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2009 Jeep Compass A Crossover Among Terrain Warriors

The Jeep Compass was introduced in 2007 as a new breed of Jeep vehicles that were not geared towards off road capability.  The Jeep Compass is most certainly not for hard-core off-roaders. However, considering the Compass belongs to the road happy crossover segment, it can tackle light off-road situations with the Freedom Drive package.  Only automatic transmission are available, but Jeep does offer an AutoStick shifting function that makes the gearbox shift more like a traditional fixed-gear transmission.  The Compass comes in two trims, the base Sport and the Limited, in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. For 2009, the Compass gets an updated cabin. Although cargo space lags behind competitors, one strong argument for consideration of the Compass is its fuel efficiency.  The Compass looks like the child of the previous-generation Liberty and the current Grand Cherokee. The doors have matching moldings that dress up a deliberate accent groove. All models have black mirrors and door handles, not body-colored.  The 2009 Compass is 173.4 inches long and 71.3 inches wide; that's about the same as the Escape, but the Element is shorter.  The optional RALLYE Group provides 18-inch alloy wheels with performance tires, a body color kit, bright exhaust tip, driving lamp and spoiler.

Jeep Compass Drive

Considering its 4WD powertrain and 8-inches-plus ground clearance, not to mention its Jeep badging, some may be surprised at the lack of off road skills displayed by the Compass.  A new engine compartment and interior floor insulation reduce noise, while revised suspension tuning helps provide a smoother, more comfortable ride. The Compass and Patriot are Jeep's first models with four-wheel-independent suspensions. The brand's other SUVs retain a solid rear axle, which offers advantages in some off-road situations.  Fuel economy is decent for the class, but the 4-cylinder engine feels underpowered and coarse.  On the road the 2009 Compass is comfortable and stable and easily absorb most road imperfections.  Compasses have adequate power, but modest reserve power demands careful planning before passing or highway merging.

Interior Features

The Jeep Compass now features a redesigned instrument panel with a smoother look and chrome accents brightening new, round vents, shift bezel, door spears, and cluster rings. It excels at front-seat comfort, but offers disappointing cargo capacity. Cargo volume comes in at 22.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 53.6 cubic feet with the second-row bench folded. A new center console has a split lid for added storage space, while new door trim panels feature padded armrests.  The Sport's radio is upgraded with an MP3 player, and the Limited receives a 6-CD/DVD/MP3 player with SIRIUS satellite radio. Leather upholstery and heated front seats are available.  The Compass offers generous headroom while the seats are mounted higher in Compass than in Caliber, expanding ample legroom. The driver's seat is height adjustable on most versions.  Interior dimensions are rather large for the segment, coming in at 123.5 cubic feet of passenger volume, which beats the competitors by a good margin.

Compass Power

Standard on all models is a 172-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine. Manual transmission is standard. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is optional. Available on the front-drive Sport with the CVT is a 158-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. The Compass is not particularly quick with the larger 2.4-liter, 172-horsepower engine - compared to the smaller 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 158 horsepower.


The 2009 Jeep Compass is closely related to the Dodge Caliber, along with the boxier Jeep Patriot, and it has essentially the same instrument panel as the Patriot. Standard safety features on the 2009 Jeep Compass include: side curtain airbags, Brake Traction Control, driver-controlled three-mode Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Brake Assist, Electronic Roll Mitigation, and Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with rough-road detection. Front-seat-mounted side airbags are optional. Overall, Jeep's first and only crossover vehicle is a smooth-riding, affordable option within the compact SUV class. However, it lacks Jeep's trademark styling and off-road abilities.

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