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Jeep reveals more details and powertrain offerings of the new Compass at its Los Angeles motor show public debut.
Destined for sale in over 100 markets around the world, there is understandably a lot of hope riding on Jeep’s new Compass compact SUV. Slated to serve as a replacement for both the current Compass and the ageing Patriot, the new Compass will straddle the small and midsize SUV segments by sitting between the Renegade - on which it shares the same platform - and the Cherokee in Jeep’s model line-up.
Eschewing its predecessor’s frumpy looks and the Patriot’s retro-homage, the new Compass is blessed with the familiar front fascia and shape of the Grand Cherokee, and fitted with an interior that is similar to that of the Cherokee.
While North American Compass models will only come with Jeep’s 134kW/237Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder Tigershark MultiAir2 petrol engine, Jeep will be offering the Compass with an additional two petrol and two diesel engines for the rest of the world. These global engines will be a 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged FIRE MultiAir2 and 2-litre four-cylinder Tigershark MultiAir2 petrol engines, and 1.6 and 2-.0litre four-cylinder Multijet turbodiesels.
Accompanying the Compass’ engine range are three transmissions options, a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic for two-wheel drive variants, and a nine-speed automatic for all-wheel drive variants. Compass models with the 2.4-litre can also be specified with a six-speed manual on the all-wheel drive variant, whereas a seven-speed dual-clutch option is available exclusively for China with the 1.4-litre petrol-powered variant.
Although the Compass will have a front-wheel drive variant to cater to urban demographics, Jeep’s reputation of building capable off-road adventure machines will be maintained via two choices of all-wheel drive systems; the Jeep Active Drive and Jeep Active Drive Low.
The Jeep Active Drive is able to send all torque to the rear wheels, is able to switch between two- and four-wheel drive modes automatically, and will deliver yaw corrections to assist the driver in quelling understeer or taming any oversteer.
As for the Jeep Active Drive Low, it is only available on the range-topping Trailhawk variant, delivering a 20:1 crawl ratio and low-range capability to expand the Compass’ off-road capabilities. According to Jeep, the Compass Trailhawk will deliver best-in-class 4x4 capability thanks to an extra 25mm of ride height, and trimmed front fascia that enables a 30-degree approach angle, 24-degree breakover angle, and 34-degree departure angle. Jeep also claims that the Compass Trailhawk has a wading depth of up to 482mm and a towing capability of an admittedly modest 900kg.
Both Active Drive and Active Drive Low systems are paired to a Jeep Selec-Terrain system that offers four customised modes - “Auto”, “Snow”, “Sand”, and “Mud” - with the Trailhawk variant featuring an additional fifth setting “Rock”. Each mode will tweak the all-wheel drive system in a specific manner for drivers to get the best traction to suit the terrain. The Selec-Terrain system on the Trailhawk variant however is also paired to the Selec-Speed Control traction control system and Hill-descent Control system.
Despite its off-road capability boast, Jeep claims that the Compass will deliver ‘superior on-road driving dynamics’ as well thanks to the use of a segment-exclusive Koni frequency damping system on both front- and rear-struts. On top of that, its upper body structure and frame is engineered as a single unit for stiffness, while the use of high-tensile steel and structural adhesives in its structure optimises it weight efficiency.
As for features that can fitted on board, the Compass can be specified with a 5-, 7-, or 8.4-inch touchscreen multimedia systems that are loaded with fourth-generation Uconnect systems, which offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity features. On top of its standard fitment of seven airbags, the new Compass can be fitted with over 70 advanced safety and security features including, Forward Collision Warning-Plus, LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus, and Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection.
Australian launch timing is yet to be confirmed, but figure on a local arrival toward the end of 2017.
Considering the local availability of the 2.4-litre Tigershark and 1.4-litre Multiair2 petrol engines on the Renegade, as well as the 2-litre turbocharged diesel engine on the Cherokee, we would be surprised if those engines didn’t appear in Australian-bound Compasses.
Furthermore, with Jeep’s focus on building the brand as a purveyor of off-road capable SUVs, we’d also be surprised if the all-wheel drive versions didn’t appear alongside the cheaper two-wheel drive models preferred by most small-midsize SUV buyers these days.