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Go In Snow - 2017 Jeep Compass Latitude 4X4 Review By John Heilig

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2017 Jeep Compass Latitude 4X4

ENGINE: 2.4-liter I-4
TRANSMISSION: 9-speed automatic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 180 hp @ 6,400 rpm/175 lb.-ft. @ 3,900 rpm
WHEELBASE: 103.8 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 173.0 x 73.8 x 64.8 in.
TIRES: P225/45R17
CARGO CAPACITY: 27.2/59.8 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
ECONOMY: 22  mpg city/30 mpg highway/25.2 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 13.5 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,327 lbs. #/HP: 18.5
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Ford Escape, Buick Encore, Honda CR-V
STICKER: $32,505 (includes $1,095 delivery, $5,625 options)
BOTTOM LINE: The smallest of the many Jeep models, the Compass still offers legendary Jeep offload capability and Jeep design.

There’s no mistaking the Compass for anything but a Jeep, despite its diminutive size. The classic seven-slot grille is there, with a new interpretation having each of the seven chrome slots set in a gloss black field. And with the flared front and rear fenders and its short size, there’s almost a Coke bottle look to the sides that brought back memories of 1970s-era race cars. Sadly though, the Compass isn’t a race car. The 2.4-liter engine has good power at 180 horses, compared to 160 in the similarly equipped Fiat 500X. In the Fiat the engine was noisy and had a persistent buzziness, while in the Compass it’s relatively quiet. The engine does complain a bit on hard acceleration, and sometimes you have your right foot hard on the floor coming onto a highway and you wonder if you’re going to merge with no problems. We had no problems, but I did look anxiously in the rearview mirror just to be safe.

The engine transmits power to the wheels through a 9-speed automatic transmission, which is a first in the small SUV segment. The tranny was smooth, as one would expect. 

The center console has several features, besides the shifter. There are Selec-Terrain controls, that allow you to set the Compass up for off-roading or on-roading, an electronic parking brake, engine start-stop controls, and climate and volume control knobs. Seles-Terrain provides up to five modes (Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud, plus an exclusive Rock mode on Trailhawk models) for Jeep four-wheel drive performance on any surface in any weather. 

Between the front seats is a small console/arm rest and a pair of cupholders besides all the features mentioned above. There is room for water bottles in all the doors.

I didn’t like the seats in our tester. While they were comfortable and offered some side support for cornering, they were white with black inserts that looked as if there was something on the seat all the time. The rear seats continued this theme. 

There’s good rear seat visibility. There’s a small window behind the C-pillar that from the inside looks like an add-on, but from the outside it breaks up what would be a large flat panel. 

Cargo capacity is good, but I had to lower the rear seat backs to get my golf bag in. There’s a nice rubber mat on the cargo floor that would help protect the floor from any mud that might get tracked in there. In addition, there are small compartments on the sides that are great for objects you don’t want to spill. Additional extras in the cargo bay are four tie-downs, a 12-volt outlet and hooks to handle grocery bags. 

Our tester did not have a power hatch, but it is very well balanced with good struts and raises and lowers easily. Power almost isn’t necessary. 

There is a clear instrument panel in a well-designed dash with soft surfaces. White-on-black dials with an information panel in between give tachometer and speedometer information. There is a clear, 7-inch square infotainment screen in the center of the dash. The screen has a full menu for radio, media, climate, apps, settings, navigation and phone. The infotainment system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

The Jeep Compass is a serious player in the small SUV segment. The fact that it’s a Jeep sets it apart, stressing the Utility part of SUV.

(c) 2017 The Auto Page Syndicate

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