Is 4×4 yesterday’s news? When it comes to a compact SUV, all-wheel drive certainly isn’t the musthave that earlier buying trends suggested, says Chrysler South Africa. That’s why the new Jeep Compass, previously a 4×4, now comes with front-drive only. (Other Jeeps, true to tradition, remain serious all-terrain vehicles with drive to all wheels and low range for heavy going.)
So, although the 2011 Compass may look uncannily like its Grand Cherokee senior partner, it offers a rather limited variant of off-roadability that now apparently more accurately mirrors market trends. Despite that, if you’re tempted to venture off the beaten track, traction and hill-assist aids that should offset some of the lack of true off-roading hardware form part of more than 30 tech features specifically focused on safety and security. These include standard electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, and Hill-start Assist. The suspension has been retuned for better ride quality, with higher spring and damping rates, added springing and thicker rear anti-roll bar. A 115 kW 2-litre petrol four-cylinder is standard, mated to a 5-speed manual transmission (a CVT will arrive later this year).
We drove the Compass around the Cape Peninsula’s more scenic areas and came away satisfied with its general dynamic qualities, comfort, practicality as a family car, and finish. The ride is well controlled, if on the firm side. Overall, the Compass comes with a lengthy, premium specification for its competitive price of R269 990.
Download wallpaper images of the Jeep Compass.