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Sat, Oct 25, 2014

AUTO CONNECT: 2014 Jeep Compass nice fit to your needs

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AUTO CONNECT: 2014 Jeep Compass nice fit to your needs | jeep compass, 2014, auto connect

The 2014 Jeep Compass. (Photo courtesy of Jeep)

 

If you have a Jeep® craving but don’t want to commit to a hardcore model like the Wrangler or the luxurious Grand Cherokee, the 2014 Jeep Compass may nicely fit your needs.

We recently spent a brief time in the 2014 Jeep Compass and while it’s in a different league than the other Jeeps, it still has a lot of Jeep attributes that may give you just what you are looking for.

First off, the 2014 Jeep Compass has the Jeep look, with the classic Jeep grille, boxy styling and it rides a little higher than the typical car. That ride height is important because it not only provides a little better view over traffic, but the 8.1 inch clearance also help the Compass in deep snow or over off-road obstacles.

We thought the mid-level Latitude model we drove was very nice inside and found the seats to be supportive and comfortable. The controls are attractively displayed, well placed and convenient to use. We especially like the way Chrysler products use controls mounted on the front and back of the wheel that allows for easy operation.  

At 175 inches long, the Compass is about the same length as a Toyota Prius with about the same interior space as a Toyota Camry. Cargo space is 22.7 cubic feet, which holds a lot of lifestyle gear, shopping bags or family stuff. The space expands to 53.6 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down.     

Standard fare under the hood is a 158-hp 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine, but our test vehicle had the optional 172-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine – it’s one of Chrysler’s World Engines, which are used – worldwide. A five speed manual is the standard transmission on the entry-level Sport with a redesigned six-speed automatic transmission as the standard transmission on all other models and optional on the Sport. Optional on all models is Jeep’s new CVT2L (continuously variable transaxle with a low range designed for off road use). With the CVT, the Compass with the larger engine has an EPA rating of 20 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.

The Jeep Compass is a front-wheel drive, but that’s strictly a city Jeep. We think a real Jeep should be four-wheel drive. For that, there are two available four-wheel drive systems, Freedom Drive I and Freedom Drive II with Off Road Package.  The Drive I ($2,000) is a full-time, active four-wheel-drive system with a lock mode designed to give drivers year-round confidence. It handles rough weather and low-traction conditions. Switched to the four-wheel drive lock mode, the Jeep Compass handles deep snow, sand and other low-traction surfaces.

The Jeep Freedom Drive II 4x4 Off-road Package (which is an additional $550 over the Drive I system), earns Jeeps “Trail Rated” capabilities. The Freedom Drive II Off-road Package includes a second-generation continuously variable transaxle with low range that engages when the off-road mode is activated. It also has 17-inch all-terrain tires and aluminum wheels, a one-inch raised ride height, a full-size spare tire, skid plates, tow hooks, fog lamps and manual seat height adjuster. The Freedom Drive II Off-road Package handles steep grades, occasional wheel lift and rock or log climbing – you know, real Jeep stuff.

The 2014 Jeep Compass is offered in five trim levels, the Sport, Altitude, Latitude, High Altitude and the top-level Limited. Prices start as low as $19,490, including the destination charge, for the 4x2 Sport with the manual transmission and steps up to $28,790 for the 4x4 Limited. With all the available options, the Limited pricing peaks at $33,740. Our test vehicle, a 2014 Jeep Compass Latitude 4x4, had the Preferred Package ($495) of convenience features, Freedom Drive II Off-Road Group ($550), Uconnect Voice Command with Bluetooth ($475) and ParkView Rear Back-up Camera with 6.5-inch screen and 40 GB Hard Drive and Remote Start ($795) for a total price of $27,705.

All the Compass models are well equipped and the top models have a good sampling of the convenience features most shoppers are demanding today.

While the Jeep Compass is not at the same level of the Wrangler, new Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, it’s a good product that looks the part, and properly equipped can provide an impressive level of off-road capabilities, which are beyond those of the other big name compact sport utility vehicles.

If you are in the market for a compact SUV, the shopping process should certainly include a stop at the local Jeep dealer.

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