The Jeep Compass is all-new for 2017, but don’t go thinking this is just a new version of the old Compass. It has the same name, but this is truly an entirely new vehicle that takes the place of both the old Compass and the old Jeep Patriot which are being discontinued.
The Compass sits just below the Cherokee with 59.8 cubic feet of cargo room behind the first row and 27.2 cubic feet behind the second row. Power comes from a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine with 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. It has good fuel economy of up to 30 mpg making it a worthy commuter car. The Compass is offered in either 4×2 models or 4×4 models with three different transmissions.
The 4×2 model has either a six-speed manual or 6-speed automatic while the 4×4 gives you the same six-speed manual or a 9-speed automatic. We’ve driven both automatic transmissions and prefer the 9-speed. It is noticeably smoother with well-timed shifts for a more responsive ride.
You have your choice of Sport, Latitude, Limited, or Trailhawk trims with that last one coming with serious off-road capability. The all-new compass has two 4×4 systems for tackling off-road adventures.
There’s Jeep Active Drive with a full-time 4×4 system and Jeep Active Drive Low which is a full-time 4×4 system with a 20:1 crawl ratio. Both feature Selec-Terrain with Auto, Snow, Sand, and Mud modes. Get behind the wheel of the Trailhawk and there’s also a Rock mode, skid plates, a one-inch higher ride height, and the ability to ford up to 19 inches of water.
We took the Trailhawk off-road and it proved plenty capable taking on steep inclines, gravel-covered descents, and muddy, rutted trails with ease. Some vehicles designed for off-road driving are intolerably stiff on pavement. The Compass Trailhawk was still smooth, even on rougher pavement, and handled well on the highway. This is truly a best of both worlds version of the Compass.
Our drive time in the Latitude 4×4 showed off the softer side of the Compass. This falls in the middle of the lineup with a starting price of $24,295 and an attractive interior. A slew of options brought the price up to $32,900 and turned the mild-mannered Latitude into something more luxurious with a heated steering wheel and seats, advanced safety features, and an upgraded Uconnect infotainment system with a larger 8.4-inch touchscreen.
The Compass is a solid alternative to the larger and more expensive Jeep Cherokee. Whether you want the luxury of the Limited, the off-road chops of the Trailhawk, or something in the middle with the Latitude, the all-new Jeep Compass fits the bill.