2011 Jeep Compass Preview

December 13, 2010

Chrysler's revised-model onslaught continues with the 2011 Jeep Compass, restyled and with several new standard features to better position itself in the fuel-efficient crossover segment. Borrowing some of its new looks from the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Compass should have a broader appeal than its somewhat frumpy forebear.

Key upgrades for the 2011 Compass include a retuned suspension with stiffer springs, damping, and rear anti-roll bar for a more controlled highway ride, while a new available Freedom Drive II package steps up the Compass's off-road capability. The design is heavily revised as well, with a new hood, fenders, nose, and head lights presenting a more modern face.

Inside, the 2011 Compass gets more soft-touch elements, upgraded materials, a new steering wheel with audio and hands-free phone controls, improved cloth upholstery, and a number of power accessories as standard.

The Freedom Drive II system gains Jeep's Trail Rated badge, bringing a continuously-variable transaxle that engages in off-road mode, a one-inch higher ride height, skid plates, and a full-size spare. Appearance elements of the Freedom Drive II package included 17-inch alloy wheels, and fog lamps. The Freedom Drive II package is recommended for "moderate off-road situations," including steep grades, occasional wheel lift, and rock or log climbing.

For those with less serious off-road needs, the Freedom Drive I package is available, offering a full-time four-wheel-drive system with a locking mode to better handle deep snow, sand, and low-draction situations. The standard 2011 Compass drive system is still a front-wheel-drive unit.

Three trim levels are available for 2011: the Compass, Latitude, and Limited. All three can be had with any of the off-road packages, with the primary differentiation being on the level of interior equipment.

Power for the 2011 model comes from the 2.0-liter World Engine four-cylinder, rated at 158 horsepower and 141 pound-feet of torque. The engine is good for 23 mpg in town and 29 mpg on the highway with the five-speed manual transmission. An upgraded 2.4-liter World Engine with 172 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque is an available upgrade, still managing the same impressive mileage with the five-speed manual. The entry-level Compass trim gets the five-speed manual standard, with a CVT standard on the Latitude and Limited models.

The 2011 Jeep Compass will hit dealerships this month. Pricing and options haven't yet been released.


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