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JEEP COMPASS: 2018 MOTOR TREND SUV OF THE YEAR CONTENDER

MotorTrend has presented Jeep Compass as a contender for the 2018 SUV of the year. Well, they have some good points about it.
We like: Its styling and value proposition

We don’t like: Its powerless engine and slow to shift transmission
Here is a list of competitors, who participate in MotorTrend SUV of the year award:

  • Audi Q5
  • BMW X4
  • Buick Encore
  • Buick Envision
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Jeep Compass
  • Maserati Levante
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe
  • Nissan Rogue Sport
  • Volkswagen Tiguan
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country

Do you think Compass can make ait against all these other rivals?
 

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Wait, in reading the article, it ends with

The Compass looks attractive and is capable on the sand, but its poor powertrain and lack of refinement kept it from gaining entrance into the finalist round.
So.... it is not a contender for 2018 SUV of the year afterall?

They dogged it on build quality which is surprising to me, the quality of mine is excellent.

They also ragged on the anemic engine/power/acceleration and that I understand. If Jeep released a special edition turbocharged 2.4 Compass I'd strongly consider trading mine in, I think thats all it would really take would be if they could get some forced induction, bump the power up to 230+ then it would be just about perfect.
 

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For those of you with the manual transmission, is it any less anemic compared to the automatics? I have not driven a manual version and am curious how it compares.
 

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It's amazing how quickly the scale has changed for performance.

New Compass: 3400lbs, 184hp, 22mpg/31mpg city/hwy

for reference, 1992 Ford Explorer 4x4: 4000lbs, 155hp, 15mpg/20mpg city/hwy


I'm not saying anyone said the old explorer was fast. But it was "normal" for an SUV.
The Compass would smoke it in a race.

It may be fair to say that the current competitors are faster... I'm just not so sure it's fair to say the Compass is slow.
 

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For those of you with the manual transmission, is it any less anemic compared to the automatics? I have not driven a manual version and am curious how it compares.
I'd like to know this as well. I've been searching for a good review/test drive of this vehicle with the manual transmission, but coming up empty.
 

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Oh its fair to say the Compass is slow. You made a good choice using a ford for your comparison since they were on the slow end of normal slow for their day :p I think you've gone back in time too far though. Look at the vehicle my Compass replaced, a 1997 S10 Blazer. 20 years old vs new is about as big a gap as is fair I think.

Blazer:
3500-4000 lbs, 195 HP from a 4.3 V6, 17/23 MPG

And you gave the figures for the Compass above. The weight is comparable, the HP slightly less (albeit impressive they wrung it out of only four cylinders vs six), the MPG substantially improved BUT here is the other misleading thing about your stats: you left out torque.

1997 Blazer 4.3: 250 ft pounds at 2800 RPM
1992 Explorer 4.0: 220 ft Pounds at 2400 RPM ( eventually bumped to 238 )
2017.5+ Compass 2.4: 175 ft pounds and not until just shy of 4000 RPM :(

Not so similar now eh? :think:
Lack of torque, precious torque, is why the new Compass is slow. Its not a horsepower problem, its a torque problem, and thats what you get when you drop two torque-giving cylinders. I knew this going into the whole thing and its ok, but its definitely fair to call it slow.

A new Compass may pull away from a 1992 exploder in a race but thats more because of the low gearing ford is so fond of. The new Compass does not have a prayer against my old Blazer. The Blazer had severely under-rated 0-60 times as officially published but if well maintained (as mine was) I can tell you for certain its no contest, Blazer would win easily. It would pull ahead of the Compass in a WOT highway passing situation as well. And the Blazer was just "normal" for acceleration in its day :rolleyes:
 

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Oh its fair to say the Compass is slow. You made a good choice using a ford for your comparison since they were on the slow end of normal slow for their day :p I think you've gone back in time too far though. Look at the vehicle my Compass replaced, a 1997 S10 Blazer. 20 years old vs new is about as big a gap as is fair I think.

