2015 Compass New Car Test Drive
Compass is built like a car and drives like one. Yet, it possesses much of the versatility and capability associated with a small SUV.
Though not as rugged as a Wrangler or even a Patriot, Jeep Compass stacks up well against Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, and other entry-level SUVs.
Jeep Compass gets new options for the 2015 model year. A new High Altitude Package is available for 2015 Compass 4×4 models with the 6-speed automatic transmission; the High Altitude Package includes leather seating, a power sunroof, power six-way driver's seat, and 17-inch aluminum painted wheels. Navigation is now an option for the 2015 Compass Latitude model. All 2015 Jeep Compass models come with a new dome light that replaces the previous rechargeable flashlight. Compass was substantially upgraded for 2014 after being freshened for 2011 and 2009 and launched as a 2007 model.
Two engines and four transmissions are available, along with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Buyers may choose from two levels of the active 4×4 system. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard on Compass Limited, optional for Compass Sport and Compass Latitude. Two versions of a continuously variable transmission (CVT) are available for specific applications.
Front-wheel drive is standard, but buyers can choose Jeep's Freedom Drive I or Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package for improved traction. Freedom Drive I is full-time all-wheel drive, delivering almost all of the torque to the front wheels until more traction is needed at the rear (with up to 60 percent available there). A lock mode may be engaged for snow, sand and mud. Freedom Drive I is a good system for wintry conditions.
Freedom Drive II is Jeep Trail Rated, meaning it's highly capable on rugged terrain. Freedom Drive II uses a continuously variable transaxle (CVT2L) with a low range that engages when Off-Road mode is activated. Included are 17-inch all-terrain tires and aluminum wheels, raised ride height, a full-size spare tire, skid plates, tow hooks, fog lamps, and manual seat height adjuster. On the down side, Freedom Drive II is likely to give up two or three miles per gallon in fuel economy.
A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine comes standard, making 158 horsepower and 141 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0-liter engine is available with a 5-speed manual, a 5-speed automatic, or a continuously variable transmission. With the 5-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive, the 2.0-liter engine delivers an EPA-estimated 23/30 mpg City/Highway.
A larger 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is available that produces 172 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque. Best fuel economy is with the 5-speed manual with an EPA-rated 23/28 mpg City/Highway. Also available with the 2.4-liter engine are a 6-speed automatic and the CVT2L.
The 2015 Jeep Compass comes in three versions: Sport, Latitude, Limited, each with front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). The standard engine is the 2.0-liter four-cylinder, with a 5-speed manual transmission. The 2.4-liter engine is optional for Sport or Latitude models, standard on Limited, with a conventional 6-speed automatic transmission.
Compass Sport 2WD ($18,995) and Sport AWD ($20,995) come with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, 60/40 fold-flat rear seats, foglamps, heated power mirrors, rear window wiper/washer, cruise control, power door locks and windows, 130-watt 4-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary audio jack, roof rails, and P215/70R16 tires (P225/60R17 with the 2.4-liter engine). Compass Altitude 2WD ($20,990) and Altitude AWD ($22,990) feature gloss black accents, mesh cloth/vinyl bucket seats, heated front seats, and 18-inch black aluminum wheels.
Compass Latitude 2WD ($22,895) and Latitude AWD ($24,895) upgrade with mesh cloth seats, heated front seats, fold-flat front-passenger seat, height adjustment for the driver's seat, 115-volt outlet, and leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated controls. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard with the 2.0-liter engine. Compass High Altitude 2WD ($23,990) and High Altitude AWD ($25,990) add to Latitude model an option group that includes leather-trimmed bucket seats, power 6-way driver's seat, power express open/close sunroof, and 225/60R17 all-season tires on painted aluminum wheels. Leather upholstery ($1,300) is available.
Compass Limited 2WD ($26,195) and Limited AWD ($28,195) use the 2.4-liter engine and the 6-speed automatic transmission and upgrade with perforated leather-trimmed bucket seats, 6-way power driver's seat, 230-watt 6CD sound system, 18-inch aluminum wheels with all-season tires, and tire pressure display monitor.
The optional Jeep Trail Rated Freedom Drive II Off-Road Group ($750) includes Hill Start Assist, all-terrain tires, Brake Lock Differential, Hill Descent Control, full-size spare tire, oil pan and transmission skid plate, fuel tank skid plate shield, tow hooks, engine oil cooler, trailer wiring harness, driver's seat height adjuster, and an off-road crawl ratio in the continuously variable transmission.
An All-weather Capability Group for Sport and Latitude AWD includes Goodyear 17-inch all-terrain tires, rugged floor mats, daytime running headlights, engine block heater, and tow hooks. A Security and Cargo Convenience Group ($695) includes remote start, a remote USB port, auto-dimming mirror with microphone, security alarm, soft tonneau cover, Uconnect voice command, and a universal garage door opener.
Other options include Uconnect with voice command; a trailer tow package with engine oil cooler, full-size spare tire and wiring harness; Garmin navigation ($495) for Latitude and Limited models. A rearview camera ($895) is available that includes a media center with 40GB hard drive and CD/DVD/HD radio.
Safety features that come standard on all models include dual front air bags, head-protecting curtain side air bags, seat-mounted front airbags, antilock brakes with brake assist (which applies more brake force than the driver is applying if sensors determine that it's needed in a panic stop), traction control, and electronic stability control with rollover mitigation.