Fiat has this Compass on the right heading
Please, pay attention when buying this one. There are two versions made for the 2017 model year. The first is a 2017 Jeep Compass carried over from 2016, essentially made as a marketing exercise by the now-defunct Chrysler Corp. You probably can get it at a lower price, seemingly at a bargain. But do not be fooled. You are not getting the second version of the 2017 Jeep Compass, which has four trim levels, manufactured under the complete tutelage of Italy’s Fiat Chrysler Automotive, which now is responsible for all things Jeep.
Make no mistake. The FCA Jeep Compass, as designated by this column, is substantially better, providing both moderate, discernible off-road competence (snow, mud, grass, gravel) and on-road comfort and handling ease.
It also has decent utility — 27 cubic feet of rear storage space with the rear seats up and nearly 60 cubic feet with the rear seats lowered.
Most important, it is a Jeep, much more Jeep than the original Compass conceived by Chrysler Corp. in 2002, manufactured in 2006, and introduced for sale in 2007. What happened? The original Compass was born under the marketing genius of the great Lee A. Iacocca. He correctly understood that many Jeep buyers in America did not really want a rugged Jeep. They wanted something softer, more carlike. He pointed them in that direction with the Compass, which initially sold well.
Chrysler Corp. went bankrupt in 2008, in part because Chrysler was lousy at global sales. Fiat, which was better at global sales oddly in all places except the United States, took over. Chrysler Corp. became Fiat Chrysler Automotive. FCA’s global customers, including those in the United States, wanted Jeep to be Jeep.
Thus we have the completely revised and much improved 2017 FCA Jeep Compass, which is sold in four trim levels — Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trail Hawk.
If you are offered a trim designated as Altitude or High Altitude, know that you are being shown a leftover 2016 Compass being sold as a 2017 model. Buy it if you want it. But bargain. Buy it at a lower price.
I recommend, instead, that you look at this column’s subject model — the 2017 Jeep Compass Trail Hawk 4x4, completely revised by FCA. You will spend more money. You will be happier. It is a much better vehicle than the carried-over Compass.
It is so good that, at first, I didn’t think it was a Compass. My God, I thought, this is a Jeep, an honest-to-goodness Jeep!
It had an off-road suspension, at least one competent enough to move through mud and wet grass. I never would have tried that in an original Compass. I did not worry about snow or rain. It came with every available advanced electronic safety item, including blind-side monitoring and lane-departure warning for on-road and expressway driving.
Fit and finish were excellent. FCA’s Compass Trail Hawk comes with a turbocharged (forced air) in-line fourcylinder gasoline engine (180 horsepower, 175 pound-feet of torque). Some people consider that not enough power for a Jeep. I disagree. It works well, especially with its engine-stop-atidle feature. And there is only so fast you can go off-road, or on regulated highways anyway.
I like this one and congratulate FCA for taking a good idea and making it much, much better.
My God, I thought, this is a Jeep, an honest-to-goodness Jeep!
Warren Brown ON WHEELS