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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Review: 2017 Jeep Compass Limited 4X4

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      Jeep has the new Compass mostly ironed out... Mostly

    There are some vehicles that leave you scratching your head, wondering why is anyone buying them. A perfect example is the previous-generation Jeep Compass. The model had a long list of negatives ranging from a very cheap interior to powertrains that could be beaten by a snail. But a number of folks bought the Compass and its sister car, the Patriot, in droves. It offered the looks and the image of owning a Jeep vehicle without the downsides of owning something that provided a rough ride or was too expensive. 

    Almost a decade later, we have the new Compass which hopes to right the wrongs of the previous model. We spent a week in the Limited trim to see if Jeep was able to.

    First impressions seem promising when it comes to the exterior. There is a lot of Grand Cherokee in the Compass’ shape with similar profiles, angled front end, and rear tailgate. Our Limited tester came with 18-inch aluminum wheels and two-tone paint that helps make the model pop. Compared to the last Compass, the new model is slightly shorter (173.2 vs. 175.1-inches).

    A big complaint about the Compass/Patriot was their interiors. It was easy to tell they were built to the lowest cost possible with cheap plastics, a short list of standard features, and odd design decisions. The new Compass thankfully fixes many of those mistakes. Step inside and it becomes quite clear that Jeep focused on making the Compass a special place to be in. Again, there is a lot of Grand Cherokee influence with a similar dash design and the extensive use of soft-touch materials. We like the contrasting trim pieces around the vents that help make the interior not feel as dark. One thing we’re not so keen on is the low placement of HVAC and audio controls in the center stack. It is a bit of reach to adjust the temperature or change the volume.

    In terms of seating, you feel that you’re sitting on top of the Compass, not inside it. This is due to Jeep raising the seats to provide the high-riding experience of an SUV. The front seats provide decent support for long trips and optional power adjustments make it easier to find the right position. In the back, there is plenty of legroom for those over 6-feet. Headroom is tight for taller passengers if you get the optional panoramic sunroof. Cargo space measures out to 27 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 61 cubic feet folded.

    Our test Compass came with the 8.4-inch UConnect system. Recently updated for the 2018 model year, the system features an updated interface and integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Unlike other FCA vehicles equipped with UConnect, the system in the Compass was problematic. For starters, the system had trouble trying to pair an iPhone 7 Plus via Bluetooth. The system would try to connect to the phone for about 30 seconds and then give up. On the third attempt, UConnect froze and I had to shut off the vehicle and walk away for a minute before the system turned off. After doing some troubleshooting, I realized that I had too many UConnect pairings on my phone and deleted them all. After this, the system was able to connect to connect to my phone with no issues. Yes, this is only a problem to those of us who review a number of new cars. But other problems with this system would pop up such as the system taking a few moments to bring up certain functions, being unable to find my iPod or iPhone when plugged in, and the system crashing when I was trying to bring up navigation. I believe these most of these issues are isolated to this vehicle, but it doesn’t leave a good impression with the new version of UConnect.

    There is only one engine available for the Compass, a 2.4L four-cylinder with 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. Our Limited came equipped with a nine-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive models have the choice between a six-speed manual or automatic. This engine has been a weak point in many Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ vehicles we have driven and the Compass is no exception. Acceleration is very anemic as the engine takes its sweet time to get up to speed. The engine is also very noisy when accelerating but thankfully quiets down when cruising at a steady speed. The nine-speed automatic is well-behaved for the most part as it smoothly and quickly upshifts to help boost fuel economy. There is some hesitation when it comes to downshifting. 

    Fuel economy is not a strong suit for the Compass. EPA ratings for the nine-speed and AWD combination stands at 22 City/30 Highway/25 Combined. Our average for the week landed at 23 MPG.

    The tall height may hint that the Compass is a bit of handful when cornering, but the model is surprisingly agile. There is some lean when cornering, but the Compass feels planted and controlled. The steering feels nicely weighted and responds quickly to inputs. In terms of the ride, the Compass’ suspension is able to smooth over most bumps with no issue. We sadly didn’t get the chance to try the Compass’ off-road capability. AWD models come with Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system that offers four different driving modes that alter various settings. Those who have taken the Compass off the beaten path say it is surprisingly capable.

