The 2017 Jeep Compass has just launched over at Los Angeles, and this compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) is certainly a surprise, being one of the smaller models that are from the Jeep range. Normally, when we see a regular Jeep, it would be relatively larger in size, so to have the 2017 Jeep Compass grace its showrooms is a refreshing double take. It looks like Jeep sees the need to move on with the times without having to rely on the traditional form of the SUV, but delving into the compact SUV market instead which could prove to be rather lucrative.
Of course, there will always be some complaints from the purists who feel that Jeep, which is under the umbrella of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) group, should not enter the crossover segment as that would dilute the company’s identity. I am on the other side of the spectrum though, lauding Jeep for taking this bold and necessary move in order to remain relevant in the automobile market while bringing their expertise to a smaller SUV segment. Basically, a compact SUV intends to deliver car-like features while being tough as nails when it hits the off road trails, bringing together the best of both worlds.
Making its debut at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2017 Jeep Compass has been redesigned from so many different angles. It will not only usher out the previous-generation hatchback model, but also bid adieu to the Patriot utility vehicle which has some relation to the older Compass. Both the older Compass and Patriot did come with a different look, but underneath the hood, they were more or less the same vehicle as they ride on the very same platform that was featured in the long defunct Dodge Caliber hatchback.
As for the 2017 Jeep Compass, this particular model will feature the stretched version of the architecture that sees action in the smaller Jeep Renegade crossover as well as its other relation, the Fiat 500X. It will feature a grille and headlights design that do seem to have obtained a fair bit of influence by the far more spacious (and of course, expensive) Grand Cherokee. However, there are also different aspects of the design such as the wheel wells and steeply-raked windshield that also have ties to previous Jeep models -- spiritually speaking.
Jeep has the idea of introducing 17 powertrain configurations around the world, but the US launch will just see one engine being made available: a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine that is capable of churning out 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. Jeep hopes that the 2017 Compass will be able to hit the 30 mpg mark, which can be attributed to the new engine start-stop system. While a single engine option might not thrill US customers, at least they have a trio of transmission options to pick from, as well as settling for either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The front-wheel drive models will be mated to a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic, while all-wheel drive models will ride along to the mentioned 6-speed manual option or a 9-speed automatic. Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk are the trim options where customers of the 2017 Jeep Compass can pick from, with the Trailhawk being a real outdoor fan. It supposedly is capable of fording up to 19 inches of water, although there is no reason to purposely try that limit out unless necessary, right?