Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the 2017 Jeep Compass

by Paul Strauss
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the 2017 Jeep Compasszoom in

Jeep has had two SUVs in the mid-size space for a while now – the Liberty and the Compass. Going forward, the Compass replaces both vehicles, eliminating conflict for buyers torn between these two models. I spent a little time getting to know the new 2017 up close and personal, and while I’ve yet to drive one, it sure looks good. I especially like it equipped with the optional black roof.

While it resembles its bigger brother, the Grand Cherokee on the outside, when it comes to its bones, it shares more than a bit with its smaller brother, the Renegade. Under the hood, the Compass gets the same 180 hp 2.4-liter Tigershark 4-cylinder engine, and sits on a stretched version of the same platform.

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In an era where manufacturers are offering fewer transmissions options, the Cherokee is the only vehicle in recent memory that lets buyers choose from three different gearboxes: a ZF-sourced 9HP48 nine-speed automatic, an Aisin AT6 6-speed automatic, and a C635 6-speed manual. The manual comes standard on Sport 4×2, 4×4, and Latitude 4×4 trims, while the 6-speed automatic is standard on the Latitude 4×2 and optional on the Sport 4×2. The 9-speed is standard on the Trailhawk and Limited (both 4×4), and is an option for the Sport and Latitude 4x4s.

There are minimal variations in fuel economy across the gearboxes, and you can expect roughly 22 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined.

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There are four trim levels available, including an entry level Sport, midgrade Latitude, stylish and upscale Limited, and the rugged and off-road ready Trailhawk. The Compass can be had in both FWD and AWD variants, with the AWD model available with Jeep Active Drive, and Active Drive Low coming standard on the Trailhawk edition. This provides drivers with specialized drive modes for handling a variety of terrain types – the Trailhawk gaining a unique mode for rock crawling. Depending on the model you get, wheel sizes range from 16″ up to 19″.

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Like all Jeep SUVs, you’ll get good ground clearance, with 7.8″ on the 4×2, 8.2″ on the 4×4, and 8.5″ on the Trailhawk.That model also gets an excellent 30.3º approach angle, a 24.4º breakover angle, a departure angle of 33.6º, and can ford up to 19″ of water.

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The 2017 Compass measures in at 173″ long and have a 103.8 wheelbase, which is roughly the same as the previous model. However, the latest model is wider than its predecessor, which not only gives it more presence on the road, it’s got more shoulder room for occupants. It lost about an inch of headroom, but I didn’t miss it when I sat inside.

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All models come with FCA’s Uconnect system, in 7.0, 8.4, or 8.4″ with navigation variants. This latest version offers support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 9-speaker BeatsAudio system is optional. Jeep is also offering up a plethora of safety and security features, including forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection, and more.

Cargo space is an impressive 27.2 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 59.6 cubic feet with the 60/40 split-folding seats down. Both figures are significantly up from last year’s model. You can tow with the AWD Compass too, but only up to 2,000 pounds, so a pair of jet skis and a small trailer is the most I’d try with it.

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Base price for the Compass Sport FWD is $20,995, for the Sport 4×4, it’s $22,495. The Latitude starts at $24,295 with either drivetrain, the Trailhawk 4×4 starts at $28,595, and the Limited 4×4 starts at $28,995. Those prices are before the $1,095 destination fee.

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Given just how hot the crossover and 5-seat SUV market is these days, and how refined and put-together the new Compass looks, I have no doubt that Jeep will sell a ton of these.

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