Class: Compact Crossover
Miles driven: 251
Fuel used: 11.9 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 21.1 mpg
Driving mix: 40% city, 60% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 22/30/25 (city, highway, combined)
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||B+|
|Power and Performance||C|
|Fit and Finish||B|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Base price: $24,295 (not including $1095 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Customer Preferred Package 2XJ ($795), Navigation Group ($995), Popular Equipment Group ($995), automatic transmission ($1500), Beats audio system ($695), compact spare tire ($245), 17-inch alloy wheels ($595)
Price as tested: $31,210
The great: Roomy, comfortable cabin
The good: Ample cargo space
The not so good: Transmission performance
When Consumer Guide® was sent a 2017 Jeep Compass Latitude to test, the compact sport-utility vehicle arrived festooned with extra-cost packages and a few individual options. With delivery, this pumped the base price of $24,295 up to $31,210.
The various extras added some safety technology, connectivity capability, and comfort features. But of all the money lavished on this particular Redline Pearl four-wheel-drive Latitude, the most dubious expenditure just might have been for the one thing most buyers will want: an automatic transmission.
Front-wheel-drive Compass Sports and Latitudes equipped with an automatic get a 6-speed unit, but all 4×4 Compasses fitted with an autobox get the newer 9-speed that has come in for a goodly share of criticism. The automatic on the tested Latitude was a $1500 alternative to the 6-speed manual transmission standard in this model, but it’s hard to call it an upgrade. When CG previously sampled the more-off-road-able Compass Trailhawk with this same transmission, it dismayed us with oddly timed shifts and by being slow to kick down for highway passing. If possible, this behavior seemed even worse in the Latitude. It made the 2.4-liter 180-horsepower 4-cylinder engine feel sluggish and out of sorts.
Making things just that extra bit less pleasant in this reviewer’s eyes was the start/stop feature included with the automatic transmission. This fuel-saving feature seemed a little slow to restart after activating during full stops. Fortunately, it can be switched off at the press of a button. EPA estimates for the powerteam that was in the test vehicle are 22 mpg in city driving, 30 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined. This driver got 23.37 mpg after driving 197.1 miles, 55 percent of which was under city conditions—and that’s the exact gas mileage he saw in the test of the Trailhawk.
Though both ’17 Compasses that CG has so far tested are four-wheelers, they’re hardly identical. Sport, Latitude, and Limited 4x4s lack the Trailhawk’s slightly greater ground clearance, terrain-clearing bumpers, tow hooks, skid plates, low-range gearing, and enhanced Selec-Terrain system. The electronic system, activated by a dial on the console, tailors engine, driveline, traction, and stability controls for operation in snow, sand, or mud, though the Trailhawk has an additional “Rock” setting.
Interior appointments are slightly different, too. The Latitude cabin has a “sturdy” look to it. Seats are upholstered in cloth and vinyl, though the ones in the test vehicle had subtle contrast stitching in gold and white thread. Front doors are topped by soft material with a little bit of give to it, but the rear doors have unyielding plastic in the same area. Things like dual-zone climate control, an 8.4-inch touchscreen for the Uconnect infotainment system, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a 7-inch color vehicle-information display between the main driving gauges, and a 115-volt power outlet that are standard on the Trailhawk were included on the test Latitude only through its considerable stack of options.
While it rode comfortably enough for everyday commuting, the Latitude’s handling seemed a little more indifferent than that of the Trailhawk (which actually has a slightly tighter turning radius). Otherwise, a Compass is a Compass is a Compass. Audio settings are easy to program, and climate controls—dials and function buttons set below the touchscreen—are simple to use. A large glove box, a modest covered console box, pouches on the backs of the front seats, and storage pockets in all four doors handle personal storage. A pair of open cup holders in the console serves front-seat passengers, while rear passengers have cup holders in the pull-down central armrest. Interior space is adult-friendly in both rows, though headroom is better in front that it is in back. Entries and exits are easy but driver vision suffers somewhat due to thick roof pillars, particularly to the rear corners. Good compact-SUV cargo space gets even better with the 60/40-split rear seats lowered flat, albeit at about one inch below the level of the cargo floor.
In addition to items mentioned above, other major standard equipment for the Compass Latitude includes a rearview camera, Bluetooth streaming capability, remote keyless entry with proximity entry, leather-wrapped steering wheel on a tilt and telescoping column, push-button starting, manual air conditioning, 3.5-inch black-and-white vehicle-info display, ambient interior lighting, and 6-speaker audio. The test-vehicle’s option packages added driver-assistance technologies like blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts and rear parking assist, as well as conveniences like navigation, 8-way power driver’s seat, and remote starting.
There is a lot to like about Jeep’s redone compact sport-ute. If its powerteam just didn’t seem so lost, this Compass would be the way to go.
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