UPDATED: Jeep Reveals All-New Compass at Plant Opening in Brazil
Compact Crossover To Hit American Showrooms Early in 2017
UPDATED:Jeep's Brazilian media site has extensive photography of the Compass that will be on sale in that country soon. Of note, Compass SUVs destined for the United States will likely be built in North American factories, not the facility that just opened in Brazil.
Furthermore, the Brazilian media site's press release confirms the existence of at least two Compass models, the Latitude and the expected Trailhawk. Confusingly, both seem to feature a four-wheel drive operation knob that has 4WD Lock and 4WD Low modes, as well as downhill speed control. We only expected those features to appear on the Trailhawk, but they may proliferate the entire Compass lineup, at least when the SUV is optioned with all-wheel drive.
Distinguishing the Trailhawk from its siblings will be the trim's trademark black hood graphic, red tow hooks, two-tone wheel finish, and all-terrain tires. On the Brazil-spec Compass in these images, those tires are Pirelli Scorpion ATRs, as opposed to the Goodyear Wrangler SR-As found on the Renegade and the Firestone Destination ATs found on the Cherokee.
Both the Compass Trailhawk and Latitude models shown here come equipped with a 2.0L diesel I-4, an engine we seriously doubt will come to the United States. However, with the promise that Chevrolet's new Equinox will be available with a 1.6L turbodiesel I-4, there could be space in the American market for two diesel-powered compact crossovers. We hope Fiat Chrysler Automobiles agrees.
Jeep just revealed the all-new, next-generation Compass in Brazil to celebrate the opening of its plant in Goiana, Pernambuco. The Brazilian manufacturing facility commenced production of Jeep vehicles today, giving the company a cheaper place to build SUVs destined for certain Latin American markets. The Compass was accidentally leaked last week, and Jeep's official confirmation proves that leak was accurate.
While the company released limited details about the Compass, the images show a vehicle that looks slightly larger than the one it’s replacing, with styling that features a blend of Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Renegade cues. The roofline and overall proportions are straight out of the Cherokee’s crossover-spec playbook, while the rear quarter-windows and beltline look very similar to the Renegade. Thankfully, Jeep’s most attractive SUV donates its schnoz, giving the Compass a little Grand Cherokee flavor up front.
Interesting styling details abound on the Compass, with modern lighting elements front and rear. An unusual strip of chrome follows the roofline’s contours just above the side window openings, dipping down through the D-pillar to the underside of the backlight and around to the other side. That vaguely French-looking detail should play well in overseas markets, where Jeep is surprisingly popular. Overall, it’s a good-looking SUV and a vast improvement over the current Compass.
Inside, things look good as well. In the single image the company released, we see an unremarkable three-spoke steering wheel and conventional shift lever, and a terrain-control knob looks to be hiding in the center console just ahead of the gear selector. Otherwise, it looks to be business as usual for a modern Jeep crossover, with a Uconnect touchscreen, twin-barrel instrument display, and a few little cubbies for keeping odds and ends organized.
Jeep says the new Compass will come with 17 different powertrain options in more than 100 countries around the world. We expect only a few of those to make it to the United States, with the 1.4L turbocharged I-4 and 2.4L I-4 from the Renegade likely to show up on the options list. We’d also like to see the upcoming Wrangler’s 2.0L turbocharged I-4 in the Compass’ enginehouse, and is it too much to ask for a manual transmission? All-wheel drive is all but guaranteed, paired likely to a nine-speed automatic transmission with an ultra-short first gear to do its best impression of a low-range transfer case.
With the Renegade and Cherokee Trailhawk proving that crossovers can be adept off-road, we expect such a trim level on the Jeep Compass. The image of the red Compass above is likely just such a model, featuring a blacked-out hood, knobby tires, and red-painted tow hooks, which are three Trailhawk trademarks. However, the C-segment crossover will compete primarily with the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, and Nissan Rogue, so off-road prowess likely won’t be a major priority for Compass buyers.
More information on the all-new Compass will be released closer to its North American debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. Is there enough space in Jeep’s lineup for an SUV priced in between the Renegade and Cherokee? We’ll find out when the Compass goes on sale in the first quarter of 2017.