By on July 21, 2020

All-new 2017 Jeep® Compass - Image: Jeep

When you think of the rapidly dwindling handful of vehicles still available with a manual transmission, you probably didn’t list the Jeep Compass among those remaining holdouts. And yet the compact crossover does offer such a setup, ever since the current-generation model went on sale for 2017.

Well, Jeep offered, but not many buyers took them up on it. Actually, it seems Jeep could barely find any takers — which is why, for 2021, the Compass will carry only an autobox.

This news comes by way of CarsDirect, which noticed the six-speed manual missing from the 2021 Compass’ spec sheet. Offered as standard kit on the entry-level Sport (4×2 and 4×4) and step-up Latitude (4×4 only) trims, the stick shift paired with the standard 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder.

Come ’21, the six- and nine-speed automatics already offered throughout the Compass range will fill the gap.

The reason for the transmission deep-sixing should be clear to anyone. No takers. Speaking to CarsDirect, Jeep spokesperson Amy Grundman said, with no shortage of understatement, “there wasn’t much of a demand for a manual transmission.”

Indeed there wasn’t. Poring through U.S. inventory listings, the publication noticed that less than 1 percent of existing Compasses carried a three-pedal arrangement, suggesting that the actual number of unsold stick-shift units out there number somewhere around 100. The Compass sold more than 144,000 units in the country last year.

Of course, this all means that getting into a base Compass next year will be pricier, though not for the vast majority of buyers who chose to outfit their Sport with an automatic, anyway. That option cost $1,500, which makes the base 2021 model’s MSRP of $25,390 (a $1,615 markup over 2020) pretty easy to swallow.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler]

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39 Comments on “A Manual Fades From the Jeep Lineup...”


  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    That’s a big ole WHO CARES. It’s not a real Jeep, it’s a plastic toy car.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    With or without the stick that Compass is getting kind of pricey. The new Bronco Sport is $26,660

  • avatar

    Well there goes one of the last AWD manual wagons on the market. Pretty much leaves just Subarus I think. It was interesting stepping up to the latitude you could get it pretty decently optioned with the manual. According to some review it was pretty boring drive with the auto but somewhat entertaining with the manual. Honestly I have searched cars.com and auto-trader for them but the deals weren’t quite good enough to be enticing.

  • avatar
    AutoPatriot

    Another clutch down! They are dropping like flies.
    The latitude trim is okay. I could not ever find one in any trim 4×4 manual around here.
    I feel like Jeep made the same mistake Ford is making with a no Sasquatch stick. Please make a Trail Hawk Compass with manual, it would certainly sell better than what they offer.
    At least try to go all out before you kill something for every future generation.

  • avatar
    dwford

    It’s been a very long time since the manual transmission has been the default choice of buyers, yet the automakers continue the scam of charging extra for the automatic. Shouldn’t the reverse be true at this point? Make the manual buyer pay the extra because of the lower return on the automaker’s investment?

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      If 99% of your customers are willing to pay extra for something, why would you do anything to change that?

      Besides, manuals are cheaper to build.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yup the MT should at least be a no cost option over the “standard” AT. Sure the physical process of assembling a manual transmission is less than an AT and the few pieces also mean less cost for the parts. However the manual is more expensive since it needs its own engine calibration and emissions certification, both of which are more difficult than doing so for an Automatic. Development is the most expensive part of building automobiles. So yeah the fact that they have to amortize the calibration and certification of the manual trans over just a few percent of the vehicles makes it more expensive than the AT.

      However fact is people want an AT but they are also easily drawn in by the bait and switch. So while the MT car may cost the MFG more, making the AT an extra cost option gets people in the door with a lower price, and they still buy the AT which is pure additional profit.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Yeah, I don’t think many automakers will give up the chance to advertise a low MSRP knowing most will pay more for the auto. But I have noticed more automakers putting the manual in a higher trim level only to essentially make you pay for it.

  • avatar
    saturnotaku

    Good. Press S to spit on another dead manual.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    I spent a week and 1200 miles with a TrailRated Compass rental last summer. I can say with utmost earnestness that the 9 speed automatic is the most frustrating transmission I have ever encountered. Lazy, dumb, and downright maddening. A worn-out FluidDrive would have been an improvement!

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      After all these years and they still haven’t gotten any better, huh?

    • 0 avatar
      Brumus

      My wife liked the look of the Compass; I was lukewarm on the vehicle until I learned it could be ordered with a stick in 4 x 4 guise.

      There is no earthly way, however, I would have bought the Compass with that annoying nine-speed auto.

  • avatar
    18726543

    Every time I read these “no one wants a stick” articles with low take-rate numbers and such it springs to mind that the customers of the OEMs are the dealers and they’re the ones buying the cars. You always wind up with the chicken/egg scenario that if sticks aren’t on lots, customer’s can’t buy them, and they’re not on lots because customers don’t want to buy them. In certain cases, I truly wonder if that actually is the case.

    No one wants a Toyota Avalon with a stick. Do more than 1% of 4wd trailhawk Compass shoppers want a stick in their vehicle? At this point dealers are to risk-averse to find out.

