• Jan 21, 2008

Click image for a gallery of the 2007 Jeep Compass


While everyone's waiting for Chrysler to fix the interiors of the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger, Cerberus has made a surprise decision to spruce up the Jeep side of the house first. Both the Compass and Patriot are getting freshened interiors, and not a moment too soon. While we haven't driven the Compass (which would benefit from a flamethrower to the exterior as well), we've spent some time with the Patriot, which shares its sibling's exceptionally unexceptional cabin appointments. Hard, cheap-looking, plastic abounds, and attention to detail is uneven at best. For example, there's all kinds of flash left on trim elements like the individual slats in the HVAC vents, and apparently, Chrysler expects the front seat occupants to supply their own padding for the granite-hard armrests. Overall, it's a resounding disappointment inside, which is unfortunate because the Patriot's boxy exterior style is solid, handsome, traditional Jeep. While it wasn't the most refined vehicle, it made for a solid little 4WD commuter (especially with the manual transmission). Almost everyone who saw it was immediately taken with its outward appearance. Open the door, however, and you get the impression that the passenger seat is coated in truth serum, and not just the bland-looking YES Essentials fabric that's standard in the Patriot Sport. Discussions frequently went something like this:

Passenger: "What the... It's like a total economy car inside."
Me: 'Well, that's because it's based on an economy car."
Passenger: "Ugh. Not good. I don't know if I could look at this every day."

According to Automotive News, to address the matter, Chrysler worked with a consultant to develop new Euro-style textures for the interior and also softened the armrests in the doors. AN reports that Chrysler wunder-designer Ralph Gilles admits the automaker "did some soul-searching" over the ComPatriot interiors...and he's talking about the time prior to the vehicles' respective launches. Doing it properly the first time around, of course, would eliminate the need for such introspection in the first place. Chrysler's domestic competition has upped the ante in terms of interior looks and refinement, and the Pentastar is in the unenviable position of having to play catch-up, even with its own essentially brand-new product. The new interior appointments arrive in the Fall for the Jeeps, with the Dodge Caliber getting a similar treatment shortly thereafter.

[Source: Automotive News -- sub. req'd.]




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  • 56 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Thanks Jim,

      2009-2009.5 in USA means 2010 in Europe...sigh! This will problably be the official restyling of the car. I will wait hopefully they can do a good job...
      • 7 Years Ago
      The Patriot is great the way it is. Best bargain out there in that market.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's funny, but at least in Canada the Compass is outselling the Patriot. I happen to like the thing, myself, though it didn't live up to the concept at all. Rounding the wheel wells and dropping it would help. A lot.

      Now, that being said, the interior is awful. I looked at one and, where the door lock sticks up through the window ledge there was a plastic shaving left from where the hole was drilled. No finishing, no cleanup, just a stright drill-hole through the top of the door. The Neon was better inside.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I too don't mind the styling, and yes the sales in Canada are very good. I prefer the Patriot... I just see the Compass as a redundant product. If it was closer to the concept, an AWD subaru competitor, I could understand. But right now its a Patriot with odd styling and a different ride height and slight different packaging options.

        And I'm with LX Builder on this one. Chrysler was very profitable in pre-1998 merger. They definately gave Chrysler a shot in the arm with certain products (LX, Crossfire if only for image, and Pacifica) but helping the NA market was secondary to getting a windfall of cash to funnel into their own products.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Funny thing about all these low grade interiors is that they were all developed under Daimlers rule of Chrysler. I guess they thought a Chrysler customer wasn't very bright or something.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hi all,

      first of all, sorry for my english, I'm Italian...I'd like to buy the Patriot, but, you know, the interiors are very poor and this make me doubtful . This news is really good, but I didn't get when this new interiors will be introduced...In Europe the 2008 model is already released and available, but, as far as I know, the interiors are quite similar to the previous one (2007). Do I have to wait the 2009 to see the improvement ? Thanks to everybody for your reply ! Greetings from Milan !
      • 7 Years Ago
      >>> This is good news. I personally like the Caliber and Patriot designs (if the Compass went away it wouldn't bother me too much).

