It's quite telling that on a day when Ann Arbor was being blanketed with snow, the Compass slipped all the way down to this humble writer. Put a Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, or any other real Jeep on the car board when the white stuff is falling, and I guarantee that an editor with a higher position on the masthead snatches the keys.
In any event, the Compass was as competent in the snow as any cute-ute with all-wheel drive. In most other respects, however, it falls rather short. Like everyone else, I can't fathom paying $30,000 for such a cheap interior and unrefined powertrain when Honda, Toyota, and Chevy have much fresher offerings. The only way this vehicle makes sense is as a very scarcely equipped and heavily discounted bargain.
It wouldn't take much to make the Compass more competitive - better dash materials, more insulation, and possibly a conventional automatic transmission would go a long way - but for the sake of the Jeep brand, I hope it simply disappears.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor