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2011 Jeep Compass Preview

2011 Jeep Compass Preview

The baby Grand Cherokee By ,

For 2011, the little Jeep Compass becomes grand – as in Grand Cherokee. Plus, it can now wear the famous ''Trail Rated'' badge like the rest of the family. On top of that, models equipped with the automatic transmission promise higher fuel economy.

In Canada, the 2011 Compass starts at $18,995, which is just $250 above the 2010 MSRP.

Photo: Chrysler

A miniature Grand Cherokee

The updated Compass sports new hood lines, headlights, front fenders and fascia that closely resemble the Grand Cherokee's. Glossy metallic accents highlight these new attributes, including around the seven vertical slits that make up Jeep's signature grille.

Black plastic lower side cladding now graces every model in the lineup, protecting the bodywork when drivers venture off the beaten path. It perfectly matches the front and rear aprons, also draped in black plastic.

In the back, the Compass features a redesigned bumper, new LED taillights and a body-coloured spoiler.

Once again, three different trim levels are available: Sport, North and Limited. Each one comes in 2WD and 4WD configurations.

A ''true'' 4x4 at last!
Jeep now offers two 4WD systems with the truck formerly known as an urban crossover, including Freedom-Drive I and Freedom-Drive II. They are full-time systems that require no driver intervention and distribute torque between the front and rear axles based on traction needs.

Both feature a 4WD Lock mode providing a locked 50/50 torque split, which comes in handy when tackling snow or sand, for example.

Photo: Chrysler

Freedom-Drive II targets Compass owners who are a bit more serious about off-roading. This Patriot-derived system is mated to a second-generation continuously-variable transmission (CVT2L) with a 19:1 crawl ratio that engages when the off-road mode is activated.