The 2014 Jeep Compass Limited 4×4, is a smaller size Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) with roots all the way back to the industry’s first ever SUV, notably the 1949 Jeep Station Wagon 4×4.
Now a successful model from the Chrysler Group LLC offerings, Jeep continues to build on its celebrity as the premier 4×4 label thanks to product branding that started during World War II.
Still competing in an ever growing compact 4×4 market, Jeep’s Compass continues its “top of mind” heritage thanks to inventive marketing and production of “in demand” vehicles. Owned by everyone from 17-year old “off road” enthusiasts to senior citizens that desire secure transportation, there’s a model somewhere in the Jeep lineup to quench everyone’s thirst.
Starting at just $18,495 in 4×2 Sport trim, the new for 2014 Compass features an impressive exterior upgrade, new bi-halogen headlamps and an enhanced interior with better fabrics and leathers. Known as the “small Grand Cherokee,” our tester came in top line Limited 4×4 trim, with a base of $27,795.
Available engines in the Compass Sport line include a 2.0-liter, 158 horse inline four or, if you order any of the 4×4 Compass models, the bigger double overhead cam 2.4-liter, 172-horse inline four. A transmission choice is available with the Sport 4×4, where either a five-speed manual or optional CVT automatic is available. On mid-level Latitude ($24,295 4×4 base) and top line Limited ($27,795 4×4 base) a six-speed or AutoStick automatic is now standard.
Overall, 4×4 Compass models deliver good EPA fuel mileage as the five-speed manual Sport chips in with 23 city and 28 highway while the Latitude and Limited with the six-speed automatic produce 21 city and 28 highway. Compass 4×4 also comes standard with the proven “Freedom Drive I” 4×4 system that is perfect for most buyers.
For $550 more, however, Jeep offers a “Freedom Drive II” option that enhances 4×4 off-road utility by adding skid plates, full-size spare tire in place of a “donut spare,” and a one-inch higher ground clearance. It also comes standard with a special “Off Road Crawl” CVT automatic which, when considering the cost of a new full-size tire on a wheel these days, receives a recommendation for those who enjoy weekends at the Baja.
All Limiteds features standard perforated leather-trimmed seats, 18-inch polished painted pocket aluminum wheels, chrome fog lamp bezels and the ParkView® rear back up safety camera. The front seating is firm and there’s also ample room for rear passengers considering Compass is way smaller than a full size Cherokee.
Additional items on the standard list are 60/40 rear recline seats, heated front seats with fold flat passenger seat, all the powers, stereo AM/FM/CD/MP3 with four speakers, tilt steering, rechargeable and removable lamp, air, keyless entry, cruise and leather steering wheel with audio controls.
Our tester came with a $595 security and cargo convenience group and a $650 Premium Sound upgrade, the latter featuring nine Boston Acoustics speakers with subwoofer. An extra $395 adds Uconnect Voice Command with Bluetooth, Sirius XM (one year free), USB port, and Garmin Navigation. Many of these features, like USB, Sirius and Bluetooth should somehow be worked into standard features for a bit more on the base.
Safety features include ABS four-wheel discs, fully independent suspension, all the air bags, electronic stability control, brake assist and much more. Your Jeep dealer will gladly explain all offerings in detail.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 103.7-inches, 3,345 lb. curb weight, 2000 lb. tow capacity, 13.5 gallon fuel tank, 8.1-inch ground clearance, and up to 56.3 cu. ft. of cargo space.
The 2014 Jeep Compass fills a niche where 4×4 trustworthiness meets high consumer demand…at a low entry price. Compass in any variety will get you there safely and with better fuel mileage than past efforts.
Likes: New look, interior, ancestry, better MPG.
Dislikes: Engine a bit loud, Uconnect options should be standard.
(Greg Zyla is a syndicated auto columnist).