      Both of these vehicles deserve better and I'm glad the folks at Chrysler finally saw the light and have initiated plans to address the issue.

      For the decision and effort I give them a thumbs up.
        • 7 Years Ago
        While they are at it they should take a closer look at the Liberty.
        The Commander/Grand Cherokee are better but not by much.
      • 7 Years Ago
      John, you left off a few other important stats from your HP list: RPM, tq, and EPA estimates. I have completed your list:

      Sebring's 3.5, 235hp@6400, 232tq@4000, 16/26, 3959lbs

      Sonata's 3.3, 234hp@6000, 226tq@3500, 20/30, 3458lbs
      Malibu's 3.6, 252hp@6300, 251tq@3200, 17/26, n/a
      Accord's 3.5, 268hp@6200, 248tq@5000, 19/29, 3567lbs
      Camry's 3.5, 268hp@6200, 248tq@4700, 22/31, 3516lbs
      Altima's 3.5, 270hp@6000, 258tq@4400, 22/28, 4586lbs


      Sorry, I have to call this one out....only part of these gas mileage ratings are correct. The Sebring, Malibu, and Accord's are all the correct 2008 estimates. The rest are the old EPA estimates. Corrected versions are:
      Camry's 3.5 auto- 19/28
      Altima's 3.5 CVT- 19/26
      Sonata's 3.5 auto- 19/28
        • 7 Years Ago
        But you forgot fuel grades.
        Chrysler says mid-grade for their 3.5, how many knock sensors does chrysler use now? (the original- in '93 had two, and specified mid-grade, in '98 it only had one sensor, and still specified mid-grade) What kind of spark retard control strategy does it implement, bank specific or cylinder specific yet?
        Toyota's 2gr-fe takes Euro mid-grade, 95RON, so use at least US mid-grade, it has dual knock sensors (and it will make more than 268hp)
        The VQ35 takes premium. I'd use premium if that V6 was coupled to the 6 speed stick, mid-grade when using the CVT. (because you can, the VQ was enhanced with dual knock sensors, so you'd end up with only a slight reduction in power/increase in consumption-hardly noticeable. If any transmission is going to cover that up, it will be the CVT)
        Honda Accord V6, regular with the automatic, mid-grade with the 6 speed stick (coupe model with variable resonance intake manifold, lowered compression ratio and different cams, and the 'same' 268hp-right.)
        Has Hyundai explained the differences between the Sonata 3.3 and the SantaFe (242hp@6000, 226ft-lbs@4500) [longer duration cams? so the HP number looks good on paper] So would the Sonata benefit from mid-grade?
        GM probably has watered down the 3.6 so much that mid-grade really might not help in this application.
        Maybe elsewhere [cadillac]. http://www.autospeed.com/cms/A_2264/article.html
        • 7 Years Ago
        Thank you for the correction, the corrections came from Edmunds and 2007 model year... I forgot about the revisions for 08!

        I could not believe the Altima weighs that much when I gathered the info.

        Any way you cut it, between Phoenix and DSG's, the needed refinement is just a few years out....
      • 7 Years Ago
      We'll see the results when we see them. They need to do the entire Chrysler lineup.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why don't we just scrap Chrysler?
        • 7 Years Ago
        You're playing a numbers game and it doesn't add-up. And you still haven't made a valid reason. Being lower doesn't make it 'bad'. Do you really think the average buyer cares about the difference in acceleration from a stop light in two cars with a 40HP gap? My fathers 06 Sebring has the 2.7 rated at 200HP and it pulls that car along just fine, never a scary moment merging onto the highway. The cars may not be up to enthusiast standards, but is that their target? For their LX cars yes, and they've done very well - even with the 3.5 V6. The 2.7 is for fleet and meeting corporate fuel averages. The Sebring? No... not even close. Does it have to be (muscle, euro, sport) to be a good car? No.

        Saying something closer too - "I don't like this car because I want a sporty car and this doesn't fit that need" would be an opinion. Saying "I have actually driven the cars and they stink." with nothing more is just a disconnected thought without a reason.

        ""I've never thought an interior could cause depression, but here we are."" Not sure what this means exactly, but I have never said their interiors were flawless or without problem.

