The LA Auto Show was host to the debut of the all-new 2017 Jeep Compass compact crossover SUV, a long awaited replacement for the current model and the eventually the Patriot.
The all-new Compass is based on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles “small wide 4×4 architecture”, a new platform with a wheelbase of 103.8-inches and an overall length of 173-inches. This makes it virtually identical in size to the current generation that has been so popular with Jeep Customers.
It is taller now like most contemporary competitors that include the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V and Ford Escape just to name a few.
Styling on the new Compass is clearly more traditional than what we saw with the last two new Jeeps, the Renegade and Cherokee. While those new models sell very well, the people at Jeep have obviously listened to the Jeep faithful.
The front-end looks a lot like a scaled down Grand Cherokee in design, and evolutionary from the current generation Compass. A black gloss seven-slot grille is book-ended by projector beam headlamps with LED daytime running lights as seen on the Limited here.
Its side profile looks a lot more balanced and handsome with the plastic body cladding adding some visual interest by following its tapered lines. It’s the rear C-Pillar however that really adds something new to the Compass.
Along with the optional black painted roof, the design brings something entirely new to see. A dual pane sunroof can also be had in that black roof, completing the package. At the rear LED tail lamps continue the evolutionary design language.
The 2017 Jeep Compass can be had in four different trims, Sport and Latitude, as well as the Limited and Trailhawk you see here.
Interiors will look and feel very familiar if you’ve spent time in a Jeep, the rugged and purposeful construction being much the same as all the others. Jeep says we can expect higher quality materials throughout along with a number of interesting color and trim options. A power lift-gate is now available.
Infotainment options too will be improved, with a new top-end 8-inch UConnect system that brings an entirely new graphic user interface, more features, and now Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We didn’t get a chance to play with it but given the current system is one of the best, it should be good.
Most important to the Jeep brand is capability and promised is the best off-road abilities of anything in class. Like most Jeeps, a variety of 4×4 systems will be available including a full-time Jeep Active Drive system and Jeep Active Drive Low with a 20:1 crawl ratio on TrailHawk. Both will come with the Selec-Terrain twist knob for various traction modes.
The specs? Ground clearance ranges from 7.8 up to 8.5-inches. Best-in-class. Top approach angle is 30.5 degrees, best break-over 24.4, and best departure angle 33.6 – again all best-in-class. You can ford water up to 19 inches deep.
While several engine choices will be available in the global markets, one disappointment might be that North America’s single and only choice is the aged 2.4 liter “TigerShark” MuliAir2 engine. That would be the old mill based on the COTA World Engine from way back.
Like it or not, it offers up 180 horsepower and depending on trim will be good for up to 30 mpg highway. The good news is that it’ll be available with three different transmissions, real ones – no CVT.
The nine-speed automatic will be available for all 4×4 models, a six-speed automatic for front-wheel drive. A six-speed manual will be available in both 4×4 and front-wheel drive models, a glimmer of joy for many a Jeep customer.
The 2017 Jeep Compass will be built at four different factories around the world, Brazil, China, India and Mexico where ours for North America will come from.
It goes on sale early next year with pricing and final fuel-economy numbers to be released closer to that time. We’ll bring you a far more detailed review very soon when we get our first drive in one.