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2008 Jeep Compass Overview

In 2007, Jeep introduced the Compass to break into the car-based SUV market represented by Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Jeep chose the Patriot platform, which derives from the Mitsubishi-developed Dodge Caliber. They powered the Compass with an engine sourced from the DaimlerChrysler/Mitsubishi/Hyundai global engine family. The results are mixed. The 2008 model has few changes.

The Compass measures 7.7 inches shorter than Toyota's RAV4, yet it can seat 5. But there isn't as much cargo space (less than the Ford Escape, RAV4 and even the much smaller Hyundai Tucson), and the interior plastics are of the hard type. Yet, the ride comfort makes for a "tossable" good handling experience.

Most reviewers, however, fault the engine and CVT (continuously variable transmission) for not being up to the standards of the class competition. The 2.4-liter I4 makes 172 hp at 6,000 rpm. Reviewers complain that the CVT seems to soak up most of that power, leaving the engine screaming at 6,000 rpm under any type of serious acceleration. EPA claims 23-25 city and 26-29 highway, but one reviewer observed 19.5 mpg. 0-60 came up very slowly at 10.2 seconds. On-ramp excursions seemed to be of the teeth-clenching type, with the engine madly revving and the approaching traffic bearing down. The manual 5-speed was the preferred choice of available transmissions.

There are two trim lines and the optional "Freedom 1" full-time all-wheel-drive system that includes a locking center differential, but it is not a trail-rated system like the one on the Patriot. Jeep recommends its Freedom 1 system for daily use, including snow and rain conditions. Standard safety equipment includes brake assisted antilock brakes, electronic stability control with roll mitigation and front and side-curtain air bags.

Jeep projects that 60% of the market for the Compass will be females looking for an urban Jeep-type vehicle. However, the Japanese competition offers more refinement, though at slightly higher entry prices.

Updated by Anonymous

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