All-new Jeep Compass due for Australian launch in late 2017
OF ALL the new cars unwrapped at the Los Angeles Motor Show, one of the most significant for Australia was the all-new Jeep Compass compact SUV.
Although not destined for our shores until late next year, the small and attractively rugged-looking Compass should be key in reviving Jeep's fortunes after a period of falling sales, numerous model recalls and the odd bit of controversy.
Jeep is talking up the new Compass which is built on FCA's "Small Wide 4x4 architecture", claiming it will be the "most capable compact SUV ever with the most advanced 4x4 systems in its class".
The new Compass will be a truly global offering - it will go on sale in more than 100 countries - and as such its hardware range is vast depending on its intended market.
Specification and prices are unknown for Australia at this early stage, but Jeep says no less than 17 powertrain options for markets around the world will be used, with transmission choices from a class-exclusive nine-speed auto for 4x4 models; six-speed auto for 4x2 models or six-speed manual for 4x2 and 4x4 models. Five engines will be offered globally - three petrol and two diesel.
Larger than Jeep's funky compact Renegade SUV already for sale in Australia, the new Compass will be offered in four different trims: Sport, Latitude, Limited and hard-core trail-tested Trailhawk guise.
No soft roader in all-paw configuration, the Compass boasts two 4x4 systems, each of which can send 100% of available torque to any one wheel. Included is Jeep's Selec-Terrain system providing up to five modes - Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud, with exclusive Rock mode for Trailhawk models.
Jeep calls the new Compass design as: "expressive and emotional with a wide stance and exceptional glass-to-wheel proportions". A lovely turn of phrase, and certainly in the pictures - especially the Trailhawk - it's a big wheel-arched, high-riding and tough-looking thing that should appeal on Aussie shores. It's certainly a big improvement on the current Compass and Patriot offerings on the style front.
There's Jeep's distinctive seven-slot grille in chrome and gloss black, clamshell bonnet with centre bulge and a bit of attitude with black outlines for the headlamp bezels. A gloss black painted roof and dual-pane sunroof will also be made available.
In the cabin the centre console houses a 5.0-, 7.0- or 8.4-inch touchscreen, and is equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. There are "more than 70 available active and passive safety and security features" which will hold strong appeal to those seeking a Compass for family duties.
With the compact SUV segment booming in Australia the all-new Compass can't come quickly enough for Jeep.
Its current small SUVs Compass and Patriot will make way for the new Compass, and will sit between the Renegade (from $26,000) and Cherokee (from $36,000) in the brand's extensive SUV line-up.