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2020 Jeep Compass Review By Larry Nutson


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2020 Jeep Compass Review

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

With so many new models coming to market each year it’s tough for me to get to drive them all. My last Jeep Compass drive was in the newly revamped 2017 model. I recently had the chance to again get behind the wheel of a Compass to check out the latest updates since then.

Overall Jeep sales have been hot and the brand has been quite popular around the world. No doubt the Covid-19 pandemic has put a dent in all that, but for the first half of this year Jeep sales are not down as much compared to other brands.


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For 2020, the Jeep Compass lineup consists of four models: Sport (4x2 and 4x4), Latitude (4x2 and 4x4), Limited (4x2 and 4x4) and Trailhawk (4x4 only). Of note, 4x2 models are front-wheel drive.

There’s an Altitude Appearance Package available on Latitude and a High Altitude Appearance Package available on Limited.

New for 2020 are:
Velvet Red Pearl Coat exterior paint color
New Alpine premium speakers optional on Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk models
Safety and Security Group (Gloss Black exterior mirrors, Blind-spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path detection, ParkSense rear park assist system, rain-sensing windshield wipers and vehicle theft security alarm) now optional on Sport model
Advanced Safety Group (leather steering wheel, Forward Collision Warning-Plus, Lane Departure Warning-Plus, auto high-beam headlamps, adaptive cruise control, Advanced Brake Assist, auto-dimming rearview mirror) now optional on Sport model
New Luxury Seat Group (power passenger seat, memory driver seat and ventilated front seats) optional on Limited, High Altitude and Trailhawk models

All Compass models are powered by a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. Three transmissions are offered depending on model: a nine-speed automatic transmission for 4x4 models, a six-speed automatic transmission for 4x2 models or a six-speed manual transmission for 4x2 and 4x4 models.

EPA fuel economy ratings are in the range of 22-23 city mpg and 30-32 highway mpg, varying by model.


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For my reacquaintance with the Compass I drove the top-line Trailhawk 4x4 with a base price of $29,675. A number of options brought the price to $38,430, including the $1,495 destination charge.

Compass pricing starts at $22,280. With the four models Jeep offers a broad selection of options that allow for personalization for every customer to equip his or her Compass exactly as they want for urban or suburban living or true outdoors adventure and off-road trail riding.

The Compass is built on FCA’s small-wide 4x4 architecture featuring four-wheel independent suspension with up to 8.2 inches of wheel articulation and 8.5 inches of ground clearance.

Around my Chicago home the Compass performs quite nicely and easily handles city streets. Its compact exterior dimensions make for easy maneuvering. There’s plenty of room in the rear cargo area for all your household needs. And, surprisingly for a trail ready vehicle, the Compass has great ride quality around town. Compass could use a bit more performance from under the hood. Acceleration is a bit slow as is mid-range passing ability.


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The UConnect infotainment touch screen is easy to use and quite intuitive. The Uconnect system is one of the best in the business.

In spite of the somewhat thick roof pillars that are needed for safety and roof structure integrity the rearview camera, rear park assist, and blind spot monitoring all help deliver confident maneuvering and parking. Today’s tech gives us both very safe vehicles and good awareness of surroundings.

I’ve had the opportunity to drive the Compass on the off-road trails at FCA’s Chelsea, Michigan Proving Grounds. The high ground clearance and large wheel articulation enables the Compass to easily traverse the toughest of trails. The Trailhawk model has increased ride height, greater angles of approach, breakover and departure and can ford water up to 19 inches deep.

Selec-Terrain provides up to five modes for the best four-wheel drive performance. Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud are on all 4x4s with a Rock mode added on the Trailhawk. The Compass is a true Jeep with plenty of off-road ability that exceeds that of competitors from other brands.


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My brother- and sister-in-law are a two Jeep family. He has a Cherokee and she a Compass Limited. S-I-L recently downsized from a Grand Cherokee, no longer needing the larger space it provided. She’s quite happy with the Compass in her suburban living with comfort and space that meets her needs. She misses not having a power liftgate and rear-park assist system, two available features that were not equipped on the Compass she bought but which she had become accustomed to on her Grand Cherokee.

More info and details on the 2020 Jeep Compass can be found at www.jeep.com. FCA’s Mopar accessory program offers a wide range of items that allow even further customization.


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Jeep now offers online shopping through the company’s new Online Retailing Experience (ORE). ORE is accessible through the Jeep website, participating dealer sites and a variety of social media applications. Customers simply click on the link to begin the process. About 20 percent of new sales leads now come from online retailing compared with about 1 percent a year earlier.

Trend data says online shopping, at-home test drives and completing the purchase will be a new practice emerging from Covid-19.

© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy