2016 Jeep Compass 4×4 Automatic Review

Posted on Jeep

The 2016 Jeep Compass is a relic from another era. Introduced nearly a decade ago, the Compass—and its blockier Patriot twin—precede both Chrysler’s bankruptcy and its subsequent tie-up with Fiat. The compact crossover is a stark reminder of how far Chrysler and Jeep have come, especially when compared with the similarly sized (and priced), Fiat-era Jeep Renegade and Jeep Cherokee with which it shares the showroom floor.

Despite the Compass’s clear inferiority, though, consumers continue purchasing the small SUV. Through the first half of 2016, sales are up 80 percent year-over-year, with Jeep moving nearly as many Compasses as it did Renegades. Steep discounts are likely fueling this craze.

Of course, the Compass isn’t entirely bad. For instance, the chassis—after years of incremental improvements—now is fairly refined. In fact, not a single squeak or rattle was heard from the Compass’s low-rent, hard-plastic interior during its entire stay with us. This is especially impressive given that the little Jeep’s ride is as supple as a mule stumbling down the Grand Canyon.

The Compass doesn’t look half-bad, either. Our test vehicle was dipped in Recon Green paint and adorned with 75th Anniversary Edition–specific bronze-colored 18-inch wheels, roof rails, tow hooks, badging, and miscellaneous trim. By opting for the celebratory model, buyers also get toys such as a power sunroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and remote start. The package also requires the Power Value Group, which adds automatic headlamps, body-color door handles, and a handful of other items. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic is the sole powertrain choice in the 75th Anniversary Edition, and our test vehicle routed its torque through Jeep’s light-duty Freedom Drive I all-wheel-drive system. (Front-wheel drive is standard.) A more off-road-ready Freedom Drive II system with low range that’s paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is also available on the Compass, but not on the 75th Anniversary Edition—a strange omission given Jeep’s off-road history. A less powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is standard on front-wheel-drive, non–Anniversary Edition models. Complete review on www.caranddriver.com, by Alex Conley

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