Jeep revealed its newest compact SUV at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. The compact SUV got a much-needed update – inside and out – and it has finally become a Jeep’s Jeep with plenty of off-road capability thrown in.
After we spent a day with the Compass, we discovered a few things we thought you should know.
“Baby Grand Cherokee” is an apt descriptor
The folks at Jeep subscribe to two design philosophies: Grand Cherokee and Wrangler. Therefore, every vehicle that the automaker launches, in theory, will fall under one umbrella or the other. We’ve already started hearing people call the new Compass a “Baby Grand Cherokee” – and they’d be right.
Compass is the smallest vehicle currently available under the Grand Cherokee umbrella. From the long, lean lines to the simple yet upscale interior, Compass is more refined than rugged and took direct inspiration from its big brother.
Though we didn’t have the chance to test it during the preview, Jeep offers a manual transmission in the Sport (4X4 and 4X2) and Latitude (4X4) trims. Hallelujah!
Even better, you can equip a model with heated seats, four-wheel drive and a lot of the safety tech -- all while keeping the manual transmission. Curiously, however, as soon as you want to add navigation, you have to swap over to an automatic.
Jeep said that they expect about 10 percent of customers to select the manual transmission option.
Safety tech galore
The new Jeep Compass has more than 70 available safety features, which is really impressive considering the price point. It has standard safety features such as seven air bags, active turn signals, rearview camera and tire pressure monitoring. Jeep also offers up-level safety features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection and lane departure mitigation.
The advanced safety tech availability begins on the Latitude 4X2 model with the Advanced Safety & Lighting Package ($695) and Safety and Security Group ($795), which will give you a minimum price tag of $26,880. The great thing is this is where you max out on safety tech. Sure, you can upgrade to the Limited trim, but that brings lux-level features, not more safety.
Shhhh –Compass has a hidden monster
Anyone who’s ever owned a Jeep knows that the automakers is famous for embedding little design “Easter eggs” throughout the vehicles. It could be something simple like the repeating seven-slot grille image or it could be sneaky like the spider saying “Ciao, Baby” near the fuel cap on the Renegade.
Well, the designers are at it again in the Compass.
If you look closely at the rear window, you can see a serpent-like image embedded near the rear wiper. Jeep has confirmed it’s the Loch Ness Monster, but they haven’t said if there’s any significance to that particular monster.
In contrast, the Renegade has a Yeti climbing up the rear window.
The new Compass should hit showrooms starting in April. If you’d like more information about this all-new Jeep, be sure to check out our full first-look review.
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