        I'm not trying to rain on your parade or have a pissing contest.. I just feel that a little thought behind an opinion, instead of reguritating the same crap from Car and Driver, Motor Trend and Road & Track (of whom all want a sports car in their lives) would be more worthy of conversation.

        Now, you have an 04 Intrepid, and I loved that car - especially with the 3.2 - and the interior was very sharp and good looking, if only a bit harder to the touch in some areas. I think I've also said in other posts that it was a far superior interior compared to the current cars.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ah...But the Nintendo systems come in at a lower price point that Sony's or Microsoft's. There in lies it's value.

        No hard feelings, but I don't see any reason to patronize Chrysler these days.
        • 7 Years Ago
        It's not baised, man. The cars stink.

        I'm only calling a spade a spade. I didn't just wake up one day and said, "Hmmm...I hate Chrysler." I have actually driven the cars and they stink. I've never thought an interior could cause depression, but here we are.

        I drive an 04 Intrepid and the current interiors in nearly every current example are generation behind that car.

        Memphis, the interiors and the powertains are in need of serious re-tooling.

        It's as I said unless you're buying a V8 or an SRT, Chrysler brings nothing to the table, interiors included.
        • 7 Years Ago
        ""No hard feelings""

        *Laughs* Good, but none here as well. I'm just pationate and enjoy looking at the other side of the coin now and then.

        Ok, here - let me put my opinion another way. I have no interest in Honda Accord. They ride way too rough, I find it too small inside, the materials although better in compound (the chemical make-up and texture) I don't find their design inspiring or well thoughtout for our market. I also don't enjoy low-torque and high-reving engines. To get the most power out of them, means you have to drive harder, more agressive and puts more strain and wear on the product. The last Accord I drove was a 2003 sedan, and although I love sports cars, I don't need them every day.

        So, Honda has not targetted my buying group. And I'm only 26, and 5'11' - im not a huge guy - so I should very much appreciate this kind of car but I'm don't.

        What cars am I currently looking at? Malibu/Aura, Avenger AWD (waiting for that redesign inside and rear quarters/C pillar, hopefully) Charger SXT (base 3.5 V6 cars are currently lower in price than the Malibu V6) and Fusion. The Sonata as well... but overall styling is far too ho-hum for me.

        To me, the Accord and Camry are not a better value because they don't meet my basic needs or wants. To top it off they blend in - much like an a-hole, everyone's got one.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "The drivetrain is not the problem."

        I'll just add this. The powertrains are a problem. They're behind the curve.

        Sebring's 3.5, 230hp

        Sonata's 3.3, 238hp
        Malibu's 3.6, 252hp
        Accord's 3.5, 268hp
        Camry's 3.5, 268hp
        Altima's 3.5, 270hp
        • 7 Years Ago
        MemphisNET,

        I can't add anything more to your good comments. Kudos to Chrylser for doing this - especially in the middle of the model cycle instead of waiting for the next generation.

        As for HP numbers, the Viper is supposed to be an all out performance car. It's got 600+ horses. The Sebring is not. If they come out with a 3 series fighter and it only has 235 hp then you can criticise.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The most opinionated are always the least informed.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @Memphis

        I'm sorry but its a sad state of affairs when Hyundai makes a better product. Drive a 3.3L Sonata and a range topping Sebring/Avenger back to back and tell me differently.

        Unless you're buying a V8 or an SRT variant the powertrains are awful.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Again, I've actually driven these cars and I'm not regurgitating magazine reviews.

        Between my past experience and the spec sheet my point is this: Chrysler autmobiles do not excel in ANY areas (inteiors included, just so there isn't any misunderstanding) unless you buy their performance models. None.

        Interiors? No. Performance? No. Value? No.

        The numbers prove a point. If the performance is sub-par, the interiors are awful and their not a bargain monetarily. What is the value in buying a Chrysler?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Since your first post was ''Why don't we scrap Chrysler'' I question you and your clearly bias opinion. Anyone who has actually driven a Sebring sedan will say its comfy, but not sporty. The drivetrain is not the problem. I'm also well aware of Autoblogs opinion of the convertible. Most of their gripes were of the interior (give them that, materials are sub-par) handling (its not a sports car) and price (bring the materials up to premium/luxury levels, and the price issue will be gone). I think their review was somewhat limited in that not everyone is looking for a sports car. Reviewed in that light, it may have been written differently.

