What Is It?
Jeep describes the 2017 Jeep Compass as a compact SUV. Perhaps it feels the word “crossover” has the wrong connotations, not muddy enough for a vehicle that’s road- and trail-capable. This is an all-new model, replacing both the old Compass and the Patriot. Size-wise, it slots between the Renegade and the Cherokee.
At its introduction, the Compass will be available in Sport and Latitude trim levels, but expect a specialized Trailhawk version at some point. Front-wheel drive is the basic arrangement, with all-wheel drive as an optional extra. Propulsion comes from a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine developing 158 horsepower and 141 lb-ft of torque. Jeep claims fuel consumption of 30 miles per gallon on the highway.
There’s also the option of a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder producing 172 hp (Jeep hasn’t provided a torque figure for this engine yet, but it’s probably around 175 lb-ft).
The basic Sport model comes with a 5-speed manual transmission, although most American buyers will be more interested in the 6-speed automatic or the continuously variable transmission that comes with the Freedom Drive off-road package. Maximum towing capacity is 2,000 pounds.
Jeep has also been busy preparing two new versions of the subcompact Renegade. One is the limited-edition Deserthawk, sporting cosmetic touches like black-painted 17-inch wheels and black leather seats. But it also comes with some serious off-roading hardware, such as rock rails, skid plates, 8.1 inches of wheel articulation and an all-wheel-drive system with a rock-crawling mode. Jeep’s 2.4-liter engine is standard and connects to a 9-speed automatic transmission.
The other Renegade news is the introduction of an Altitude trim level. This model comes with 18-in black wheels along with many other black accents inside and out, plus keyless entry and a rearview camera as standard features. Drivetrain choices are the 2.4-liter engine (180 hp) with the 9-speed automatic or a 1.4 turbo (160 hp) linked to a 6-speed manual transmission.
The 2017 Jeep Compass starts at $20,790. The 2017 Renegade Deserthawk is priced at $29,135, and the 2017 Renegade Altitude starts at $23,385.
When Can You Get It?
The Compass is slated for early 2017. The 2017 Jeep Renegade Deserthawk goes on sale in January, and the Altitude trim level is available from late November.
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
The main thing about the new Compass is its “Jeep-ness.” It has that chunky styling. It’s also bigger than the Renegade, and Jeep says this is the most capable compact SUV the company has ever built, so it really can venture into the wild — or into the mild, at least.
Other Cars to Consider
2017 Chevrolet Equinox — The Equinox is roomy and well-equipped, and it offers the option of a 301-hp V6.
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport — This one is closer in size to something like the Cherokee or the Honda CR-V, but it’s priced right.
2017 Subaru Forester — With standard all-wheel drive, the Forester is as tough as they come.
Used Jeep Grand Cherokee — Strong and capable but also quite luxurious and spacious, the Grand Cherokee is a highly desirable SUV.
Nothing else is quite like the Renegade, but anyone shopping for a subcompact crossover should absolutely check out the 2017 Honda HR-V for interior versatility and the 2017 Mazda CX-3 for the fun factor.