The redesigned 2017 Compass isn’t just catching eyes in the off-road category. Jeep has also dramatically improved the way the Compass handles overall, and it rides exceptionally well on the road now. Car-like steering and brake inputs are a welcoming addition to any compact SUV, and the chassis and suspension are just stiff enough to handle both curves on windy roads, but not so stiff as to impact off-road capability; even on the Sport, Latitude, and Limited trims.
As far as engines go, the Compass has a single engine option regardless of trim level. That engine is a 2.4-liter I4 MultiAir engine that produces 180 horsepower/175 lb.-ft. of torque, and is able to return up to 23 mpg city/32 mpg highway at its possible best. While that type of fuel economy is expected for a compact SUV of this size, it’s still refreshing to see good fuel economy on a vehicle with the Jeep badging. Especially since if you opt for the Trailhawk trim, fuel-efficiency doesn’t suffer as much as you’d think on a vehicle with this kind of off-road capability.
The Sport trim can be paired to either a six-speed manual transmission, or a six-speed automatic transmission, and either FWD or AWD. The Latitude is in the same boat, but no manual transmission is offered for the FWD model; whereas the Limited is only available in AWD with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Same goes for the Trailhawk; nine-speed automatic with AWD only.
New for the second generation Compass model is the Trailhawk trim, which gives the Compass the prestigious Trail Rated Badge, and best-in-class off-road capability.
What does that Trail Rated badge signify? It means that particular Jeep 4×4 model (in this case the Compass) was able to pass a series of grueling off-road tests on some of the toughest trails on the planet. The ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation, water fording capability, and traction of the Compass were put to the test in various trail conditions like mud, rock, snow, and water.
With the second generation Compass getting its Trail Rated badge, every single one of the Jeep Trailhawk models (or Rubicon, in the Wrangler’s case) in the lineup are proven to be perfectly capable of tackling off-road trails; all with stock components.
Imagine what modding one would do to its capability?
Best-In-Class Off-Road Capability
The new Compass was built from the ground up in order to be the most capable compact SUV on the market. It’s been equipped with two 4×4 systems, and is ready to take on off-road trails in any type of environment. Jeep’s Active Drive Low 4×4 system is present, and provides optimum traction through a four-wheel Low mode, rear locker, and a Selec-Terrain system. That Selec-Terrain system has five off-road settings (four on non-Trailhawk trims): Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud, and Rock. With the turn of a dial, you’ll experience optimized off-road performance for whatever condition you’re in. The 4×4 system comes with a 20:1 crawl ratio for steep hills, sharp descents, and when crawling slow (like over rocks) is required. It also comes with two hooks and skid plates, while the four-wheel independent suspension ensures that articulation is at its possible best. Naturally, the Trailhawk trim also has a raise ride height and a trail-friendly fascia that has a better approach angle compared to the standard Compass design, as well as a raised suspension design for a better breakover angle.
Not only is the design itself exceptional, but the redesigned second generation model’s look is unique in the compact segment. This is, of course, thanks to legendary and iconic Jeep styling. On the redesigned Compass, the most noticeable Jeep design clue is the seven-slot grille.
Simply put, the Compass looks like a compacted Grand Cherokee. It has a strikingly similar front-end design, and everything from that seven-slot grille to the headlights are even relatively the same shape. A smart move by Jeep, considering the Grand Cherokee’s design is good-looking, and the vehicle itself has enjoyed significant success in the midsize SUV market. Naturally, it makes sense to replicate that success in the compact market with the 2nd generation Compass by mimicking a similar design.
A big part of that iconic Jeep styling represents the brand’s rugged and adventurous nature. But, is that reputation possible to uphold in the compact SUV segment? Evidently it is, because the new Compass is both sleek and rugged looking. The stance and headlights are both aggressive, and a large front-end makes it look formidable for such a small vehicle. On top of that, the Trailhawk trim gets some tow hooks in the front and back, an even more aggressive stance, and a patch of black on the hood to match the black roof and further enhance the two-tone paint job.
Inside the Compass, you’ll find a surprising amount of space. With a total passenger volume of 126.7 cu. ft. and seating for up to five, you’ll have plenty of room for the whole family in this little SUV. That 126.7 cu. ft. of passenger space is accompanied by 27.2 cu. ft. of cargo capacity behind the second row, extending to 59.8 cu. ft. of cargo capacity when the rear seats are folded down.