When one hears the word Jeep, it is usually associated with tough looking and behaving automobiles. Even I had this same notions however those were dispelled the moment I took a look at the new Jeep Compass which was launched in 2007. It didn’t feel or certainly behave like it was a Jeep car. After all, Jeep vehicles are known more for their utility subject rather than being used as city runabouts. However the newer or rather the 2011 Jeep Compass aims to mimic the Honda CR-V and is more for the crossover segment loving public. It is Jeep’s way of telling people that even they can make crossovers for the masses and ones which the utility public wouldn’t be even shy of flaunting. So today, I have the 2011 Jeep Compass for a review with me.
Certainly a lot more has changed from the 2007 model and that basically includes the design revamp on the front grille. It looks a lot more CR-Vish now. Not to take anything away from Jeep but then it seems design cues have been borrowed from the Dodge Caliber, Honda CR-V and also the Grand Cherokee. But that longish snout has yet to find any takers especially those who prefer small crossovers. Well, that is more of the sidish view but not from the front. The front view confirms to how small crossovers should look like. The 18 inch alloys look extra polished. The front bumper line however gets a plastic cladding attached to it. The rear shows off some of the Hyundai Santa Fe’s stance but the tail lamp design is a Jeep original and that is nothing much to speak about. A single tail pipe does the duties for dispelling the emissions. The multi reflectors located on the bumper somehow lend the overall bland looks some semblance.
The earlier Jeep Compass was much criticized for its plasticky interiors and thankfully the new one has got that sorted out. The interior materials, though not in the league of the Honda CR-V, have got some much needed soft touch treatment. The 3 spoke steering wheel boasts of audio controls as also all the usual controls that come with a vehicle of this size. There are only two trim levels available and those are the Base as also the Limited ones. Since I had the Limited Edition with me, I can specify it features. A driver seat which is fully powered, automatic climate control, chrome inserts, uprated audio system and also leather upholstery. Well, there are many optional features and some which I feel should have been given as standard. Some like the Bluetooth with voice command, USB port, navigation system and sunroof. Jeep are also offering an off-road package as well which is said to take the 2011 Jeep Compass further than where most of the soft roaders stop. While the front seats lack some room, especially for taller drivers, the middle row has no such issues. But then the cheapness of the whole package seeps in when one touches the lower surfaces of the dashboard. The instrument console is nothing much to speak about. The cargo space is a not so good 22.7 cubic feet while flopping over the middle row of seats reveal a total cargo space of 53.6 cubic feet. This is grossly lower than what its competition has to offer.
Handling and ride quality
While there was no fault with the earlier Compass’s ride or handling quality, Chrysler decided to go ahead and provide this vehicle with some additional stuffings under the hood as also gave it some suspension alterations. I can assure you that the 2011 Jeep Compass still drives and behaves like any other competent soft roader in its category. It handles predictably and also has a slightly stiff ride. However the cobbled roads of Alabama don’t even elicit a squeak from this small Chrysler. The steering wheel is also one of the more direct units and gives accurate feedback. The noise from the engine bay however is alarming and something which still needs looking after to.Though Chrysler have said to have moulded some noise deadening materials under the hood, they obviously haven’t worked on it with a complete conscience. Once past the 55mph mark, this crossover turns into a big racket.
2011 Jeep Compass Photo Gallery
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The 2011 Jeep Compass has boasts of two engine options. One is the 4 cylinder 2.0 liter engine available on the base variant which has an output of 158 Hp while the more powerful 2.4 liter engine raises the bar to 172 Hp. Both the engines are noisy at full gallop. The 0-60 mph time for the latter engine is a yawn inducing 10.3 seconds. Uptil the 50mph mark, the engine feels responsive however after it, even keeping a brick on the accelerator pedal would make the car to make only inch by inch progress. On offer is a CVT. The CVT is as laggard as the engine of the car. Both of these actually make a fine pair and I am sure that no one would call them as mismatched. Heck, I wasn’t even interested to know the top speed of this car. Even if I could have slept with my foot on the accelerator, I was damn sure that by the time I awoke, the car wouldn’t have even crossed 5 kmph. Safety in the earlier Jeeps was an issue and this one sort of remedies that. Braking however is composed and stable. ABS, EBD and many other electronic goodies do justice to the car’s braking. Fuel economy is also a bit on the lower side with 23 mpg in city and 29 mpg on the highway.
The 2011 Jeep Compass is a stop gap arrangement by Chrysler until they roll out an entirely new model and it is rumored that there would be a Fiat sourced platform on which a competent crossover would be built. The Jeep Compass, when it was launched earlier on, had fewer competitors and a lesser price tag. However with the 2011 model, it seems that Chrysler have lowered down everything and hiked just the price. The base model of the 2011 Jeep Compass price is $19,295 whereas the 2011 Jeep compass price for the top end model is $27,485. Very expensive compared to the fact that there are cheaper and more capable soft roaders available in the market.