By on November 17, 2016

2017 Jeep Compass

Our esteemed Managing Editor doesn’t exactly hand out Lifetime Achievement Awards like Tic-Tacs, so when he does, we know he’s serious. The previous generation Compass was widely (and rightfully) derided for its faux-off-road pretensions and Playskool interior. It wasn’t just TTAC who knocked the thing in recent years; buff books piled on, too.

For FCA, the Jeep brand is essentially a license to print money. All of its models are doing well, even the Compass which, in the U.S., is on its way to having its best sales year since it was introduced a decade ago. Yes, you read that correctly. Armed with that knowledge, and the current hot-as-fire compact crossover segment, one can scarcely imagine the sales gains they will make with this, the handsome new Compass.

The new Compass will replace both the old model and its Patriot sibling. Slicing its segments razor-thin, the new Compass will slot in between the subcompact Renegade and the compact Cherokee. Looking several orders of magnitude better than the old Compass, this new model features design cues and an overall styling language closer to that of the Grand Cherokee. Its wheelbase, at 103.8 inches, is only two-and-a-half inches shorter than that of the Cherokee, and interior volume is said to be a scant two cubic feet smaller.

2017 Jeep Compass

At launch, the new Compass will be offered with but a sole engine option: the Tigershark 2.4-liter inline-four, churning out 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. Buyers selecting a front-wheel drive Compass can choose a six-speed automatic or six-speed stick. Move to a 4×4 drivetrain, as you should, and that six-speed auto is replaced with FCA’s nine-speed unit. The manual is said to be offered on the models equipped with the ActiveDrive 4×4 system.

2017 Jeep Compass

FCA’s UConnect will be offered in the typical three different touchscreen sizes — 5.0, 7.0 or 8.4 inches. In the latter two systems, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be present and accounted for. Driving nannies such as forward collision warning and lane keeping will be available on upper trims, with rear-cross traffic alert and backup camera system making appearances.

2017 Jeep Compass

There will be four trims available at launch, starting with the base model Sport. From there, familiar Jeep trim levels appear — Latitude, Trailhawk, and Limited. The Trail-Rated Trailhawk will be the Jeepiest of all, equipped with a raised suspension, off-road tires, a yaffle of underbody skid plates. Pricing? Not announced, but logic dictates it will start somewhere between the base prices of the Cherokee and Renegade.

This begs a question: what other models are its direct competitors? In theory, Jeep’s Renegade does battle with Honda’s HR-V, for example, while the Cherokee takes on the CR-V. Same thing with crossover offerings from other brands like Mazda, Chevy, or Nissan. In essence, it doesn’t really matter. Many shoppers will sign the note simply based on the mini-Grand Cherokee styling, good feature content, and the Jeep badge, direct comparisons be damned.

Given that its predecessor was a tragic and cheap-feeling thing yet still sold like hotcakes in the twilight of its production cycle, we can only imagine that Sergio has ordered and installed bank vaults with seven-slat grilles at FCA headquarters in which to store all their money. Our prediction? Barring some sort of cataclysmic event, they won’t be able to make enough of them. Models sold in our region will be built at FCA’s facility in Toluca, Mexico, with other markets being supplied by factories in Brazil, China, and India.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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69 Comments on “2017 Jeep Compass: Pointing in the Right Direction...”


  • avatar
    scdjng

    FCA needs to turn into Jeep Automotive. Take all of their products; cars, minivans, and trucks, and slap a seven slot grill and a jeep badge on the front and people will buy them like crazy. Heck, I bet if they turned the Dodge Dart into the Jeep Dart, they would have actually sold. All people care about is the Jeep brand. Forget everything else.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      There’s a reason the Jeep lineup is expanding while most of the others are shrinking. This is effectively happening.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Jeep is expanding its lineup to make smaller versions marketable overseas. That’s the reason for the Renegade and Compass, and why the Patriot name is being dropped – not international enough. Americans are snapping them up, but Sergio hopes the Jeep brand can capture the mainstream market worldwide.

        • 0 avatar
          npaladin2000

          Given that the Renegade is already selling all over the world (both as itself and in 500x form) and the Compass is as you said, meant for worldwide consumption, I don’t have a problem with that. I can even see the Cherokee going worldwide, though in some areas of the world that’s really as big as you can go: a Grand CHerokee would be marginal on some of the more narrow streets out there.

          What’s nice is that they’re essentially building a single worldwide vehicle. Just like the One Ford plan, which is now the One Or More Ford plan. :) They’re giving up on it, FCA isn’t (and frankly doesn’t have the resources to anyway).

