2007 Jeep Compass: Long-Distance Driving
September 18, 2007
I've put about 1,250 miles on our long-term 2007 Jeep Compass in the past two weeks, most of consisting of highway miles amassed during four-hour, one-way trips. For a vehicle to be a successful long-distance tourer in my opinion, it must rank high in terms of comfort, amenities, storage, passing power, quietness and range. Here's how I think the Compass stacks up.
Comfort: On the highway, the Compass is fairly comfortable. When driven over broken pavement, however, the vehicle's body structure shakes and doesn't provide a sense of solidity. Driver comfort is hampered by the lack of a telescoping steering wheel, a severe lack of padding on the armrests and center console lid, and an uncomfortable doughnut-style headrest.
Amenities: The optional Rockford Fosgate sound system is pretty good in terms of sound quality. It has an auxiliary audio jack and comes with satellite radio. Jeep offers an optional trip computer and compass, but our test vehicle doesn't have these features.
Storage: The bin above the smallish glove box is surprisingly useful, and center console storage will take care of the typical MP3 player/cell phone detritus. The rear seats fold flat, as expected. Total available cargo space is 53.6 cubic feet, fewer than what you'll get from just about any other small/midsize SUV.
Passing Power: The Compass' tardiness has been documented before. (Our 0-60 mph test resulted in a pokey 10.6 seconds.) On the highway, planting the throttle results in the CVT moving to engine redline; a noisy racket ensues. I do like the programming of the CVT in terms of hills and grades; the transmission responds well to throttle inputs and almost always selects the appropriate ratio.
Quietness: Above-average amounts of wind and road noise can make the Compass wearing on long-distance drives. On our car, there's a noticeable wind leak coming from one of the rear windows at speeds above 70 mph.
Range: On our fuel log, we've exceeded 300 miles on a tank of gas just once. And that was done by me this weekend after driving for an extended period with the fuel light on. The fuel tank holds 13.6 gallons. Revised EPA fuel economy for this vehicle is a combined average of 22 mpg.
Sum-up: I wasn't really feeling a whole lot of love for our Jeep Compass the past two weeks. Around town, its faults are less noticeable. But next time I have a lot of long-distance driving to do, I'm navigating well clear of our long-term Jeep Compass.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor, 10,920 miles