2014 Jeep Compass Test Drive

It's Not the Destination. It's How You Get There.


Globalization  has made our world much smaller than it used to be, and getting from Point  A to Point B has also never been easier. The excitement? Well, that's where the  destination planning comes into play. The world of maps, globes - even  sextants - has always appealed to me for these reasons and with a compass;  you've just put the icing on my cake!


The 2014  Trail Rated Jeep Compass begs the question, Where to next? Invariably,  it doesn't really matter where the destination is, as long as you get to travel  in this adventuresome, yet comfortable vehicle. Of the three Jeep Compass  models, I'm reviewing the Jeep Compass Sport 2x2/4x4 which is outfitted  with Standard Equipment, rivaling numerous vehicles that cost thousands of  dollars more.  Beyond the Sport are the North Edition and the Limited  Edition that take the Compass to even loftier heights.


Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Sliding into the very comfortable cloth-meshed bucket seat in the Compass for the first time was an absolute treat! There was no scaling the side of a small mountain  and no need for running boards or step-ups.  Another dominant impression on my journey home from the dealership was the gear shift, which fits more comfortably in hand than any I've come across yet - almost like an aircraft joystick. I almost wished that this Compass had a manual transmission, too, so I could constantly be in contact with the concave, soft-touch finish and Satin Chrome surface of the shift knob!

While there are several power trains to choose from when  buying a Compass, the 4x4s are pretty much exclusively outfitted with the 2.4L  1-4 DOHC VVT/CVT2 engine boasting 172hp and 165 lb-ft of torque - ensuring you  have lots of "get up 'n go" when needed.   Putting the gear into low and then locking in the 4-wheel drive (a very slick 'on the fly' operation) provides more than ample gusto to power the vehicle through thick snow or unfriendly terrain.  The chances of you getting stuck in this vehicle are almost non-existent. I had fun driving in this gear through a cratered parking lot and then in an uneven, open field.


Sometimes it's the simplest, most unassuming qualities of a vehicle that really make an impression on you. On her first drive in the Compass my wife absolutely loved this SUV with the little rubber-lined compartment in front of her where she could safely store her sunglasses and cell phone.   She also found a number of other convenient nooks and crannies scattered throughout the spacious cabin. This included a narrow shaped shelf above the gearbox - I'm assuming a great spot for some makeup. All of these storage possibilities come in handy for squirreling away travel paraphernalia, such as vehicle documents, maps, road-side kit or tools. If you're not careful, they are ideal for transporting an endless cache of cosmetics too!

The standard 2.0L I-4 engine paired with a five-speed manual transmission delivers up to 6.6 L/100 km (43 mpg) gas mileage - very efficient and environmentally friendly. I didn't see much movement on the fuel gauge in the automatic version I was driving, even after spending most of my Saturday tooling around the city.  On Sunday, I was able to have the opportunity to drive on roads with varying surfaces (asphalt, concrete, gravel, etc.) and I was quite impressed with the acoustic aspects of the drive and the number of safety and comfort features available in the Compass.  Road noise, for instance, is minimized by special windshield treatments and as the driver, I am able to manipulate systems such as four-wheel antilock brakes, Electronic Stability Control with Electronic Roll Mitigation, Hill Start Assist, Hydraulic Brake Assist, and Electronic Brake-Force Distribution.  Not only is this vehicle highly practical and extremely comfortable, but it also inspires confidence.

Mission Accomplished

An impressive aspect of the 2014 Jeep Compass is that it meets the standards (in all five categories) to be designated "Trail Rated" - much the same as in the stalwart Wrangler.  This means that drivers can expect superior performance in terms of articulation, manoeuvrability, water fording, and ground clearance.

Sadly, I tuned the Satellite radio station to "The Bridge" for my final drive back to the dealership and listened to Cat Stevens' "Cats in the Cradle". One piece of advice for those of you who decide to buy a 2014 Jeep  Compass; be prepared to answer the question, "Where to next?"