Jalopnik Reviews: 2007 Jeep Compass, Part 2

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
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Exterior Design: *
The Jeep Compass takes all the good hot-hatch looks of the Dodge Caliber and chops them off. The sweet-looking crossbar front-end is gone, replaced by what looks to be leftover front ends from the first-generation Liberty. The rest of it appears far too low to the ground to be of Jeep lineage.


Interior Design: ***
The Compass, like the Caliber, suffers from an overuse of light-duty plastic. Otherwise, the Compass gets good marks for comfort and design of the pump-it-higher seats, which provide a feeling of riding tall in the saddle. The air conditioning vents, fold-flat rear seats, crisp instrument panels and the center console are ergonomically spot-on, which helps compensate for the shortfall in materials.

Acceleration: ****
When you drop the hammer, the Compass actually feels much more substantial than its price would suggest. Use of the 172-hp version of Chrysler's 2.4-liter four-cylinder world engine mitigates some of the power-to-weight issues of the entry Dodge Caliber.


Braking: ****
The Compass, like its Caliber cousin, has adequate braking power. Extra star for standard brake assist on all configurations, plus four-wheel ABS.

Ride: ****
Since it's a Jeep, expectations are it'll treat passengers like kernels in a popcorn popper. It doesn't. Four stars for that.

Handling: ***
Because the Compass has a tight turning radius, emerging from one of them thar Michigan lefts on Woodward Avenue means not spilling off into three or four lanes. Otherwise, it's got a tight, almost tentative feel in the turns.

Gearbox: ****
Although the Compass comes with standard five-speed manual, the tester was equipped with the optional CVT2 continuously variable box. It uses a morass of V pulleys and a steel push belt to keep revs in the engine's most efficient range, and it did so without much ado (or free-revving, as is some CVTs' wont). No jerky upshifts means fewer spilled beverages.


Audio/Video: **
The stereo does have that killer aux in — but we're still bummed about the whole iPod-not-fitting-in-the-armrest thing. (Update: The company folks are checking on it.)


Toys: ****
The Compass, like the Caliber, is chock full of toys — from the liftgate speaker system (great for tailgating) to the factory-installed rear-seat video system. Minus one star for not adopting the Caliber's refrigerated glove box.

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

Trunk: ****
Even without the liftgate speakers, the rest of the Compass has ample cargo room for transporting a parking-lot or beach bacchanalia, with a diamond-plastic floor that's easily washable if the festivities go south.

Value: ****
The Compass is priced competitively with others in its segment, though more horsepower and AWD make it a better value than most.


Were it not for the Jeep badge, the Compass wouldn't rate the slightest comparison with any vehicle from the Trail-Rated stable. Otherwise, it's a fun, economical wagon with all-wheel-drive for a decent price.

[By Ray Wert]

Jalopnik Reviews: 2007 Jeep Compass, Part 1, Part 3 [internal]

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camp6ell — I'm 6'3" and I really liked the feature — it made me able to see much more of the road than the slinking-down-in-the-seats feel I get from most cars.