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Vehicle Overview Automakers typically take one of two approaches when it comes to the final model year of a vehicle before it is completely overhauled. Some introduce new trims that combine popular high-end features at a lower price to provide a good value proposition. Others simply release the previous year's model with no changes and focus attention on the future car. The 2017 Jeep Compass follows that second line of thought. With the successor to the Compass andJeep Patriot expected to goon sale in early 2017, the current Compass soldiers on with no changes.
A change can't come soon enough because the Compass is mostly inferior to its rivals. It feels old in more ways than one, partially because of the aging platform that it shares with long-dead vehicles such as the Dodge Caliber and Chrysler Sebring. The cabin isn't as nice as many competitors, the touchscreen interface is woefully out-of-date, and there's an abundance of tire and wind noise at highway speeds. Add to that unimpressive EPA fuel economy estimates and a lack of high-tech entertainment or safety features, and the Compass is a difficult vehicle to recommend even half-heartedly.
It's true that the Compass isn't completely without merit. Its Grand Cherokee-lite styling still looks pretty good to our eyes, and this is one of the few compact SUVs offering a modicum of off-road ability. But these strengths are greatly outweighed by the drawbacks, and informed buyers will want to consider alternative compact SUVs. If you want to keep it in the family, the Jeep Cherokee and smaller Jeep Renegade are much more modern and still quite capable when pavement turns to dirt. Other highly rated small crossovers include the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester.
Performance and MPG The 2017 Compass' base engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 158 horsepower and 141 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the 2.0-liter Sport, while the 2.0-liter Latitude comes with a CVT that acts like a traditional automatic. Front-wheel drive is mandatory with the base engine.
Optional on front-wheel-drive models and standard with all-wheel drive is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 172 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque. The five-speed manual is once again offered on the Sport, but otherwise a six-speed automatic handles the shifting — unless you specify Freedom Drive II, which substitutes a CVT with a crawl mode that simulates a 4x4 vehicle's low-range gearing.
Fuel economy varies depending on which powertrain setup you get. None are all that fuel-efficient, though. For example, you're looking at 24 mpg combined (22 city/26 highway) with the 2.0-liter engine and the CVT or 23 mpg combined with the bigger 2.4-liter engine and front-drive and six-speed automatic. That drops to 21 mpg when you get the Freedom Drive II's CVT.
In Edmunds testing, an all-wheel-drive Compass with the 2.4-liter engine and six-speed automatic went from zero to 60 mph in 9.4 seconds, a slower-than-average time for this class.
Properly equipped, a Compass can tow up to 2,000 pounds.
Safety Standard safety features for all Jeep Compass models include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Front-wheel-drive models feature inferior rear drum brakes, while all-wheel-drive models get disc brakes front and rear.
In Edmunds brake testing, an all-wheel-drive Compass came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, which is an average stopping distance for this class of vehicle.
In government crash testing, the Jeep Compass received a somewhat alarming three stars out of a possible five for front-impact crash safety.
Additional Information If versatility in your compact sport-utility vehicle is an important consideration, the redesigned 2017 Jeep Compass deserves strong consideration. With an entirely new exterior and interior design, as well as a simplified lineup, the new Compass is loosely based on the smaller Jeep Renegade, but with styling inspirations from the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee. Note that Jeep is selling two Compass versions for 2017. The previous-generation model is also available. It's not as refined or appealing, but pricing is typically less to compensate.
The new Compass features segment-competitive interior volume and an efficient four-cylinder engine. With four available trim levels, the Compass can suit both city dwellers and those looking to take the less traveled path.
The Sport and Latitude variants can be had in either front- or all-wheel-drive versions. The Trailhawk and Limited are only available with all-wheel drive. For the Sport buyer, you'll only have a few options to worry about; the Cold Weather package, a Sport Appearance package and a Tech Group package that includes rear park sensors and satellite radio.
With a larger amount of available options — including navigation, forward collision warning and blind-spot monitoring — the Latitude is likely to be the most relevant to most buyers. Although it comes with the same 5-inch Uconnect system as the Sport, the Latitude benefits from an optional 8.5-inch unit with built-in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. You can also get xenon headlights, a tow package and panoramic sunroof.
The remaining trims, the Limited and Trailhawk, are only available with all-wheel drive. It's easy to determine which is the right model for you. If you need genuine off-road capability, it's the Trailhawk you'll want to buy; otherwise, the Limited will be right for you. Featuring underbody protection, a raised suspension and an enhanced four-wheel-drive system, the Trailhawk is surprisingly capable when the trail gets rough. Meanwhile, with standard leather seating surfaces, upgraded interior accents, power front seats and 18-inch wheels, the Limited is definitely aimed at the road-going buyer wanting the most convenience and luxury-oriented features. Whether the street or the trail is your preferred path of choice, use Edmunds to help you find the perfect 2017 Jeep Compass.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.