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Jeep Compass 2007 review

Strip away the Jeep badges and no one would know that the new Compass has the longest and strongest bloodline in the four-wheel-drive world.

It is more like a Korean people mover than a 4WD Jeep, even if it has the brand's signature seven-bar grille on the nose.

That will be good for people who want a practical city wagon that is not one of the crowd.

And the $32,490 starting price and chance for diesel drive make it a little more appealing.

But you have to question a Jeep that was designed to lure twentysomethings to the brand in the US and is not remotely capable of taming the famed Rubicon Trail, America's toughest off-road test in northern California.

Compared with the latest Wrangler, the classic Jeep that did so well in our recent test, the Compass seems like a sellout.

A bit like a piece of designer clothing with a famous name as the selling point.

Still, it will make some shopping lists against cars such as the Toyota Kluger and Subaru Outback.

That is because the Compass is an all-wheel-drive wagon with plenty of cabin space, engines with 310Nm as a turbodiesel and 125kW with petrol power, and even a hi-tech constantly variable transmission.

Chrysler Group Australia has landed the Compass as part of the model explosion that has added so many newcomers under its Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge badges.

They run from compact city cars to full-sized four-wheel-drives and the cult favourite 300C, which helped put an end to the Ford Fairlane.

The difference, this time, is that the Compass is a big brand stretch behind a badge that has made its name and reputation for serious 4WD ability.

But that does not worry the head of Chrysler, Gerry Jenkins.

“We expect there to be a growing demand for SUVs with fuel economy, ride comfort and roomy, efficient packaging, and the Compass means that the Jeep brand is ideally placed to meet this,” he said.

“Customers are increasingly interested in family hatchbacks with 4WD because they offer better handling and enhanced safety on the road. The Compass fits the bill and it is designed to reach younger customers who may not have previously considered the brand but value the distinctive Jeep look.”

The Compass line-up runs to two models and three mechanical packages.

Both the Sport and Limited are available with the 2.4L four-cylinder engine hooked to either a five-speed manual or the CVT transmission.

The turbodiesel is only available as a manual. Prices run from $32,490 for the petrol manual Sport to $40,490 for the diesel Limited.

Equipment is good and includes everything from electronic stability control and six airbags to the usual electric gadgets, alloy wheels, airconditioning and the rest.

The AWD system in the Compass is called Freedom Drive, but does not qualify the car as “Trail Rated.” The Jeep rating for vehicles that can tame the Rubicon though an upgraded model with more off-road ability is on the way.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

Limited 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $5,500 – 8,470 2007 Jeep Compass 2007 Limited Pricing and Specs
Sport 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $5,600 – 8,690 2007 Jeep Compass 2007 Sport Pricing and Specs
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