    • 0 avatar
      Barba

      That’s pretty much what happened with Nissan in Europe, the Qashqai killed the rather dreadful Almera and Primera. Their sales are pretty much through the roof since it happened.

  • avatar
    Old Man Pants

    Oh, let’s celebrate yet another dorkmobile with wheel diameter (sans tire) greater than driver’s window height!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Buyers selecting a front-wheel drive Compass can choose a six-speed automatic or six-speed stick.”

    Whoa. Now they have my attention. I don’t want AWD, and I don’t want the dreaded 9-spd automatic. And I like this vehicle’s looks, too.

    • 0 avatar
      jjster6

      FWD and stick? Bet they will make 3 a year.

      And if you want a car, why don’t you buy a car? Great deals on sedans these days.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      If I were to look at one, I’d want the AWD; but after my sister and brother-in-law’s experience with their ’14 Cherokee (the dealer wants to buy it back, he’s hurting for used crossovers, it’s been replaced by a ’17 Kia Sorento, and they don’t want to sell it private party seeing how it just might blow up on them again), there’s no way in hell I’ll consider one specked out that way.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      2017 is the 4th year of production for the 9HP/9X8TE trans. Are they slow on the development cycle, or is this gear scheme never gonna make the grade for reliability?

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I can’t speak to the reliability, but the driveability is bad. All the transmission has to do is make it through the warranty period.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        It’s probably not the transmission, but the programming to match it to the engine. The whole purpose of that many gears is to increase fuel economy to meet future standards, and reduce emissions, also to meet future standards.

        Drivability is the third consideration, and balancing the three is complicated. It looks like the first two are the priority, then the programmers will figure out how to give drivers the performance they want, without sacrificing reliability.

        Reliability is the red-haired stepchild of FCA. As SCE to AUX points out, the transmission just has to last a decent interval past the warranty period.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Sigh… FWD Jeeps. :-/ Actually I don’t care for 2wd Jeeps period, it goes against their carefully cultivated brand image.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      It’s ironic that we joke about how most AWD vehicles are used for grocery-getting, but actually buying an upright box for that purpose is derided.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Scrap all the DJs!

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      What about the Jeepster?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @Dr.Z.

        Current brand image. Sure there were FWD Subarus (and now ONE RWD Subaru) but their current brand image demands that the granola cruncher’s have AWD (even as Subaru had dumbed down its AWD capability.)

        • 0 avatar
          Old Man Pants

          “granola cruncher’s”

          Ima anecdote yer meme…

          Subies, particularly Foresters and Outbacks, are very popular here where deer camo is formal wear and SUVs with big Trump flags flapping drove around & around on election day.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Unzip your fly and scratch your bellybutton for a min Old Man Pants. I’m always firmly tongue in cheek.

            Old Loyale wagons with honest to god manually locking differentials are popular with sports men in Michigan (based on my few years living there) and they treated them like Kawasaki Mules.

          • 0 avatar
            Old Man Pants

            “Unzip your fly and scratch your bellybutton for a min Old Man Pants.”

            “Mr. Mertz” to you, if you please.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Fred!

          • 0 avatar
            Old Man Pants

            Yeah.. OK… that’s me.

            I keeps hangin’ around cuz Ethel so HOT!

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Funny that. For the first 7-8 years of their postwar existence, the RWD wagons were a major part of their line. Two wheel drive Jeeps are traditional, after all, just not quite as traditional as the 4WD ones.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The thing is, even AMC realized they needed 2WD to keep their sales high, since the older 4WD systems were more manual (along with transmissions), and they needed less mechanically inclined customers who could only drive automatics. Today, that’s pretty much everybody. I now get cut off by more 20-something women in Jeeps than those driving Corollas!

  • avatar
    Old Man Pants

    Peoples be all up in arms over mooslems or Jews or Chinese or whatever takin’ over e’rythang…

    And not a word breathed about the Urinals.

  • avatar

    4×4 with 9 speed…when we really want is the 6 speed for reliability.
    AND the v6!!!!
    But it looks good.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Just how close in size is this new Compass to the Cherokee? “Razor-thin” is right.

    But I like the idea of a manual-trans option, even if the number of people who will actually buy one can be counted on two hands (with several fingers left over).

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Razor-thin is pretty accurate. The Compass is a textbook compact CUV dimensions-wise, but the Cherokee is way up on the edge of compact, bumping up against the first-gen Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot (which were the smallest midsize CUVs ever, IMO). I can’t say for sure, but I thought I had once heard that the next-gen Cherokee would be moving up into solid midsize 2-row CUV territory, which I believe would leave less overlap between it and the Compass.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        “Cherokee is way up on the edge of compact, bumping up against the first-gen Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot”

        It can’t compete with those though – with their three rows!

