By on December 9, 2010

The Compass has long been Jeep’s answer to the Cadillac Cimarron, failing to live up to the brand’s ideals while simultaneously cannibalizing its platform-mate(s). But apparently the refreshed anti-Jeep is about to get a dose of Jeep’s signature marketing: Trail-Rated status. According to the rarely-wrong-about-these-kinds-of-things Allpar.com

the 2011 Jeep Compass with Freedom Drive II will be Trail-Rated, the first time a Compass has achieved that designation. To accomplish this, the Compass moved the rebound springs to the same architecture as the Grand Cherokee, and raised the height by one inch for models with Freedom Drive II.

And if a Patriot can be “Trail-Rated,” why not a Compass? On second thought, why invest in a new Compass at all, Trail-Rated or not? Either way, we’re tits-deep in irony considering Dodge’s Ralph Gilles recently “revealed” that Dodge’s outgoing models all rode higher than the competition, and that

Lowering the car looks better. It looks a little bit smarter. It handles better. And more important is the fuel economy

Or, as Ripley doubtless said with his dying breath, not.

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40 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Trail-Rated Edition...”


  • avatar
    blue adidas

    Oh Jeep. What happened to you? Just stop building this. Please. It’s an embarrassment.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    Maybe sub-consciously the designers wanted kill it, that is why it is so ugly! 

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    What’s wrong with this picture?  Well, uh, everything.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Hmm, which small CUV  will it be, a Subaru Forester or a Jeep Compass?

  • avatar

    The Compass never made any sense. The money spent on it would be better spent on its Patriot and Caliber siblings. If a Compass is Trail Rated, why sell the Patriot?

    • 0 avatar
      cmoibenlepro

      “why sell the Patriot?”
      Because at least the Patriot isn’t an eye sore.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Ronnie, it’s very simple, for I remember when the Patriot/Compass twins came out: the Patriot is for the guys and the Compass is for the gals. At least that’s what I read somewhere.

    • 0 avatar

      Zackman, then paint the Compass Mary Kay Pink. It’s already selling as poorly as those pastel colored toy trains that the Lionel Co. tried to sell girls back in the 1950s. Unlike those pink trains I don’t think anyone is going to be collecting Jeep Compasses 50 years hence.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Ronnie -
      I’m with you.  The Patriot and Compass are on the same platform, with the same engine options, and about the same size, why do you need both?
       
      The only Jeeps worth buying are the Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee anyway.  The Compass is a Caliber in drag, the Patriot is underpowered, and the Liberty has horrible interior dimensions, I can’t see how anyone feels comfortable in the driver’s seat given how much the transmission tunnel intrudes.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Not much love for the oddball Compass. I get to be contrarian again and admit that I like the little bugger, but I would not be a typical Jeep customer. I like the idea of a runabout wagon with four doors and a hatch. Should be a good alternative to the PT and HHR wagons, and probably a couple of others I’m not thinking of right now. I never go off roading, and the trail rated stuff does not appeal to me. But I agree with others here, I don’t know why this is in the Jeep line up, either. This facelift isn’t really doing much for me either.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      True Zackman they did focus groups on both the Patriot and Compass. The Patriot did better with men, the Compass with women. Some wisenheimer at Chrysler said let’s buld both.

    • 0 avatar

      Some wisenheimer at Chrysler said let’s build both.
      Said weisenheimer would be one Trevor Creed, and proud he was of his decision. In my opinion, Creed has never gotten sufficient blame for Chrysler’s inept performance, product wise, in the 2 or 3 years before their bankruptcy.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Ouch! Ronnie, I’m not endorsing the Compass, I’m just contributing what I remember reading about the Compass/Patriot twins!

      Additionally, I remember the pink Lionel train sets. Sadly, what I see in pink marketed to women now are firearms. Pretty sad if you ask me.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      I myself gave Creed sufficient blame. I celebrated when he left the company.

  • avatar

    Continuing with Chrysler’s current rejuvenation theme, it’s far better than it used to be… though still not great.

    Judging by those photos, the Compass does look far better than, say, a Juke. Of course, what’s under the skin is better on the Nissan.

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    Jeep could save many millions by just putting the cheesy “Trail-Rated” oval badge thingy on their vehicles w/out the pricey mechanicals and the vast majority of buyers would never know the difference.  While Jeeps might be designed for off-road duty, the vast majority of them serve as mall transportation for securi-moms…
     
    O/T:  CHRYSLER, PLEASE STOP WHORING OUT PATRIOTISM TO SELL VEHICLES.  “Freedom Drive II?”  Pfff…what a pathetic joke.  If you’re going to do that, you should have to include a weathered American flag and sun-faded flag stickers w/every vehicle you sell.  Stop it already!

  • avatar
    Stingray

    The previous one looked better. That said I liked it. Its size is ideal for a dad, mom and baby family.
     
    Anyway, where I’m heading, it’s not for sale anymore. It will be Patriot time.

  • avatar

    I hope it’s a success and prompts more manufacturers to adopt the 0-th gear or whatever other means to give me 1:25 overall ratio. I seriously considered Patriot, just didn’t want to risk the platform with poor reputation.

  • avatar

    I would suggest a first gen Liberty any day over this Compass. Maybe they should have kept it around.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

       
      Other than maybe a Wrangler, nothing in the Jeep lineup interests me at all anymore.  My experiences with my Grand Cherokee have ruint me on ever wanting another of those, and after the XJ went away, the Liberty/Patriot/Compass just seem like cheap junk to me.  I do miss my XJ with the 4.0 and a 5 speed.  It was a great vehicle for its time.

