.com.