    The second-generation Jeep Compass is worlds better than the original model. A lot of the changes made to this model have been for the better with a sharp-looking exterior, pleasant interior, and surprising driving dynamics. But there are two issues that hold the Compass back from reaching greatness. First is the 2.4 four-cylinder engine which feels sluggish and fuel economy is somewhat poor. FCA really needs to come up with a replacement for the 2.4 ASAP. Second is the price. The Compass Limited starts at $28,995 and our as-tested price came to $34,955. This makes a bit of a poor value, especially when the Hyundai Tucson Limited we reviewed a few weeks ago was only $300 more. Given the choice, we would pick the Hyundai.

    Despite the changes made by the Jeep, the Compass is relegated to mid-pack. If they can get a new engine and work on the value argument, then the Compass could be a real threat.

    Disclaimer: Jeep Provided the Compass, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2017
    Make: Jeep
    Model: Compass
    Trim: Limited 4X4
    Engine: 2.4L MultiAir 16-Valve Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 6,400
    Torque @ RPM: 175 @ 3,900
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/30/25
    Curb Weight: 3,327 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Toluca, Mexico
    Base Price: $28,995
    As Tested Price: $34,955 (Includes $1,095 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    19" x 7.5" Polished Black Pocket Aluminum Wheels - $895.00
    Advanced Safety & Lighting Group - $895.00
    Navigation Group - $895.00
    Safety and Security Group - $745.00
    Beats Premium Audio System - $695.00
    Power Liftgate - $495.00
    Compact Spare Tire - $245.00

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    Thank you for this!

    I plan to test drive one myself, as it is growing on me (wife would like to see it) 

    Not surprised about the 2.4- they really need to pump that up a bit-other than that, seems to be a solid engine.

    Too bad Jeep is there only money maker in FCA (hence the price) I think Jeep is going to price themselves right out of the market, as they still have yet to justify the price (poor ratings). It would really be wise to lower the price (let's undercut the Tuson and company) to offer a better value-give them bang for buck. THen, as success grows, release more money making trims....


    Otherwise, the Compass is nice and quite the looker.....

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    Totally agree with @daves87rs as it is a sharp looking compact CUV with a very nice interior. Sadly the price to ratings will hurt more than help the sales I think. I agree that they should compete with Hyundai Tuson on price and work on the quality.

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    For comparison, my 2017 Compass Latitude 4X4 was $26k.  It only has two options, a 6 way power driver's seat and the alternate design 17" alloys.  The Latitude comes with plenty of standard features, like keyless entry and go (I do not need to press a button on the transmitter to unlock the doors, I simply touch the inside of the handle, plus push-button start), UConnect, all auto-down windows (the fronts are also auto-up).  Tilt and telescope wheel and heated mirrors also come on the Latitude at no cost.  I do have the six speed manual transmission, which helps with fuel mileage and the fun-to-drive factor.  My DIC indicates 31.5 lifetime average fuel economy so far.  On the highway, the Compass is a commendably quiet cruiser.  It does have a raspy, Italian-inspired exhaust note when rowing the gears, but it is never intrusive.  I also like the cloth and vinyl seats.  Plus the cornering lamps come in handy.

    100_2315.JPG

    Edited by ocnblu
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    5 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    For comparison, my 2017 Compass Latitude 4X4 was $26k.  It only has two options, a 6 way power driver's seat and the alternate design 17" alloys.  The Latitude comes with plenty of standard features, like keyless entry and go (I do not need to press a button on the transmitter to unlock the doors, I simply touch the inside of the handle, plus push-button start), UConnect, all auto-down windows (the fronts are also auto-up).  Tilt and telescope wheel and heated mirrors also come on the Latitude at no cost.  I do have the six speed manual transmission, which helps with fuel mileage and the fun-to-drive factor.  My DIC indicates 31.5 lifetime average fuel economy so far.  On the highway, the Compass is a commendably quiet cruiser.  It does have a raspy, Italian-inspired exhaust note when rowing the gears, but it is never intrusive.  I also like the cloth and vinyl seats.  Plus the cornering lamps come in handy.