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    The Patriot is dead. Long live the Patriot.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    I predict that the prediction of sales success is a solid prediction.

    Looks better (to me) than either the Cherokee or GC, and sized right. Now if only they’d offer an actual motor (Tigershark doesn’t qualify as a tiger OR a shark, much less a motor), I might be tempted…

  • avatar
    deanst

    Stick a diesel in it and offer it in brown and I’d be a buyer!

  • avatar

    Well, I see they’ve moved the interior up to 2009 or so, so they’re catching up.

    The rest of the thing is nice, though.

    • 0 avatar
      Dingleberrypiez_Returns

      I don’t have a ton to base this on, but I’ve been pretty impressed with the latest round of Dodge/Chrysler interior updates. I can’t say the same about Ford or Chevrolet, with the exception of some more expensive Ford models. I’ve also found the infotainment interface non-frustrating, which I can’t say about Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Glad someone else said it. The interior looks junk. Same as the Renegade.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        No, the Renegade looks much junkier…more like a Jeep branded Tonka Truck. The Compass looks like the Cherokee’s interior, which they got right (clearly they spent the money meant for the exterior on the interior instead).

  • avatar

    Lest we all forget that the current Compass is selling like no one’s business because you can buy one for dirt cheap. Let’s see how this one does…

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      EXACTLY what I was about to say. This vehicles main advantage is that its look is not controversial like Renegade or Cherokee. Its main competition? The other Jeeps on the lot.

      Why not devote the time and attention into building Dodge a proper Journey replacement, which is sorely needed? I guess because it wouldn’t say “Jeep” anywhere on it.

      When you can’t buy one for laundry money, they are just going to end up cannibalizing the other Jeep crossovers at best. But, a sale is a sale, and I admit I’d much rather be stuck looking at this in traffic instead of a Cherokee.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    Jeep – the vehicle for poseur wanna-be’s. Must be a shitload of them judging by the sales figures. My ’59 Willys with a 283 and PTO is the real thing, not a fashion accessory. When driven, you earn your ride. Now stay off the grass, dammit.

  • avatar
    scott25

    It’all heavily cannibalize sales from the Renegade and Cherokee. People will buy it who think the Renegade is too goofy looking and the Cherokee is too expensive. Especially since it has more legroom than the Cherokee too, apparently.

    • 0 avatar
      bills79jeep

      So, it will steal sales from potential buyers who think one model is goofy looking and another that is too expensive? This sounds exactly like the opposite of cannibalizing – it would be bringing a new customer to the brand.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        I was thinking the same. I thought about both the Renegade and the Cherokee, but the Renegade looks too much like a cartoon Wrangler, and the Cherokee front end is a little too unusual. They needed to split the difference with a somewhat more generic, more restrained looking model that could pick up the buyers turned off by the styling experiments of the surrounding models.

    • 0 avatar
      bills79jeep

      Also, trust nothing in these replies. Anyone with an affinity for AMC products is generally known to be questionable.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    How many variants of the same thing can be sold profitably from one marque?

    We’ll find out!

  • avatar
    bill h.

    My son (a young FCA production engineer) has ordered one of these for early production bug-chasing, due to get it mid-winter or so. Definitely one of the AWD versions, but he (as usual) gets the manual stick option when it’s offered. I’m hoping to give it a spin soon after he gets it.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    “Move to a 4×4 drivetrain, as you should, and that six-speed auto is replaced with FCA’s nine-speed unit.”

    Assuming the 9-speed is still an only slightly-polished turd, I’d stick with the FWD for my fake-ute.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Jeepity-jeep-jeepster.

  • avatar
    RS

    Does this new Compass have more room (especially behind the rear seat) than the Cherokee?

    I also hope it comes with the tow prep package like the current Patriot/Compass does. (Good for 2000 lbs. which will handle my towing needs.)

  • avatar
    Speed3

    They should keep the Patriot around for a few more years to sell to the fleets. Otherwise they will be walking away from a lot of volume.

  • avatar
    derekson

    I really assumed that this new Compass would offer a version of the 2.0T 4 cylinder that is going in the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio. It’s making 280 HP in those cars, so a ~250 HP version here would make sense.

    This thing is going to be uncompetitive if the only engine is the old 2.4L Tigershark. That thing is reaching boat anchor status.

    Hell, people complain about that engine being weak in the smaller Renegade…

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