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Detroit show: Six-speed auto for Jeep Compass

Pointing south: Jeep’s facelifted Compass is expected to arrive Down Under later this year.

Jeep unveils upgraded Compass compact SUV, headlined by new six-speed auto option

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Jeep logo15 Jan 2013

By TERRY MARTIN

JEEP has taken the covers from an upgraded Compass compact SUV at this week’s Detroit motor show, ahead of an Australian arrival in the second half of this year.

Revised front and rear styling bring the Compass into line with more recent models in the Jeep stable, while buyers should also appreciate key specification changes including a new six-speed automatic gearbox option that replaces the current continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Already used in the Dodge Dart sold overseas, Jeep says the ‘6F24’ six-speed self-shifter was independently developed by Powertech (a Hyundai subsidiary) and will help provide better fuel efficiency and overall engine performance, as well as reduced noise, vibration and harshness.

The transmission is paired with the SUV’s 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engines, with a five-speed manual remaining standard fare.

Australian specifications are still to be confirmed, but the new automatic will also be applied to sister model Patriot, which has the same mechanical configuration.

In other improvements to the MY2014 Compass and Patriot revealed in Motown, safety equipment has been boosted with standard front seat-mounted side airbags and a reversing camera. The latter will be available as an option in North America, but could arrive in Australia as standard fit.

The Compass facelift brings a revised grille design, black inner headlight bezels and chrome foglamp bezels, while at the rear are new ‘smoked’ tail-light bezels and a plated chrome insert on the tailgate applique.

The cabin has upgraded interior trim and accent stitching, updated instrument cluster graphics and a satin chrome finish applied to areas such as the dash stack, centre console and gearshift.

Jeep Australia will be hoping the upgrade improves the sales performance of its compact SUV twins, which together average around 420 sales a month in the ultra-competitive compact SUV segment.

The pair is expected to be replaced around mid-decade by a single all-new model built on Fiat’s so-called ‘Small Wide’ platform, although official confirmation is still to come.

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