This bears some explanation. The Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot don’t look much alike, but they share nearly all of their underpinnings. And throughout these two models’ seven-year history on the market up until now, we’ve from the beginning singled out a key weakness: that dreaded continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). While models with the base five-speed manual have been decent, there’s been something about the combination of Chrysler’s already somewhat coarse and vocal 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter four-cylinder World Engines, combined with the tendency of CVTs to keep revs in a near-constant range during acceleration. What results has been a cabin with too much engine noise—even for an inexpensive vehicle.
For 2014, these models both get a six-speed automatic transmission replacing the CVT; Jeep notes that it has a wide ratio spread that should result in quick takeoffs and relaxed highway cruising—and EPA highway ratings range up to 30 mpg.
To complement that, both models get other minor improvements for refinement and noise insulation; the Compass gets an acoustic windshield, along with a number of small but significant upgrades inside and out.
As before, both of these models can be optioned up with more than the customary road-oriented all-wheel drive. Get the top Freedom Drive II system and you have a true off-road-capable four-wheel drive system, with heavy-duty hardware and skid plates.
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