Blazer:
3500-4000 lbs, 195 HP from a 4.3 V6, 17/23 MPG

And you gave the figures for the Compass above. The weight is comparable, the HP slightly less (albeit impressive they wrung it out of only four cylinders vs six), the MPG substantially improved BUT here is the other misleading thing about your stats: you left out torque.

1997 Blazer 4.3: 250 ft pounds at 2800 RPM
1992 Explorer 4.0: 220 ft Pounds at 2400 RPM ( eventually bumped to 238 )
2017.5+ Compass 2.4: 175 ft pounds and not until just shy of 4000 RPM :(

Not so similar now eh? :think:
Lack of torque, precious torque, is why the new Compass is slow. Its not a horsepower problem, its a torque problem, and thats what you get when you drop two torque-giving cylinders. I knew this going into the whole thing and its ok, but its definitely fair to call it slow.

A new Compass may pull away from a 1992 exploder in a race but thats more because of the low gearing ford is so fond of. The new Compass does not have a prayer against my old Blazer. The Blazer had severely under-rated 0-60 times as officially published but if well maintained (as mine was) I can tell you for certain its no contest, Blazer would win easily. It would pull ahead of the Compass in a WOT highway passing situation as well. And the Blazer was just "normal" for acceleration in its day :rolleyes:
I agree on the Blazer - I had a 96 Jimmy (same vehicle essentially) and it was able to haul ass - my 2018 Compass, not even remotely. It is keeping me safe by restricting my lead-foot race car driver tendencies. Which is one of the reasons I bought it.

I'm driving a manual by the way.

We also have a 2017.5 Compass Trailhawk, so I have experience driving BOTH the manual and the automatic. The husband drives the Trailhawk daily - loves it. We have a LOT of hills where we live, and he uses the autostick a LOT. If it didn't have an autostick, I know he would be grouchy. That was the clincher for buying the Trailhawk in the first place - he thought it felt underpowered on the highway during the test drive, but really loved it otherwise. Found out it had the autostick after doing further research, so I gave it another test drive, and it made a HUGE difference being able to control the shifting, especially on take-offs. Hurts our gas mileage a little, but worth the sacrifice.

In my manual, I find myself having to drop gears a lot on the highway depending on my speed, and the grade I'm on, (again, it's kinda hilly where I am). I generally stay in 5th unless I'm able to do 80mph. As long as I'm in the right gear, it moves just fine. When I DID take the Trailhawk auto to work, I also had to switch to autostick because the transmission was just not adjusting quickly enough - traffic picking up speed, going up a slight hill - it would be in WAY too high a gear and unwilling to drop down on it's own. In another vehicle it might not have been such an issue, but with the Compass being under-powered already, the autostick is a godsend.

Grateful I am not at the mercy of an automatic transmission geared for efficiency :) We wouldn't have bought the Trailhawk for the husband if it didn't have autostick. I would have kept my Honda Accord if the Cpmpass didn't come in a stick. Although, I may have broken down and bought a second Trailhawk eventually - I kept stealing the Orange one from the hubby because it is so fun to drive. My Accord was boring - but it made up for it by being fast LOL!
 

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My point was just a sense of perspective.

I've driven MANY vehicles over my years. Including many from the 80's and 90's.
Maybe I just drive slow, but the Compass feels "acceptable".
It's faster than my '14 Cherokee TH. I'd assume at WOT (I've never raced them) but definitely 0-30mph around town.

I've only had one vehicle that was legitimately fast. An 06' Hemi Charger with 425hp. (and 400+ft-lbs of that precious torque!)

Otherwise it's Jeeps, work trucks, mini-vans, big SUV's, etc. And compared to those, I would not say the Compass is slow.
Just.... "meh" "average" "acceptable". :)
 

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For normal driving with the manual trans the Jeep works. It is one of the slowest cars I've owned, but I don't mind the HP trade off for gas mileage. However when I'm 20 miles back on seasonal roads, I would say its way underpowered when I'm halfway through a long mudhole. Haven't gotten stuck, but HP has always been my security blanket. :pat:
 

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Well, I won't be giving it much serious thought until my warranty is burned out but if I happen to still own and be enjoying the Compass at that point in time, it occurs to me a guy *could* by then probably easily find a wrecked trailhawk and steal the transmission and rear differential out of it to get the parts to change our final drive...