        I have driven them back to back. (Sonata/Sebring) And only the interiors have disappointed me. When somebody goes in with a preconceived thought that they WILL not like a product, guess what - they won't. For all the people that hate the Sebring, I ask - how many of them have actually driven one. The fact that everything is rated as a sports car instead of the target market makes for poor perceptions.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Great idea. Throw thousands of people out of work and further cripple a weak economy 'cos you don't like their cars. Sounds like a reasonable, mature point of view.

        I'll never understand the mindset of jerks who say things like that.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Nintendo's Wii & DS systems are inferior, low performance product as well. I guess millions of buyers of Nintendo and Chrysler products are wrong, and should seek help for being happy with their purchases.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Almost everyone who saw it was immediately taken with its outward appearance. Open the door, however..."

      My experience exactly! I was car shopping all last winter and the Patriot was among the top 3 on my list. I very much like the exterior styling and a manual awd Patriot with large sunroof was a definate contender. That is until I actually got inside one at the auto show last March. The interior was so awful, it fell off my prospective list completely.

      In the end it worked out for Chrysler anyway because I ended up buying a more expensive Wrangler, lol. But for about 3 months Jeep fell off my radar completely.
      • 7 Years Ago
      And please scrap this terrible diesel engines for a proper common rail unit.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Thankyou!! (Toyota interiors) I totally agree. I'm a domestic buyer because I prefer the style and engines and all that jazz... having said that - I really enjoyed my time with my managers Camry. Great power for a 4cyl, handled OK.. but my beef was that it had plastics like my winter-beater 95 Neon, and even it didn't have curled edges where panels meet each other. The design and colour choices were good.. but the material was not what I imagined.
        • 7 Years Ago
        curled edges are used when manufacturers don't have the tolerances to pull off tight seams.

        prime example: GM... the interiors on a lot of their cars still have that inflated, rounded off fisher price look..
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm talking about the edges are literally curling back, like peeling a banana.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I hate the compass... I hate it with a passion. It was a total failure. It should have been given the axe already. They are wasting money producing it. It honestly should have never.. ever... had the Jeep name on it, its a disgrace to the company.

      Im a Mopar guy, I love them. But the Compass and the Sebring just have FAIL written all over them. They are thinking about axing the viper in order to rework the Sebring... but they are still going to try to keep the Compass going... WHY?! Just kill the compass, kill the sebring name [its be tainted by the pos thats on the road now] and start fresh with a new idea.

      Im good with the Patriot, A new reworked interior in it would be great. But in the Compass, it wont help much.. It will still look like a piece of poo on wheels. I hope they dont come in a brown color.. lol.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I just dont like the way it looks. Over all it was just a horrible design to me. Jeep is for offroad, the compass doesnt even resemble an offroad vehicle to me. It looks like a cailber whose body panels have melted and rounded themselves.

        I just hate the way it looks. I think it looks horrible. It looks like a down syndrome child of a caliber and a liberty. Its just bland and has no character to it. I've seen maybe 1 or 2 on the road since they came out.. and i saw it in Detroit as a production concept.

        I cant fully explain my hate for it... I also hate the sebring.. but chrysler realizes there is something wrong with it.
        • 7 Years Ago
        It's the same CUV with a different exterior. More insight as to why you hate it would be appreciated. :)

        I do agree that killing the Viper (maybe) is short sighted, but, the Challenger looks primed to become their new halo car. With a power bump (380 in R/T, more than 425Hp when the new 6.1/6.4 comes out) and looks that will pull in premium bucks it won't be stopped for a while. It's not on the same playing field as the Viper, but that program was supposed to last only a few years. It was a test bed for engineering and learning new assembly skills.

        I will miss the Viper if it does go away.. but I can understand Chrysler needing to focus on the bread and butter. Besides, just because the Viper goes away doesn't mean it can't come back when the books are balanced.
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