The 2014 Jeep Compass: Finding its Identity in the Jeep Lineup

Jeep has officially announced three of its upcoming 2014 models –one of them is an impressive model that continues to improve each year – the Compass.   While in the past Jeep stuck to SUVs that were meant more for the off-road than a cruise down the highway, they presently offer two compact SUVs that are meant to be easier on the daily commute. When the Compass first debuted many considered it too soft for the Jeep brand, from its styling to the fact that it was a car-based design built on a front-wheel-drive platform. Meanwhile the Patriot, Jeep’s other compact SUV, debuted with more traditional Jeep cues, and was able to skip over the criticism. From 2006 to 2010 the Compass did what it could to fit into Jeep’s lineup and win over fans. In 2011 Jeep made a step in the right direction with the Compass by remodeling it as a miniature version of the beloved Grand Cherokee. Oh, and they also quietly upgraded some of the worse features in the cabin, including the hard plastics.  To recover from the bad reviews that the Jeep wasn’t a true ‘Jeep’, the automaker even added the Patriot’s Freedom Drive II off-road package; smart move.

Before Jeep released information on the 2014 Compass rumors were swirling that they were coming out with something like a brand new Alfa Romeo–based compact crossover. The Compass we will see in 2014 isn’t quite as game changing as that. But it will have gotten some major updates. A new acoustic-laminated windshield gives occupants a quieter cabin. Newly standard are seat-mounted side airbags, which Jeep likely put in place to keep its good standing for the IIHS’ tougher side-impact tests.

Exterior upgrades include 18-inch aluminum wheels, chrome bezels surrounding fog lamps, and projector-beam halogen headlamps on Limited models. The cabin of the Compass got some improvements as well, such as perforated leather seats for upper trim levels, and a new vinyl-wrapped console cover and door panels for the base levels.

A much-needed backup camera will also be added.  But the big news is that Jeep has ditched the often-criticized continuously variable transmission that’s been used in the Compass since its introduction. It will be replaced with a new Hyundai-designed six-speed step-gear automatic. It’s standard on the mid-level Compass Latitude and range-topping Limited trims, and optional on the base Sport model. The new six-speed also gives the drives the chance to have a manual shifting mode; overall the Compass should get a slight boost to acceleration performance.  If you would like to learn more about this new Jeep model, just visit your local Phoenix Jeep dealer, Earnhardt DCJ, or any certified Jeep dealership in your area. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Over the past three years Jeep has been continually attempting to address some of the original Compass’ shortcomings. Jeep made the Compass for a reason, and they have been determined to convince others that this model is beneficial for the brand. They have made compromises in its original design, and have reeled it in closer to its other Jeep siblings. From what we can tell so far, the 2014 Jeep Compass is sure to be a winner, just maybe will have officially convinced some of the original critics that it deserves the right to be in the Jeep lineup.