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2007 Jeep Compass Photo
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2006 Detroit Auto Show Index by TCC Team (1/7/2006)

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By Ken Zino

 

2000 Ford Focus Sedan

2000 Ford Focus Sedan

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Here’s yet another crossover set to do battle this fall with long-established compact cute-utes such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Ford Escape, among others. Jeep’s Compass is the brand’s attempt to capitalize on this growing segment and to introduce the notion of a more carlike Jeep to the Rubicon-tested lineup.

 

The addition of the Compass can’t come too soon for Jeep, which figures that current compact crossover volumes of 300,000 units for the calendar year 2004 will double or triple during the Compass’ life cycle.

 

The Compass shares its platform with the Dodge Caliber, the upcoming replacement for the compact Neon that appeared in concept form last year at Geneva, and a more traditional “two-box” Patriot concept that appeared with a Compass concept at Frankfurt last fall. The Patriot appears a traditional take on the "trail-rated" Jeep concept. The Dodge is a five-door hatchback, while the Compass attempts to incorporate more Jeep-like styling cues -- at least until you get to the rear hatch, er, liftgate. The Jeep Liberty, to put the Compass in quick perspective, is about five inches longer and 800 pounds heavier.  

 

“The Jeep Compass is an all-new design statement for Jeep,” says Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President – Design.  Still, the front is clearly Jeep with the traditional seven-slot grille, round headlamps and trapezoidal wheel wells. It’s the profile and rear views that depart from traditionally styled Jeep vehicles. It’s really the wells and the 17-inch aluminum wheels (optional 18-inch aluminum or chrome-clad wheels) that set it off from the Dodge. Look and take your choice.

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