    100_2315.JPG

    Quite the looker in that color...

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    The new Compass Limited is very nice.  But that as-tested price..wowza.  I'm happy w/ CPOs and a bit of depreciation--my '14 GC Limited was the price of Ocn's Compass Latitude. 

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      Headlights have been replaced with new HID lights along with LED auxiliary lights for vast outward visibility. Rearward, LED halo lights have been installed in the original taillight buckets. To protect the body, the original rockers were removed and replaced with functional rock rails that run the length of the body side. Modified front Jeep Gladiator Rubicon steel bumpers have been installed, which complement the brushed metal-finished body and tailgate, producing a polished look.

      The M-715 Five-Quarter’s off-road capability has been enhanced by reinforcing the original frame and replacing the leaf springs with a heavy-duty link/coil suspension system. Additionally, the front axle has been pulled forward two inches and replaced with a Dynatrac Pro-rock 60 front axle and a Dynatrac Pro-rock 80 axle in the rear, while 20-inch beadlock wheels are wrapped with large 40-inch tires.
       
      Inside, new Jeep Wrangler seats, free of headrests, have been installed for a sleek, low-back visual. Additionally, water-jetted aluminum components make up a new lightweight and premium instrument panel, as well as door panels. A repurposed vintage 8-71 supercharger now serves to encase the transmission and transfer case shifters and the floors have been bed-lined for enhanced durability.

      Power is provided to the Jeep M-715 Five-Quarter by a 6.2-liter supercharged “Hellcrate” HEMI® V-8 engine, which produces more than 700 horsepower.

      Jeep J6 
      The Jeep J6 concept is all truck, all the time, mixing the classic Jeep truck styling of the late 1970s with prototype and production Jeep Performance Parts from Mopar.

      The Jeep J6 is a Rubicon customized in a two-door configuration, maximizing cargo space with a large, six-foot functional bed “box” area that is 12 inches longer than the standard Jeep Gladiator bed. Mopar and the Jeep Design team reached back in time for the custom Metallic Brilliant Blue paint, a homage to the exterior look of the 1978 Jeep Honcho. The overall length of the J6 is 201 inches, while the wheelbase clocks in at 118.4 inches, matching the wheelbase of the current-generation Jeep Wrangler 4-door.

      The upsized bed area is guarded by a prototype body-color matching spray-in bedliner. A sturdy, two-and-a-quarter-inch steel prototype sport/roll bar planted in the bed carries a set of four, five-inch Jeep Performance Parts LED lights that shine at 4,800 lumens each. A prototype spare tire carrier stores up to a 37-inch tire.

      Prototype 17-inch beadlock wheels with a “deep dish” design are set off from the Metallic Brilliant Blue exterior with a Brass Monkey finish, encircled by a silver beadlock ring. A production Jeep Performance Parts two-inch lift kit works with aggressive 37-inch tires to add extra trail clearance.

      Additional modifications defend the Jeep J6 against off-road obstacles, including a prototype two-inch steel stinger bar that bolts to the Rubicon front bumper and rock rails customized with two-inch steel tubes welded to the standard Jeep Gladiator rails. The concept hardtop is removable, and classic Jeep J6 badging is swapped in on the tailgate and side fenders.

      The stinger bar acts as a mounting point for four additional five-inch Jeep Performance Parts LED lights, with another two bolted on near the A-pillars, for a total of 10 five-inch LEDs working together to illuminate the trail. The grille is custom Mopar Satin Black, and the stock Jeep Gladiator Rubicon hood is accented with Mopar hood latches featuring the Jeep logo.

      The 3.6-liter engine receives a performance bump through the Jeep Performance Parts cold-air intake.

      Exterior DNA flows into the interior of the Jeep J6. The instrument panel inserts match the body color and Katzkin leather seats and armrests are also accented with body-color blue stitching. The horn pad is customized with a classic Jeep badge. The auxiliary switch bank offers a central operating location for the 10 LED lights, and the trailer brake control switch showcases the ability to tap into additional stopping power when towing. A bright pedal kit, all-weather floor mats and molded doorsill guards with the Jeep logo round out the lineup of Mopar accessories.

