The 2017 Compass clarifies the Jeep compact SUV lineup because it's essentially replacing three vehicles — the outgoing Compass, Patriot, and Liberty — but it accomplishes another important feat. With a look that aligns with Jeep's Grand Cherokee, the appealing design should provide insurance companies and other branded fleets an opportunity to represent a stout corporate image.
The 2017 Compass slots between the Renegade and Cherokee in the Jeep lineup and will do battle in the burgeoning smaller compact SUV niche that includes Honda's HR-V, Toyota's CR-V, and Nissan's 2017 Rogue Sport. The Compass comes in at 175.1 inches in total length.
The Compass is available in three trims — Sport, Latitute, and Limited — with a single engine, the 2.4-liter inline-4 MultiAir that can be paired with three transmission options. The base front-wheel Compass gets a six-speed and starts at $20,995. The four-wheel Compass that starts at $24,495 offers a manual. A six-speed automatic or nine-speed automatic would add $1,500.
We tested the Compass Limited 4x4 with a base price of $28,995 and the nine-speed, which provided smooth shifts in city driving even if acceleration was a bit sluggish. The Compass provides a more rugged ride that's familiar if you've driven Jeeps, but it offers more refinement that some of the brand's trail-monster vehicles.
That's not to suggest that the 2017 Compass doesn't have off-road chops, if you need it. A five-mode Selec-Terrain system is standard on Limited. A Trailhawk model provides 8.5 inches of clearance and skid plates.
For cargo needs, the Compass provides 22.7 cubic feet with the second row up and between 53.6 to 62.7 cubic feet with the seats folded down. The Compass can seat five with the driver relatively comfortably.
FCA's standard Uconnect system is onboard with an available 8.4-inch display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included with the larger screen.
FCA will offer a $500 fleet incentive with the 2017 Compass.