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Auto Show:  2011 Naias

2011 Jeep Compass - 2011 Detroit Auto Show

January 2011 author photo


January 12, 2011

Despite its name, the original Jeep Compass compact crossover SUV never really had a definite direction. Despite coming from a marque forever linked with off-road talent, the Compass was not what the company would call “Trail Rated.” Introduced at this year’s Detroit auto show, the revamped 2011 Jeep Compass has found its way. And that way is up.

Its nose and rear fascia have been transformed to look a lot like its big brother, the Grand Cherokee. The side cladding is body-colored and there are modern 17-inch alloy wheels and a not-so-subtle power bulge to the hood.

Materials with a softer touch are found inside, along with better sound insulation than the outgoing model, glass that filters ultra-violet rays, air conditioning and keyless entry. Standard safety features include electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation and hill start assistance. Jeep has also improved the ride and handling.

Addressing the off-road side of the equation, the Compass can finally call itself “Trail Rated” with the Freedom Drive II four-wheel-drive package. It won’t go so far into the wilds as a Wrangler, for example (Jeep recommends this package for “moderate off-road situations that include steep grades, occasional wheel lift and rock or log climbing”), but the Compass can cover that tricky terrain between back-country capability and reasonable fuel consumption.

The standard engine is a 2.0-liter four that makes 158 horsepower and makes 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway (with the five-speed manual transmission). But with the optional 2.4-liter four engine powering all four wheels and with the continuously variable automatic transmission, it can still muster 20 mpg (city) and 23 mpg (highway).

With just front-wheel drive and in its most basic form, the Compass starts at $19,995. Get the rear axle driving as well and we’re looking at $21,695. The medium-spec Latitude with front-wheel drive begins at $22,295; $23,995 with all-wheel drive. The most premium Limited trim is $24,995 and $26,695 respectively. All prices include $700 destination. The 2011 Jeep Compass is on sale now.

author photoCOLIN RYAN has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2011 Jeep Compass - 2011 Detroit Auto Show - Autotrader