The Trailhawk has a final drive of 4.334, way more dig than my limited with 3.73, but the Trailhawk starts in second gear normally due to its programming. So... keep the non-trailhawk transmission computer so we still start in first gear but swap in the 4.334 final drive from a Trailhawk... that would sure help the ole hole shot. Could even run a lift and a 2 inch bigger tire and still come out ahead in mechanical advantage, gear-wise. Taller tire would help make the change less drastic.

Not 100% sure the computer will go along with all that, it might notice the tires are not going the expected number of turns for a given engine RPM input in a specific gear and get mad but... who knows. Will be a long time before any of these are old and used enough for someone to take that pioneering plunge I'm sure.
 

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For those of you with the manual transmission, is it any less anemic compared to the automatics? I have not driven a manual version and am curious how it compares.
It is slower all around. BUT, I don't have the anemic 9spd auto to work with. I had it in my '15 KL Trailhawk 3.2L. Girlfriend had it in her '15 KL Sport 2.4L and now in her '18 KL Latitude 2.4L. Off the line, she would smoke me. But, once I hit 3rd / 50 MPH I think I'd have a decent chance of at least finishing equal if not ahead. 1st to 2nd is a steep drop, yet 1st is a bit too short for off-road. R is too short too...I have to ride the clutch any time I back up.
 

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I'd like to know this as well. I've been searching for a good review/test drive of this vehicle with the manual transmission, but coming up empty.
Correct. I own one and have messaged half a dozen YouTube channels with no luck in a response.
 

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I agree on the Blazer - I had a 96 Jimmy (same vehicle essentially) and it was able to haul ass - my 2018 Compass, not even remotely. It is keeping me safe by restricting my lead-foot race car driver tendencies. Which is one of the reasons I bought it.

I'm driving a manual by the way.

We also have a 2017.5 Compass Trailhawk, so I have experience driving BOTH the manual and the automatic. The husband drives the Trailhawk daily - loves it. We have a LOT of hills where we live, and he uses the autostick a LOT. If it didn't have an autostick, I know he would be grouchy. That was the clincher for buying the Trailhawk in the first place - he thought it felt underpowered on the highway during the test drive, but really loved it otherwise. Found out it had the autostick after doing further research, so I gave it another test drive, and it made a HUGE difference being able to control the shifting, especially on take-offs. Hurts our gas mileage a little, but worth the sacrifice.

In my manual, I find myself having to drop gears a lot on the highway depending on my speed, and the grade I'm on, (again, it's kinda hilly where I am). I generally stay in 5th unless I'm able to do 80mph. As long as I'm in the right gear, it moves just fine. When I DID take the Trailhawk auto to work, I also had to switch to autostick because the transmission was just not adjusting quickly enough - traffic picking up speed, going up a slight hill - it would be in WAY too high a gear and unwilling to drop down on it's own. In another vehicle it might not have been such an issue, but with the Compass being under-powered already, the autostick is a godsend.

Grateful I am not at the mercy of an automatic transmission geared for efficiency :) We wouldn't have bought the Trailhawk for the husband if it didn't have autostick. I would have kept my Honda Accord if the Cpmpass didn't come in a stick. Although, I may have broken down and bought a second Trailhawk eventually - I kept stealing the Orange one from the hubby because it is so fun to drive. My Accord was boring - but it made up for it by being fast LOL!
I find myself, with some simple gear in the back and no trailer, dropping from 6th to 5th to 4th to 3rd to keep 60 going up a decent hill at highway speed. The torque is just not there otherwise. Around town, I can be doing 25-30 in 3rd and get moving reasonably quick. Passing on 2-lanes requires 4th or 3rd.
 
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