The first generation Jeep Compass was seen somewhat as a stepchild in the Jeep lineup. The iconic brand is looking to rectify it with this, a brand new model, designed to replace both the outgoing Compass and the Patriot—one that aims to do battle in America’s most hotly contested vehicle segment – the compact SUV.
The new Compass, unveiled at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, features more grown up styling—akin to a mini Grand Cherokee—while designed to maximize interior space (101 cubic feet) within a relatively small structure (173 inches long, 103 inches between the front and rear wheel centres). Like the vast majority of SUVs these days, the new Compass employs car-derived architecture, (Fiat Chrysler’s small wide 4×4 platform also used on the Jeep Renegade) and uses front-drive mechanicals with two available AWD systems.
The sole engine choice available at launch in North America will be a 180 hp, 2.4-litre Tigershark four-cylinder petrol engine, teamed with either a six-speed manual, six-speed automatic or nine-speed automatic (the latter exclusive to the off-road oriented Trailhawk which features a special full-time Active Drive Low 4WD system). With a target price in the low to mid $20,000 range, Jeep is clearly pitching the 2017 Compass as its volume seller and given its features and MSRP, the new Compass looks set to be a major leap over the old one. (Huw Evans)