Jeep Compass review

Jeep is billing the Compass as a competitor for small SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. That's a lofty comparison, and even though the Compass costs as much as those vehicles when given just a few options — like a continuously variable transmission and 4x4 — it is not a small SUV. Even with the Jeep name on the front, the Compass is clearly a car. Yes, you heard me, a car.

It might look like an SUV, but its dimensions, suspension, ride height and driving personality are all car. Why is this important? Two reasons: Consumers are being sold one thing and getting another, and when you make the right comparisons, the Compass doesn't hold up to its real-car competition.

While the Compass is adequate and in some regards above average, it isn't going to set the world on fire. It's a gamble by Chrysler, which is not in the best financial position right now. It's interesting to note that when the Compass was given the green light — along with its more handsome sibling, the upcoming Jeep Patriot, and Dodge's already released Caliber — Chrysler was awash in profits. Company execs were so giddy that instead of green-lighting one Jeep car/SUV to be built alongside the Caliber, they approved two. Now that decision is coming back to haunt them.

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