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  • 2017 Jeep Compass Limited 4X4

    Posted on August 4th, 2017 ninarussin

    Compact crossover with off-road capability

    By Nina Russin

    2017 Jeep Compass Limited

    2017 Jeep Compass Limited

    For 2017, Jeep replaces the now defunct Patriot with an all-new Compass: combining the former model’s off-road capability with a more car-like appearance, ride and handling. In terms of size, the Compass sits between the smaller Jeep Renegade and larger Cherokee. Whereas Renegade styling veers more toward the Wrangler, the Compass bears greater similarity to the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, with more rounded lines on the outside and a plush interior.

    The North American version is available exclusively with Jeep’s 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine (diesel is available in other global markets). Buyers who opt for the off-road capable 4X4 model can choose between a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmission.

    The Limited is the most upscale trim level, appealing to buyers who want a premium feel and don’t need the expanded off-road capabilities of the Trailhawk version. Base MSRP is $28,995 excluding the $1095 destination charge.

    Options on the test car include two safety packages that add Xenon headlamps, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, brake assist, blind spot monitoring, rear part assist and rain sensitive wipers, navigation, Sirius XM Travel Link, a power liftgate, compact spare tire, nineteen-inch rims and all-season tires. Final MSRP is $34,260.

    Test drive in Phoenix, Arizona

    2017 Jeep Compass Limited

    2017 Jeep Compass Limited

    This week I had the opportunity to drive the Compass around Phoenix, Arizona’s east valley as well as sections of the Gila River Indian Community southeast of town. Weather was a mixed bag of heat, humidity and seasonal monsoons.

    What the Compass excels at is design and off-road capability. It’s a beautiful car inside and out: aerodynamic, ergonomic and upscale. Off-road the Trailhawk version delivers more capability that I imagined it could. Rock piles, steep grades and bouldering on two wheels are all in a day’s work.

    The 2.4-liter engine is the same block Jeep uses in the smaller Renegade. While it works well for the Renegade, it’s a bit anemic in the Compass, especially when paired with the nine-speed automatic transmission.

    2017 Jeep Compass Limited

    2017 Jeep Compass Limited

    This isn’t to say that the engine can’t keep up with traffic, but it lacks the low-end power of some turbocharged competitors. For those willing to press a clutch, the easy fix is to order the six-speed manual gearbox that enables the driver to boost the revs and keep the engine in its maximum power band.

    The MacPherson strut front and Chapman strut rear suspension delivers a comfortable but not overly soft ride. Stabilizer bars on both axles keep the chassis flat in the corners.

    An electric power steering system provides plenty of assist on the low end for maneuverability. A 36.3-foot turning diameter makes the Compass easy to park, either on or off the street. On-center response is a bit soft, but drivers should not feel disconnected from the wheels. Ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes stop the car in firm, linear fashion.

    2017 Jeep Compass Limited

    2017 Jeep Compass Limited

    Visibility around the perimeter is good. A standard rearview camera projects a wide-angle view to the back of the vehicle when the driver shifts into reverse, eliminating blind spots under the rear glass and around the D pillars. The optional blind spot monitoring system illuminates LED signals in the side mirrors when vehicles in adjacent lanes pass through the driver’s blind spots. I did notice several false alerts when idling at a stop where two adjacent vehicles were turning in the same direction.

    Engineers did a good job of minimizing noise intrusion to the interior, enabling occupants in both rows to converse or enjoy the audio system.

    Stylish interior

    Jeep Compass Interior

    Jeep Compass Interior

    Designers did an outstanding job on the Compass interior, giving it a premium appearance typical of much more expensive vehicles. Keyless entry and start standard on the test car save the driver from fumbling for the key fob after dark.

    I found power driver’s seat adjustments easy to use with ample lower lumbar support. Infotainment controls are easy to reach from either front seating position and intuitive to operate.

    The air conditioner had a hard time keeping up with the Southwestern summer heat. On a particularly warm afternoon, I had to use both the recirculate button and keep the fan cranked on the highest setting. Having not discussed this with the engineers, I would imagine the compressor is on the small side, in-order-to reduce drain on the car’s four-cylinder engine.

    A power liftgate makes it easier to load large items into the back of the vehicle. With the rear seats folded flat, the Compass is bicycle friendly. Roof rails come on the test car, so owners can add a rack or carrier up top. Due to the vehicle’s high profile, cyclists will likely prefer a rear-mounted hitch rack.

    Standard safety

    The Jeep Compass Limited comes with seven airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, electronic parking brake, hill start assist, hill descent control, rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring and trailer sway control.

    Jeep builds the Compass at its Toluca, Mexico assembly plant.

    Like: A beautifully styled compact crossover the exceptional off-road capability.

    Dislike: Engine lacks low-end power. Air conditioning cannot effectively cool the interior in extreme heat.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Jeep
    Model: Compass Limited 4X4
    Year: 2017
    Base price: $28,995
    As tested: 34,280
    Horsepower: 180 HP @ 6400 rpm
    Torque: 174 lbs.-ft. @ 3900 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: N/A
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Off-road: Yes
    Towing: No
    Fuel economy: 22/30 mpg city/highway

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