New Car Previews

Preview: 2017 Jeep Compass


Editor's Note: Shoppers going to the Jeep website will notice that a "2017 Jeep Compass" is already available for purchase, however, it is a refreshed version of the current-generation vehicle. This article discusses the new-generation Jeep Compass, also listed for model year 2017.

Jeep continues to sop up all the glorious compact SUV gravy with its third all-new people mover in five years. The redesigned 2017 Jeep Compass splashed its way onstage at the 2016 LA Auto Show looking very much like a scaled-down Grand Cherokee, offering buyers a middle ground between the polarizing styling of the somewhat larger Cherokee and the pint-size Renegade.

It’s no secret that the crossover segment is crowded, but the Jeep Compass stands out from the crowd by being one of the few with legitimate off-road capability. The Compass offers two four-wheel-drive systems: full-time Active Drive, and Active Drive Low which offers additional torque multiplication for more hard-core trail driving. If you want to risk getting stuck even further from home, then the Trailhawk model also offers Hill Descent Control, the Selec-Terrain feature, and low-speed crawl capability (to go with its more rugged feature set and higher ground clearance).

Things remain familiar in the 2017 Jeep Compass’ engine bay, where a 2.4L four-cylinder common to the brand’s smaller vehicles sits as the only available motor. Rated at 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque, it can be matched with either a nine-speed automatic (four-wheel drive), six-speed automatic (front-wheel drive), or six-speed manual gearbox.

The cabin of the Compass houses the standard array of Jeep features, including three different Uconnect infotainment systems, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a suite of active safety features (forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, blind spot monitoring). Passenger room is respectable for its class, although cargo space sits at just under 1,700 litres, which is on the small side for an SUV.

Jeep’s triple-SUV threat bodes well for its revitalized lineup connecting with the collection of families, empty-nesters, and first-time buyers that typically flock to the practicality and affordability of entry-level haulers. The Compass is far more competitive in its current form than ever before, and given that strong pricing helped goose the previous-generation’s sales, there’s no reason to suspect that the new model won’t thrive as well.

Canadian pricing will be announced closer to launch.