      Jeep JT Scrambler 
      The Jeep JT Scrambler concept is a heritage-inspired remix, carrying the throwback color palette and graphics of the iconic CJ Scrambler crossed with a combination of available Jeep Performance Parts and conceptual touches.

      The look of the early 1980s-era CJ8 Scrambler is recreated with prototype Punk’N Metallic Orange and Nacho body-side stripes running from the front panels to the bed and a matching hood graphic. The white exterior is crowned with a freedom top painted in vintage amber, continuing the retro feel.

      The bed area is customized with a spray-in bedliner and a two-inch steel, prototype tube sport/roll bar painted body-color white. This version of the sport/roll bar anchors to the bed and also extends the length of the bed rails on each side, offering a total of eight tie-down points to lock down cargo. Diffused LED task lights mounted to the sport/roll bar are directed to the rear bed, providing illumination in the cargo area.

      Based on the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, the Scrambler pulls liberally from the Mopar brand’s Jeep Performance Parts line, including a set of four five-inch LED lights stationed atop the sport/roll bar and two stationed on the vehicle’s A-pillars. Facing forward on the brush guard up front are a pair of Jeep Performance Parts seven-inch LED lights, pointing the way at 8,000 lumens each.

      The Jeep Performance Parts 17-inch slot wheels are customized in a concept bronze to tie in with the exterior color theme. A two-inch Jeep Performance Parts lift kit helps accommodate large, 37-inch tires and tough Jeep Performance Parts rock rails feature a non-slip grip. The 3.6-liter engine is augmented with a Mopar cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust.

      The Scrambler color theme is followed through on the interior. Katzkin Amaretto Brown leather seats are bordered in orange thread, with the Jeep grille logo embroidered in a light Tungsten on the seatbacks. The dash panel and armrests receive the same Katzkin Amaretto Brown leather treatment with matching orange thread accents. The auxiliary switch bank offers a single location for operating accessories, including the LED lights, and the Mopar bright pedal kit and all-weather floor mats also dress up the interior.

      Jeep Gladiator Gravity 
      The rock-climber-themed Jeep Gladiator Gravity concept is elevated with a full complement of available-at-launch Jeep Performance Parts from Mopar to help equip those who have a desire to reach greater heights.

      The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, colored in attention-grabbing Punk’N Metallic Orange, is a ready-to-order expression of how Jeep Performance Parts can help enhance the all-new pickup’s capability and versatility. In the bed area, mounted Mopar cross rails work in concert with a cargo carrier basket to deliver storage space for rock-climbing gear, such as ropes, carabiners, helmets and shoes. A unique Mopar/Decked truck bed storage system offers additional lockable cargo space through dual sliding drawers, while still allowing for storage on top in the bed area.

      The open-air potential of the Jeep Gladiator — unlike any other offered by a production midsize truck —  is realized through Jeep Performance Parts two-inch round steel tube doors, a mesh sunbonnet that provides cover while keeping the top-down feel, and tie-down straps that secure the windshield when lowered.

      The Jeep Gladiator Gravity is raised with the Jeep Performance Parts two-inch lift kit and runs on 17-inch gear wheels carrying 35-inch tires. Heavy-gauge steel Jeep Performance Parts rock rails are thicker and wider and utilize the same powder-coating on Ram Truck bedliners to provide a non-slip finish. In front of the Mopar satin black grille, Jeep Performance Parts seven-inch LED lights show the way forward, with help from five-inch LED lights on the A-pillars.

      The vehicle is upgraded with a cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust system to enhance horsepower and torque. Inside, the interior is dressed up with Katzkin leather seats featuring the Jeep grille logo embroidered in Tungsten stitching. Additional Mopar accessories include grab handles stamped with the Jeep grille logo, MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) bags for storage and all-weather floor mats with a unique “plug” system that allows for direct draining of water and debris.

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