First Look: Jeep Compass
Realistic as a future Jeep
Modern sportiness is on the other side of the Jeep equation. Jeep's designers have taken that notion far beyond conventional Jeep ideals with the Compass. In the past, there've been different concepts with this name, but none so extreme. This vehicle, referred to as the Compass Rally by some, is the closest thing to a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo or Subaru WRX STi Jeep has ever dreamed up. Instead of coming to a rally-inspired vehicle by beginning with on-road racing, Jeep has come from the opposite direction and transferred it into the rally philosophy.
This concept is low-slung and as close to a car as you can get while still having off-road capability. Like the Patriot, the Compass uses round headlights and the traditional Jeep grille, but, as far as appearance is concerned, that's where similarities end. The vehicles share no body panels.
The Compass has a front airdam and matching cladding along the sides, ensuring no ground clearance. Two driving lights flank the seven-slot grille. The front two door handles are easy to see, though the designers hid the rears on the C-pillar. Fender flares are integrated with the body and aren't subtle--they jut out just as fenders would on a rally car. The rearmost side windows come to a point at the top, much like those in the Nissan Murano. Oddly, even with all these unusual shapes and design elements, the rear profile looks a lot like the Grand Cherokee. The Compass rides on large, open-design five-spoke wheels with 255/50R19 103V Kumhos and appears to have four-wheel disc brakes.
Representatives were clear that these vehicles weren't production models, but making them reality wouldn't be difficult, since Jeep used a production platform as the basis for both crossovers, and there are a number of engines and transmissions that could be used, including the 170-horsepower, 2.4-liter four. Any Jeep vehicles based on this platform would probably cost $14,000 to $18,000.
It's likely the production vehicles will be named Patriot and Compass; how close those are to these exploratory studies is to be determined. Of the two, the Patriot is much more realistic as a future Jeep. We're guessing a rally-style Jeep could turn off loyal buyers without attracting any new ones, yet that may be a gamble Jeep is willing to take.