Thursday, July 20, 2017

Versatile Compass provides memorable moments

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – I couldn’t remember much of anything about my last test drive in a Jeep Compass sport-utility vehicle … and that in itself was saying something.

Almost every vehicle I test makes some kind of impression, so I was anxious to get some seat time in the recently tested 2017 Jeep Compass Limited 4X4.

This ride made some memories, mostly good ones.

I received the Compass after two weeks of driving enormous vehicles, so its practical crossover size made me feel comfortable right from the start.  It looked good riding high on 19-inch polished aluminum wheels with black pockets.  The current Compass has some nice sculpting on the sides, enhancing its side-profile appearance.

Yes, the seven-slot grille still exists, but Jeep designers tweaked it by setting each of the individual chrome slots in a “Gloss Black” field.  Nice touch there; if anything, the front end stands out even more.

Mine was the loaded version, with a bottom line of nearly $34,500.  I wasn’t complaining about the extras.  A dual-pane sunroof was a bonus in the summer sunshine.

On the move, the Compass was responsive and agile … certainly more relaxing than piloting vehicles big enough to have their own ZIP codes.  The automaker’s touted “4X4 architecture" did indeed translate to civilized road manners.  In the ever-rising gearbox wars, my tester had a nine-speed automatic transmission.

That translated to pretty good fuel mileage at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the open road.

Power came from a 2.4-liter, in-line 4 engine rated at a max 180 horsepower.  The engine handled most chores well, but it was not a sharply accelerating power source, and it struggled a bit on steep inclines.

This being a Jeep, I put it through some modest off-road maneuvers, which the tester handled with effortless ease.

Volunteer passengers said they were impressed with the tester’s interior room, and they noted that they volunteered fearing a rough ride “since this is a Jeep.”  Turned out that latter concern was, by their own confessions, needless worry.

One of the target customers for this Jeep Compass is likely a suburban family with weekday commutes to make and plentiful weekend chores to do, plus a periodic desire to get away from it all and go camping.

Another prospective customer: An outdoors enthusiast who sometimes likes to pack a week’s worth of supplies and disappear into the backcountry … full well knowing the Compass can easily handle the urban commutes upon returning to reality.

And in both cases, the vehicle you get is priced well below rival vehicles that don’t have Jeep’s off-road chops.

Sound like your cup of SUV?  Then you might want to put the Compass on your test-drive list.

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