Jeep Compass' Segment-Leading Capability Vs Jeep Patriot's Segment-Leading Capability

Ronnie Schreiber
by Ronnie Schreiber
jeep compass segment leading capability vs jeep patriot s segment leading capability

The decision by former Chrysler design chief Trevor Creed, approved by the company’s product planners and subsequently reaffirmed by Sergio Marchionne and his team of Fiat managers, to produce two compact Jeep SUVs, the Compass and the Patriot, has always confused me. Why spend money developing two different cars based on the same platform for the same market segment? Wouldn’t it make more sense to make one good car instead of two not quite as good cars?

Of course in the corporate mind at Chrysler, the Compass and the Patriot were not really supposed to compete with each other. The Patriot was supposed to be a compact Jeep for traditional Jeep owners, with styling derived from the XJ Cherokee. The Compass was supposed to be the compact Jeep for women people who’d never consider buying a Jeep. It had rounder, softer shapes, and was the first Jeep to be sold that could not be bought in a configuration that would earn it Jeep’s coveted “Trail Rated” branding.

Both Jeeplets have gotten their poorly received original interiors upgraded as Chrysler has renewed its product line coming out of its bankruptcy and just last month at the 2013 NAIAS Chrysler introduced the restyled 2014 Compass, touting it as “the Most Capable Compact SUV” having “Segment-leading capability”. So where does that leave the Patriot? I guess the product planners and marketers in Auburn Hills are slicing the marketing segment salami paper thin because at the same time that Chrysler was publishing the press release about the new Compass, it was also releasing one about the 2014 Jeep Patriot, with “Benchmark Compact-SUV Capability” with “Segment-leading capability”.

Does that mean that the Compass is more “capable” than the Patriot? Is the Patriot the “benchmark” for the Compass? And just which segments are each of them leading. Both cars feature a new six-speed automatic, both cars are now available with Jeep’s Freedom Drive I 4×4 package and both can be equipped in Trail Rated form with Jeep’s Freedom Drive II 4×4 Off-road Package. The Compass’ original raison d’etre was selling Jeeps to people that would never take them off pavement. Now that both cars are equally capable, and segment-leading capable at that, what’s the point of selling both of them? Sergio’s no dummy so selling both cars may make more money than just one of them, but I still can’t help but think what a Patriot with twice the development money behind it would be like.

Ya think there’s some cutting and pasting going on in Auburn Hills?Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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3 of 23 comments
  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Feb 24, 2013

    The Patriot has been pretty decently reviewed since the interior and sound deadening was improved. The Compass was well reviewed for its foul weather capability in a C&D test that pitted it against cars like the AWD Mini. Each has its place. Honestly I'd pick the Patriot for its styling and if I had a capable 4x4 vehicle I'd start looking for places to use it.

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Feb 24, 2013

      Uh-oh. If you had a Ferrari 458 Italia with 562 horsepower, you'd start looking for places to use it too?

  • Webtiger Webtiger on Jul 10, 2013

    As an owner of a 2008 Compass I have to say I liked the idea they had for the car The execution however, was a joke.. It's noisy as hell on the highway, anything above 2500 RPM and it sounds like an angry drunken bee... The interior is like rock .. ugh to the Caliber hard plastic look. Love the seats.. the truly only redeeming quality of the car... It can get decent gas mileage but again, over 2200 RPM and you start a quick loss in MPG's... It does turn on and stop on the proverbial dime but it's not enough for me to keep it beyond next month when I take delivery on my Dart GT. Too bad they put the 6 sp auto in the 2014... 3 years too late IMHO..

  • Tassos I know some would want to own a collectible Mustang. (sure as hell not me. This crappy 'secretary's car' (that was exactly its intended buying demo) was as sophisticated (transl. : CRUDE) as the FLintstone's mobile. Solid Real Axle? Are you effing kidding me?There is a huge number of these around, so they are neither expensive nor valuable.WHen it came out, it was $2,000 or so new. A colleague bought a recent one with the stupid Ecoboost which also promised good fuel economy. He drives a hard bargain and spends time shopping and I remember he paid $37k ( the fool only bought domestic crap, but luckily he is good with his hands and can fix lots of stuff on them).He told me that the alleged fuel economy is obtained only if you drive it like a VERY old lady. WHich defeats the purpose, of course, you might as well buy a used Toyota Yaris (not even a Corolla).
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...
  • Wjtinfwb Looks like Mazda put more effort into sprucing up a moribund product than Chevy did with the soon to be euthanized '24 Camaro.
  • Wjtinfwb I've seen worse on the highways around Atlanta, usually with a refrigerator or washer wedged into the trunk and secured with recycled twine...