    • 0 avatar

      I like the 2nd gen way more than the 1st, because it’s mechanically improved in a significant degree. The rear axle configuration with the giant A-arm on top was an interesting engineering solution, but it wasted a lot of space. The switch to the usual 5-link allows to put a gas tank there, for added crash safety. In front, they flipped the ball joints over to reduce the separation risk. We can debate the transfer case, but it is not awful. The engine is ok, I guess. It’s time-tested if nothing else, and in any case it’s an exact carry-over from 1G.

  • avatar

    The Patriot is still one of my favorites, although I won’t buy one anymore unless they improve the mpg or improve the drivetrain.
     
    I can see Jeep selling the Patriot with the CVT and selling the Compass with the Fiat dry clutch as a luxury option, since they’re using the thing as a lux option on the 200 as well. Thing is, I would buy a Patriot with the Fiat drive clutch and a vastly improved, more powerful engine, but put that same tranny in the Compass and it would offend me.
     
    I think Patriot and Compass in the same price and features class is silly. I think, though, that trying to sell the Compass as the higher-priced vehicle (which Jeep is trying to do) is completely insane. It’s better than it was but the side profile is still off-putting, and it’s still less desireable than a Patriot and several magnitudes less likeable than a Grand Cherokee.
     
    Again, until they put the dry-clutch manual in the Patriot, I’ll pass. Hell, I’d prefer the upcoming Panda Cross in Jeep drag to the Patriot if it got better mileage, and judging by the videos I’ve seen it’ll do similarly off-road anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Lud; I owned a 1992 YJ Wrangler with the 4.0L 5 speed. In younger days I and my friends enjoyed Jeeps in the CJ guise and I owned a 1968 Jeepster. My ’92 YJ really soured me on Jeep for a few reasons: The internal hydraulic cluth where you had to pull back the entire transmission to change the “doughnut” and the Peugeot transmission itself, which didn’t like the driver trying to shift into 2nd gear. Aside from that, at least it never rusted, which you couldn’t say in the case of the CJ’s.

  • avatar
    windswords

    You can “trail rate” anything, given enough resources. I could trail rate a VW Beetle at a good customizing shop. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Ha! I’ve actually seen those. Pretty funny and awesome, too, but they do get the job done. I especially liked the V-Dub Beetle in high school back in the 60′s where someone installed a 396 Chevy and he had to drive it from the back seat! True! It didn’t last long, though. I wonder why?

  • avatar
    dswilly

    The whole “trail rated” thing is really gay

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    I have driven a Compass, and it’s not even road rated, let alone trail rated. What a POS!

  • avatar
    segfault

    I think it would be more patriotic if they offered the Patriot with both Freedom Drive and Freedom Fries.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    So the car no one wanted because it was a car no one should want, has been redesigned in order to look like their flagship model. Could you come up with a worse way to lessen the credibility of the flagship?

    Jeep was thinking about moving the Compass up, but isn’t realizing that with this move, they are moving the Grand Cherokee DOWN.

    One of the most important features on the new Grand Cherokee is it’s redesigned front end. A lot has been put into this redesign. Taking a losermobile like the Compass and putting a similar front end only mocks the new front end of the Grand Cherokee. What does Jeep want to sell more of? Grand Cherokees or Compasses?

    This is a lousy car and putting the flagship’s front end styling on it, doesn’t make it less of a lousy car. But it does make the flagship appear lousier and less important.

    Stupid! Stupid!

  • avatar
    iNeon

    This thing is so durn cute. I see one replacing my PT wagon some day, in about 100,000 miles.
     
    Remember: It’s still available with 3 pedals.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    You know, after re-reading the article and looking over the pictures again, I see ONE redeeming quality for the Compass: Chrysler put the model name, “Compass” on the side of the vehicle like all autos used to have. At least you don’t have to fall behind one to see what kind of car it was as displayed on the tailgate or trunk!

    OK, OK, so I’m fishing for something positive, but this has been a fun string of comments and it’s Friday!

  • avatar
    rudiger

    I suspect the objective of the whole Compass concept was to lure consumers who were shopping a RAV4 and/or CR-V, but could be taken in by the Jeep brand name.

    By extension, Chrysler came up with the ‘Trail Rated’ gimmick on a non-BOF Jeep Compass. Soon enough, there will be feature comparison ads with a ‘Trail Rated’ line with a big ‘YES’ in the Compass column and a ‘NO’ in the RAV4 and CR-V columns.

    Not that ‘Trail Rated’ meant all that much, anyway, but it definitely takes it down a notch when the moniker gets slapped on a unibody construction vehicle, regardless of how much Chrysler has ‘beefed up’ the suspension. Frankly, just raising the ride height by an inch wouldn’t seem like enough.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Even worse is how Chrysler expects this ugly duckling with a Patriot front end grafted to a RAV4 with the same lackluster outgoing powertrain and a gasp….4600 price increase will fare begs the question “what the frig were they thinking” edition!

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      No problem on the sticker-shock $4600 price increase. I’m sure Chrysler already has the plans in place to immediately slap $3000 on the hood of the brand-new, redesigned Compass (and they’ll still make $1600 more than the old one).

      Trouble is, most consumers have long ago gotten wise to the big rebate gimmick that, unlike Toyota and Honda that rarely do rebates at that level, causes big drops in resale value. Chrysler will get few takers.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    “Lowering the car looks better. It looks a little bit smarter. It handles better. And more important is the fuel economy.”

    Does Ralph get paid to say nonsense like this?  If so, it’s all good…


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