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Jeep Compass

Awaiting complete replacement.

It’s likely 2013 will be the last year for the current Jeep Compass, as an all-new vehicle based on a Fiat crossover is slated to replace it during the next year. The Compass debuted in 2006 and soldiered on largely unchanged until the 2011 model year. Although there were some significant improvements in the vehicle’s design, the mechanical underpinnings of the Compass left a lot to be desired. Jeep offers a variety of drivetrain options ranging from a fuel-efficient 2.0-liter four-cylinder that gets 30 mpg highway to a more powerful 2.4-liter four that can be paired with the rugged Freedom Drive II four-wheel-drive system and an off-road package that transforms the Compass into a surprisingly capable off-road machine. Neither engine is very refined, but they provide adequate power and reasonable fuel economy. In the end, the Compass is best suited to around-town driving and off-road excursions that are more focused on casual sightseeing than technical challenges. The Compass will be remembered for trying to stretch the Jeep brand a little too far, and it isn’t long for this world. Even Brian Nathan, chief engineer for the Compass and the Patriot, admits, “The vehicle’s life cycle is very short at this stage.” If you absolutely need a small Jeep today, the Compass will do, but smart shoppers should wait to see what the next year holds.

COMPETITORS

Kia Sportage

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Suzuki SX4

new for 2013

Two new exterior colors are available: winter chill and black forest green. Compasses equipped with the 2.0-liter in-line four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission are now rated at 30 mpg on the highway.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front and side curtain air bags; front active head restraints; ABS; stability control; and roll mitigation are standard. Side air bags, hill-descent control, and hill-start assist are optional.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 20–23

HWY 23–30

PRO

Looks upscale

Surprisingly nice interior

CON

Unrefined engines

Least credible Jeep

Base Price Range: $20,320–$27,070

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel, 4-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: Sport 4x2, Sport 4x4, Latitude 4x2, Latitude 4x4, Limited 4x2, Limited 4x4

BODY STYLE: SUV/crossover, 5-passenger

ENGINES: 2.0L I-4, 158 hp, 141 lb-ft

2.4L I-4, 172 hp, 165 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 5-speed manual, continuously variable

PASSENGER VOLUME: 101.3 cu ft

CAPACITIES: Towing 1000–2000 lb; cargo space (rear seats up/down) 22.7/53.6 cu ft

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