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Future models - Jeep - Compass

First look: Compass is Jeep's soft-core future

Crossover: Compass is longer than a Forester and powered by a 128kW 2.4.

Jeep's first soft-roader makes its Detroit debut and is due here in 18 months

Jeep logo12 Jan 2006

By NEIL MCDONALD

DIEHARDS will wince but Jeep has definitely moved away from its flannelette-shirt, rugged off-road image with its new Compass wagon, which is due Down Under within 18 months.

The Compass will also be the first Jeep available in front-wheel drive guise as well as all-wheel drive. The newcomer seats five, has the customary Jeep grille and chunky looks.

It rests on a 2626mm wheelbase, which is slightly longer than a Subaru Forester, and will be powered by a 128kW 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine.

Jeep claims the vehicle "combines the packaging and functionality of an SUV with the performance, handling, fuel economy and price of a compact car or small pick-up".

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