Although it's still quite a value, the Compass Limited is starting to get away from the break-in buyer market. But if you're buying a brand-new car, you're probably going to keep it for a few years, and a few years is a long time to go without some of the basic equipment that most of us are used to.
A lot of that basic equipment - air conditioning, power windows, power locks, keyless entry - could only be opted on with the base-model Sport. But the Limited adds all that, plus tinted glass, leather seats (with heaters) and steering wheel, an AC power outlet in the center console, and all-season performance tires on 18-inch rims. These upgraded wheels boost the ground clearance to 8.4 inches.
The 172-horsepower, 2.4-liter engine was designed for fuel economy, with the 4x2 approaching - and perhaps even reaching - 30 mpg on the highway. Transmission choices are the standard 5-speed manual or the available AutoStick continuously variable transaxle. This smooth auto tranny constantly adjusts electronically to emphasize power or efficiency, depending no the immediate situational need. The AutoStick features allows the driver to control the gears manually.
Occupant safety gets some serious attention in this vehicle; standard equipment includes multi-stage driver and front passenger air bags (side-curtain units are available), ABS, and Jeep's ESP. This is the Electronic Stability Program, a cooperative endeavor of the brakes with traction control and electronic roll mitigation. It won't prevent every accident, but it's nice to have.
There are three different modes for selection on the ESP: Full, Full Off, and Snow. The Snow mode allows a bit of wheel slippage, which is appropriate in winter driving conditions.
A couple of quirky features should enhance the fun of owning a Compass. The cargo area has a vinyl floor that can be easily hosed off after that springtime trip to the garden center. There's also a dome light above this area that converts to a flashlight when it's popped out of its space, which doubles as a charger.
Your Compass Limited won't be fully loaded without the upgraded stereo with Sirius Satellite Radio, the UConnect hands-free (Bluetooth-compatible) communications system, or the power sunroof. Tailgaters will love the articulating rear speakers, which fold out from the hatch to direct the audio outward; this fun feature comes with the upgraded audio system. A DVD-based navigation system will also be offered.