The Jeep Compass is like the little kid who looks up to his big brother and wants to be exactly like him. However, aspiring to be a grown-up and acting like one are two different things. If both do not go hand in hand, there's something missing. In the case of the Compass, it's a big something: this vehicle has the looks of a Jeep but not the capabilities that have made the brand famous.
|The 2009 Jeep Compass Limited 4WD with CVT retails for $26,795.|
Aesthetically speaking, there sure are lots of similarities between the Compass and, let's say, the Wrangler
. Of course, the seven-slot grille and round headlamps are prime examples. The flared fenders tend to suggest serious off-road potential (not the case, though), while the pillar-integrated rear door handles keep a low profile. It's the most urban-looking of all Jeeps and an affordable solution for Jeep fans who don't intend to venture deep into the woods.
For 2009, Jeep saw fit to redesign the cabin of the Compass. Here, styling is little better executed, although material quality is not on par with rivals like the Hyundai Tucson
. The addition of chrome on the shift knob and around the air vents brightens the otherwise all-black interior. Hard plastics are everywhere and I got a sense that designers did not manage to get the most out of the layout. At least, it's durable.
Everything else inside is decent at best. Unfortunately, access and passenger room are not adequate, the seats lack support in all areas and the narrow door openings in the back make it hard to get in and out of the rear bench. In Limited trim, the Compass adds such goodies as heated leather seats, which come in handy on those cold winter mornings. Cargo capacity is commendable, especially when you fold the 60-40 split seatbacks.
Visibility is good, but the layout is questionable. Quite frankly, I didn't feel like I was sitting in a real Jeep. Where's the masculine touch? What's more, the steering wheel tilts but does not telescope, which makes it a bit more complicated to find a comfortable driving position. Soundproofing is also unimpressive as a lot of engine noise finds its way into the cabin -- even though Chrysler insisted on making the Compass quieter for 2009.
|For 2009, styling is better executed with the addition of chrome on the shift knob and around the air vents.|