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Totally agree with 18726543. It kind of is a chicken and egg scenario. Most dealers won’t bother ordering any manual cars, and in my case when I was looking for a Corolla S manual, they laughed in my face. I asked them point blank if they could order one for me and they simply said “no”. I couldn’t find one within 500 miles of my house but I did find a slightly used one within 150 miles. That was kind of my limit I was willing to go. Keep in mind, I don’t live in the woods…I have 1,5 million people within 70 miles of my house and Toyota Corollas are extremely common. Easier to find a crazy color Aventador than a Corolla S manual though.
      So, most people who want to try a manual vehicle and thinking about purchasing one, give up when no dealer stock them. By stock them, I mean a high volume Honda or Mazda dealership should have in stock 2-3 Civics and 2 Accords without controversial colors ( no black, no crazy indigo). Just stock some silver and white. Bring them, and they shall come.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yeah but fact is the dealers buy what they can sell. To many have been burned by MT vehicles that sat on the lot way too long. So once you have one anchored on the lot you aren’t going to get it a friend to keep it company in the back row.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      The manufacturers should just have a pool of manual transmission cars that can be pulled from as needed by the dealers.

    • 0 avatar
      18726543

      That’s great for the buyer and the dealer, but it leaves the OEM holding the bag which is probably not gonna fly unless it’s guaranteed to show they can move more vehicles this way (and maybe they can).

      It’s the broad-brush approach that gets me. Certain vehicles lend themselves to manual shifting better, and certain buyers who prefer manuals are drawn to said vehicles. If dealers said “it’s so hard to get rid of a Focus with a manual, so order only automatic Mustangs!” you’d look at that decision and say “does not compute”, but I can’t help but feel that’s what’s going on to some extent. Manual = lot poison has become a thing when it’s true, and also possibly when it’s not, but without the choice we never get to find out.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    What’s the take rate on Wrangler?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The days of manual are better are over, except for the most extreme of situations, and even then, that is questionable.

    Computer 4WD and AWD system with various programming options depending on terrain simply make off-roading easier. The downside is any idiot with a vehicle with a terrain selector now thinks they’re ready for the Rubicon.

    For 99.5% of buyers, including manual buyers, the slim benefits of row your own in a vehicle like this just don’t apply.

    I find it fascinating that in another 30 years when I’m at some car show, living “back in the day,” I’ll be pointing and going, “you see that Billy, that’s called a manual transmission, and you don’t even know how to drive that you little pecker.

    My name’s not Billy, grandpa and why would anyone want to drive?

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Jeep Compass, a vehicle which CR says is uncompetitive, and for which the C/D review of the 2018 spends a paragraph telling you how lousy the combination of 9 speed auto and stop/start is, well, it is a vehicle few people even consider buying in the first place. Add the moo-cow supposedly 180 horse engine which nobody can remember whether it’s the ancient World engine or the 2013 Multi-air version of the same block, and it’s eminently forgettable. The best thing about it is its looks. That the low credit score types who might be shanghaied into purchasing this mediocrity would even know what a manual transmission is, makes me wonder why it was offered in the first place. But hey, bring up manuals in a post and people can flap their gums for the umpteenth thousandth time, while remembering some ratty old Corolla or Civic they once owned that lasted 400,000 miles and once climbed Mount Everest on a weekend.

    Must be a slow workday — everyone else on motoring websites is talking about the V12 engine in the new Gordon Murray T50 supercar.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I can see the attraction if you want to try to get the lowest possible price on a manual trans 4×4, if you had a job where you’ve got to be there no mater the weather.

    I played with the configuration tool when the 2017 gen came out and back then you could order a manual trans 4×4 with a “winter package” that would give you heated seats, heated steering wheel, but no remote start.

    That has a certain utilitarian charm.

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      I know they won’t let you have remote start with a stick, but why can’t they just install a simple interlock that only lets remote start function when it’s in Neutral with Ebrake set??
      I mean WINTER is the best use case for remote start…

  • avatar
    Carrera

    Some manuals actually are a bit more money than their automatic counterpart. I believe the KIA Forte GT is like that. I saw the reviews on YouTube and I was really impressed with it. I kind of put it on a virtual, “in my mind” wanted list until I found out that the manual car doesn’t have AC vents in the back!!

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Hyundai/Kia/Genesis must be on a kick of doing that (deleting rear seat vents with the manual.) Can anybody comment if the Elantra GT manual comes with rear seat vents?

      The G70 manual deletes the vents for rear seat passengers. (Boo, hissssss…) Personally I don’t mind that in the case of the G70 the manual comes bundled a certain way but deleting a comfort feature for passengers is just being lazy.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        PrincipalDan, I have a feeling that they’re doing it because the automatic comes with some sort of plastic tunnel where they can guide the AC tubes under? Otherwise, I don’t know what their thinking is. What, manual drivers like to have their passengers sweat? It has to be more than that; It must be a technical reason.

        • 0 avatar
          MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

          I’m sure it’s linkage in the way, compared to modern automatics that are just “shift by wire” and have no “guts” under the shifter in the console. It’s why some can have buttons and knobs to shift.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    On the bright side, Mini should be back with manuals in most of their line for 2021.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Are we down to being able to count on 10 fingers how many are left?

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