Make / Model Search

Future models - Jeep - Compass

Jeep's first soft-roader hits US showrooms

Soft-core: Compass will join the harder-edged Patriot here by mid-2007.

Aimed directly at RAV4, Jeep Compass goes on sale in the US and hits Oz next year

19 Jun 2006

ICONIC American off-road brand Jeep has revealed full details of its first RAV4-rivalling compact soft-roader ahead of its official release in the US.

Based on the small Caliber hatch that will relaunch DaimlerChrysler’s Dodge brand here next month, Compass is Jeep’s first front-wheel drive-based model and will go on sale in Australia alongside the similarly-sized but slightly harder-core Patriot in the second quarter of 2007.

Both small Jeeps were revealed in concept guise at last year’s Frankfurt motor show before making their production debuts at the 2006 Detroit motor show in January, with Compass set to follow the Patriot AWD on sale in the US in the third quarter of this year.

Jeep claims Compass will "grow the brand in a new direction" by "conquering all-new territory" and offering value, fuel economy, interior flexibility and "loads of cool innovations".

In Australia, Compass and Patriot will together represent Jeep’s highest sales growth potential within a model range that was most recently joined by the seven-seat Commander SUV and the redesigned Grand Cherokee upon which it’s based.

By the time the compact SUV duo is launched, the Jeep line-up will also include V6 and SRT-8 variants of Grand Cherokee and both two- and four-door versions of the redesigned Wrangler 4WD.

Jeep expects the compact SUV segment to almost double to approximately 600,000 units by 2010 and almost triple to more than 814,000 units by 2016. As such, while Compass hopes to attract buyers of models like Toyota's RAV4 and Honda's CR-V, Patriot aims directly at the likes of Nissan's X-Trail. Both will be priced from well under $40,000 here.

9 center imageClaimed to combine the packaging and functionality of an SUV with the performance, handling, fuel consumption and price of a compact car, the Jeep Compass pricing starts from a bargain-basement $US15,985 ($A21,690) in the US.

While it’s unclear what versions will be made available in Australia, two variants (Compass and Compass Limited) have been offered in the US – both powered by a 128kW 2.4-litre four-cylinder with variable valve timing and both with the option of a full-time active all-wheel drive system (with centre differential lock) dubbed Freedom Drive I.

A 2.0-litre turbo-diesel will also be made available to international markets, including Australia.

Along with 213mm of ground clearance, Compass will offer a 20.6-degree approach angle, 32-degree departure angle and 21-degree breakover angle.

A five-speed manual transaxle will be standard, alongside the option of a second-generation continuously variable transaxle (CVT2), which is claimed to contribute to a six to eight per cent fuel consumption reduction compared with a traditional four-speed auto.

In premium Limited variants, the CVT2 auto will come with six stepped gear ratios, operated via a manual-shift function dubbed Autostick.

Appearing complete with Jeep styling hallmarks like a signature seven-slot grille, round headlights and trapezoidal wheel openings, Compass also features a new silhouette via a steeply raked windscreen, a heavily sculpted bonnet and aggressive front bumper.

All Compass models will feature fully-independent suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels (18s on the Limited), side curtain airbags, ESP stability control, Electronic Roll Mitigation, brake assist, ABS with "road-road detection" and Brake Traction Control.

MP3 audio capability, a sliding centre armrest, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a flat-folding front passenger seat and a removable/washable vinyl load floor, satellite-navigation and soil-repellant seat fabric are also included in the US.

A nine-speaker Boston Acoustics premium audio system featuring speakers that swing down from the tailgate when it’s open will also be available – as will a dual-purpose, self-recharging removable interior lamp mounted in the cargo area headlining.

Compass production began recently at Jeep’s newly refurbished assembly plant in Belvidere, Illinois, while its four-cylinder "World Engine" is manufactured at DaimlerCchrysler’s Global Engine Manufacturing Assembly (GEMA) plant in Dundee, Michigan.

"Compass is a new type of Jeep vehicle for non-traditional Jeep buyers," said Chrysler Group’s senior vice-president global marketing, George Murphy. "It allows the brand to compete in the fast-growing compact SUV segment, where there is increasing market demand for fuel economy, ride comfort and efficient packaging in an SUV."

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Jeep models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here