A few years ago, Jeep wanted to open the brand up to a wider audience, leading to the introduction of the Compass. Although the small SUV never really captured the hearts or wallets of the general public, it’s getting some updates for 2011 that should help it establish some credibility among Jeep aficionados.
With the New Year right around the corner, the Jeep Compass already is checking off its resolutions list, beginning with a refreshed body reminiscent of its Grand Cherokee big brother. The front has been beefed up with the addition of a redesigned hood with a power bulge, tweaked fascia, altered grille design, revised fenders, and quad-reflector-style headlights. Bright metallic trim and lower protective cladding encompass the small SUV to demonstrate the convergence of the on- and off-road worlds.
The rear end was also given an adapted fascia with a more modern look. Fresh LED taillights, a spoiler, and lower-profile roof rails were part of the equation; the top-of-the-line Limited trim will have even more exterior chrome. Alloy wheels with 17-inch diameters are new and supplemented with 18-inch aluminum or chrome-clad rollers at the Limited level.
Inside, it’s the same feel-good story we’ve seen throughout the rest of the Chrysler lineup. Little was left untouched, as the materials and overall finish were significantly overhauled. A reformed, three-spoke steering wheel gets a sound system, voice recognition, and cruise controls, while soft-touch trim panels and a padded dashboard were put on the build list. The center armrest and interior backlighting throughout the cabin are new. A more attractive and appealing navigation system, which is available with optional Uconnect connectivity features, resides in the center stack.
Three trims will be offered for 2011: Compass, Latitude, and Limited. The base Compass (also called the Compass to make it the Compass Compass) and Latitude start out with the 2.0-liter inline-four developing 158 horsepower and 141 pound-feet of torque. Five-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmissions may be attached, just like the preceding year.
The 2.4-liter inline-four, aka the World Engine, with 172 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque, remains the standard powertrain for the Limited and optional for the Compass and Latitude. The aforementioned manual and CVT offerings are on the table, and fuel economy is rated at 23 city/29 highway mpg with the five-speed stick and front-wheel drive for either engine.