When developing the Jeep Compass, Fiat Chrysler looked to capture the essence of the quiet and comfortable Jeep Grand Cherokee and work it into a smaller package. It’s for that reason that it will mostly appeal to more traditional car buyers rather than the hardcore Jeep enthusiasts that typically buy the Jeep Wrangler.
Despite its status as a ‘soft roader’, if you will, the 2017 Compass’ ’Jeep Active Drive’ and Jeep Active Drive Low 4×4 systems will prove more than capable for most consumers’ needs. The two systems, offered with a nine-speed automatic transmission, ensure the Compass delivers best-in-class off-road capability, Jeep says.
The 4×4 systems work in tandem with Jeep’s electronic Selec-Terrain traction control system, which comes with four drive modes: Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud. On ‘Trail Rated ‘Trailhawk models, the Selec Terrain system includes a ‘Rock’ mode for dealing with loose gravel and stones. Further off-road capability for Trailhawk models is provided through a Selec-Speed Control system with Hill-descent Control.
The 4×4 system is capable of sending all of the Compass’ 175 lb-ft of torque to any one wheel at a time. Additionally, the rear axle can also disconnect when the 4×4 system is not needed for improved fuel economy. Trailhawk models, which feature a 20:1 crawl ratio, also benefit from a 1-inch suspension lift – allowing for a 30-degree approach angle, 24-degree breakover angle and a 34-degree departure angle.
So don’t be fooled by the 2017 Compass’ upscale, mature looks. If you equip the crossover with one of the two available full-time 4×4 systems, you’d be hard pressed to find a trail too tough for it to tackle.