Jeep finally gives the Compass a traditional six-speed automatic transmission for 2014. Unfortunately, the Freedom Drive II all-wheel-drive system isn't available with the new transmission, so buyers looking for the most capable 2014 Jeep Compass for off-roading will be forced to live with the CVT we've panned for the past few years. At least the Jeep Compass now includes standard front-seat-mounted airbags for 2014...
The Jeep Compass has had a rough life since it was introduced in 2006 as a 2007 model. A compromised front-wheel-drive platform underpins the Compass and its Patriot twin, which never resonated very well with Jeep loyalists. Jeep has provided significant updates to the Compass since 2011, but it's still one of the least exciting vehicles on the market. Although we're not big fans of the 2014 Jeep Compass, it has grown to be a handsome and surprisingly capable off-road vehicle when properly equipped. If nothing else, the well-documented shortcomings of the Compass should make it easy to haggle with a salesperson for a hefty discount over the optimistic sticker price. Those content to live without a Jeep badge in their garage would be better served by a Kia Sportage or even a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.
The 2014 Jeep Compass is a fitting swan song. This poor model soldiered on for six years with miserable continuously variable transmissions and rough, unrefined engines. Now there's a proper automatic transmission to be had, handsome exterior looks, and a surprisingly nice interior. Despite all of those improvements, the Compass still feels like too little, too late when compared to other small crossovers. No matter how much polish is applied to the package, the Compass is built around an old platform that wasn't highly competitive when it was new.
While we generally dislike the 2014 Jeep Compass, we're impressed that Jeep keeps updating this model. A minor face-lift and the optional six-speed automatic transmission are the primary changes for 2014. After years of incremental upgrades, the Compass now comes standard with side airbags for the front and rear seats, electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, air-conditioning, power windows and locks, keyless entry, cruise control, foglights, illuminated cupholders, a rechargeable flashlight with integrated holder, an exterior temperature display, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat.
When equipped with the optional Freedom Drive II 4x4 off-road package, the Compass earns Jeep's Trail Rated badge. That package includes a CVT with an off-road-friendly low range, seventeen-inch all-terrain tires, an inch higher ride height, skid plates, tow hooks, and a full-size spare tire. Although the Compass will never match the Wrangler's off-road credentials, it will still tackle more extreme terrain than most owners can stomach with the Freedom Drive II package.
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