Jeep Compass: 2018 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contender

We like: Its styling and value proposition

We don’t like: Its powerless engine and slow to shift transmission

When Jeep launched the Compass, we praised its styling and the direction the off-road brand was taking by replacing two old vehicles with one. The 2017 Jeep Compass is by far better than its predecessors, but a gutless engine leaves us with a desire for more. Our two testers (in Trailhawk and Limited trims) featured a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine generating 180 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque and mated to a nine-speed ZF transmission.

Every judge complained about the Compass’ slow, hesitant acceleration, which Alisa Priddle characterized as “loud and painful, suggesting the Tigershark engine is struggling to deliver.” And the lackluster build quality, such as the yawning panel gaps and cheap interior plastics, was inexcusable.

Don’t miss all the latest Car, Truck and SUV of the Year content at MotorTrendAwards.com!

But off the pavement, most of the judges enjoyed driving the Trailhawk model. “This vehicle is very impressive in the sand,” Frank Markus said. “I only tried the sand mode, which locks the four-wheel drive, maintains lower gears, and turns off traction control. It never spun a tire.”

Sand might be easy to tackle for this Jeep, but most of the judges noted rattles when driving over ruts. “On the gravel road/Belgian blocks it creaked like my old body, and the split rear seat rattled, especially with rear armrest down and no passengers,” Gordon Dickie said.

The Compass looks attractive and is capable on the sand, but its poor powertrain and lack of refinement kept it from gaining entrance into the finalist round.

Read about other 2018 SUV of the Year contenders:

  • Audi Q5
  • BMW X4
  • Buick Encore
  • Buick Envision
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Maserati Levante
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe
  • Nissan Rogue Sport
  • Volkswagen Tiguan
  • Volvo V90 Cross Country

2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4×4 2017 Jeep Compass Limited 4×4
BASE PRICE $ 29,690 $ 30,090
PRICE AS TESTED $ 34,060 $ 36,250
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.4L/180-hp/175-lb-ft SOHC 16-valve I-4 2.4L/180-hp/175-lb-ft SOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION 9-speed automatic 9-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,656 lb (59/41%) 3,615 lb (58/42%)
WHEELBASE 103.8 in 103.8 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 173.0 x 73.8 x 64.9 in 173.0 x 73.8 x 64.6 in
0-60 MPH 9.4 sec 10.5 sec
QUARTER MILE 17.2 sec @ 77.2 mph 17.8 sec @ 76.1 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 144 ft 133 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.73 g (avg) 0.75 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 29.6 sec @ 0.53 g (avg) 28.6 sec @ 0.57 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 22/30/25 mpg 22/30/25 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 153/112 kW-hrs/100 miles 153/112 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.78 lb/mile 0.78 lb/mile

The post Jeep Compass: 2018 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Contender appeared first on Motor Trend.

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