What you do not imagine is a derivative of the long-gone Dodge Caliber with a seven-slot grille touting fuel economy over capability.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what makes up the Compass. It’s Jeep’s redheaded stepchild with Trail Rated badging.
But, it’s not as bad as you’d think.
What is the Jeep Compass?
Available solely with 4-cylinder engines measuring in at 2.0L and 2.4L, the Compass is the smallest of the Jeeps, and a twin to the much-boxier Jeep Patriot. Its bones were shared with the Dodge Caliber before that was killed off in favour of the new Dodge Dart.
The Compass can be had with front- or four-wheel drive, and a selection of transmissions ranging from a 5-speed manual to a 6-speed automatic or continuously variable unit used with the 2.4L engine and four-wheel drive.
While not as luxurious as a Grand Cherokee or as capable as a Wrangler, the Compass is one of the least expensive compact SUV options in the Canadian market. Prices for the base model Sport 4x2 trim start at $18,995. Adding the 4x4 option brings the price up to $22,295. Top-level Limited 4x4 models start at $30,690 without optional extras.
Driving the 2015 Jeep Compass
Heading into 2015, the Jeep Compass offers exactly the same mechanicals as the 2014 model. But, since you’re here…
The Sport trim is given the base 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with 158 hp and 141 lb-ft of torque. Move up to the North Edition or Limited and you’re greeted with a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine producing 172 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque.
While on location at Chrysler’s Chelsea Proving Grounds, we jumped in a 2015 Jeep Compass Limited with the 2.4L 4-cylinder mill and drove it around one of the longer loop tracks pocked with potholes and bumps.
First, the Compass isn’t fun to drive. The 2.4L mill has some poke, but it won’t set your heart ablaze with lust.
The ride quality is so-so and handling is what you’d expect from a compact SUV first engineered almost 10 years ago. It’s aging and isn’t as crisp or smooth as other, newer offerings. However, if you are looking for dependability at least the folks at Chrysler have been refining this platform for quite some time, and the bugs have all been worked out.
For those shopping on a budget for a city runabout in the shape of a small SUV, the Compass might not be the most pleasant vehicle available from a driving standpoint, but there’s definitely some value in what the Jeep-lette provides.
Inside and Out of the 2015 Jeep Compass
And this, folks, is where you’re going to find all the value: content.
Consider, for a moment, that the Compass does have a starting price of $18,995. That’s dirt cheap for a new car -- especially a compact SUV -- these days. Yet, somehow, Jeep still manages to add some decent touches.
16” aluminum wheels? It’s got them.
Fog lamps? It’s got two of them!
Tire pressure warning? Yup: the Compass has that in the base model, as well.
While the interior finishes may still be slightly on the cheap side, and you will have to do without air conditioning unless you select it on the order sheet for the base model, there’s Hyundai-level content in the Compass.
Moving up to the North Edition, which will run you $26,140, air conditioning becomes standard along with keyless entry, power locks, and power windows.
Jeep is also happy to point out their “Altitude” and “High Altitude” packages for the Sport and North Edition models are available this year, adding even more content to their baby utility. If you are looking for a couple of particular options, this might be the way to go to save a little coin.
Comparing the 2015 Jeep Compass
There are so many compact SUVs and crossovers in the Canadian market, many brands compete with themselves, including Jeep.
The closest competitor to the Compass would be the Jeep Patriot. Another familial competitor is the Fiat 500L. GM offers the Chevrolet Trax and Orlando, slotting in above and below the Compass/Patriot twins. And, those with a bit more coin to spend can cross-shop with the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi RVR, Nissan Juke and Rogue, Subaru XV Crosstrek, and Toyota RAV4.