Road & Travel Magazine

Auto Advice & Tips
Auto Buyer's Guides
Car Care Maintenance
Climate Change News
Auto Awards Archive
Insurance & Accidents
Legends & Leaders
New Car Reviews
Planet Driven
Road Humor
Road Trips
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Teens & Tots Tips
Tire Buying Tips
Used Car Buying
Vehicle Model Guide

Travel Channel
Adventure Travel
Advice & Tips
Airline Rules
Bed & Breakfasts
Cruises & Tours
Destination Reviews
Earth Tones
Family Travel Tips
Health Trip
Hotels & Resorts
Luxury Travel
Pet Travel
RV & Camping
Safety & Security
Spa Reviews
Train Vacations
World Travel Directory

Bookmark and Share

ROAD & TRAVEL New Car Review: 2007 Jeep Compass

Jeep Compass SUV arrives as a fun-to-drive crossover

by Bob Plunkett

The all-wagon line of Jeep, DaimlerChrysler brand devoted exclusively to four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicles, virtually doubles count in 2007 with eight distinct products. Newest Jeep is a fun-to-drive crossover vehicle for the compact class called Compass.

ROAD & TRAVEL New Car Review: 2007 Jeep Compass

Formatted as a five-door hatchback wagon, Compass registers a footnote in brand lore as the first Jeep rigged with front-wheel-drive (FWD) traction. Compass defies the traditional body-on-frame organization of a Jeep SUV built on a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) platform by instead using the unified structure of a FWD car, namely DaimlerChrysler's stiff new global platform which also supports the Dodge Caliber.

"We're impressed by the lengthy list of standard equipment for Compass Sport."

Compass also has the independent suspension of a car. Instead of the solid rear axle of a typical truckish SUV, Compass gets independent suspension elements for every wheel. This brings more control over the vehicle for a driver and more comfortable ride sensations for riders.

With the car-like suspension and a quick-to-respond rack and pinion steering system aboard, Compass seems to eliminate all of the effort required to drive a SUV. It's easy to maneuver in city traffic, as we discover when threading through congested downtown streets in Portland, Ore., at the outset of a day of driving tests. And it looks sharp too -- so sleek in a taut package dressed with progressive shapes.

Compass stands tall in the traditional two-box format of a wagon but with all corners contoured and the horizontal lines chiseled and planed in streamline fashion.

The familiar Jeep signature of a seven-slot grille flanked by articulated round headlamps becomes a focal point on the prow, which tapers from a narrow top to the broad bottom with deep fascia adding visual solidity to the stance. Muscular features show up in the trapezoidal wheel openings with sculptured fenders. And note the black trim strip extending from the base of a raked windshield over the pair of flank doors to an integrated rear-roof spoiler. Front and rear overhangs have been whittled away and wheels on the four corners are proportionally big, conveying an impression of strength and power.

Despite the classification as a compact car, Compass has a passenger compartment of generous scale with seats for five and ample space in the tail for stowing gear. Layout of the cabin consists of a pair of contoured buckets up front and followed by a bench broad enough for three but with indents for two. Seatbacks on the second row split in 60/40 sections and fold down to extend the floor of the rear cargo bay, which has 53.6 cubic feet of room with rear seats flat or 22.7 cubic feet with seatbacks raised.

Clever concepts make life comfortable inside Compass:

  • UltraFloor, washable and removable vinyl covering the deck of the cargo area to make cleaning easy.
  • A self-recharging lamp in the headliner of the cargo bay snaps out of its housing for flashlight duty.
  • Right front seatback folds down to fashion a flat table-top surface.
  • Sliding armrest -- to fit a petite driver.
  • 115-volt power outlet -- to juice electronic gear.
  • Cradle for your iPod or cell phone in a flip-open pocket of the center armrest.
  • A premium sound system by Boston Acoustics adds twin speakers on the tailgate that swing down to face rearward for a tailgate party.
ROAD & TRAVEL New Car Review: 2007 Jeep Compass Interior

Instruments on the dashboard include white-on-black analog gauges ringed in satin-chrome bezels. At the center of the dash is a cluster of stacked controls for climate and audio systems. Below the center stack, a floor-mounted console corrals the transmission's shifter lever in a squared gate.

Measures for passenger safety in the cabin extend from the sturdy safety-cage construction to front seatbelts with load-limited and pretensioning apparatus, backseat restraints with upper and lower anchors to mount a child's seat, smart multi-stage air bags up front and curtain-style air bags concealed in headliners above side windows for outboard seats in front and back.

Compass also has active safety systems designed to avoid accidents, including the quick-response rack and pinion steering system and anti-lock brake system (ABS) plus anti-skid devices via electronic stability control (ESC) coupled to a traction control system (TCS), brake assist (BA), even electronic roll mitigation (ERM) to check a roll-over.

Jeep offers a four-cylinder engine to motivate Compass through two trims tagged as the base Sport and deluxe Limited. The 2.4-liter four-pack with dual variable valve timing (VVT) produces 172 hp at 6000 rpm plus torque of 165 lb-ft at 4400 rpm. It comes with a five-speed manual shifter or optional automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT).

ROAD & TRAVEL New Car Review: 2007 Jeep Compass

And since 4WD traction is a hallmark of Jeep vehicles, Compass lists an optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) device with lock mode dubbed Freedom Drive I. The equipment normally runs in FWD mode, yet an electrically controlled coupling can divert as much as 60 percent of the engine's torque to the rear wheels when additional tire grip is required.

Rack a lever to lock the center coupling and this system splits the powertrain's muscle 50-50 between front and back tires for tricky traction situations like slippery snow or off-road sand.

We're impressed by the lengthy list of standard equipment for Compass Sport.

The gear includes the safety devices like curtain-style air bags and ABD/ESC/ERM, plus cabin amenities like the sliding armrest, UltraFloor, rear seatbacks split 60/40 and an audio package with AM/FM/CD plus auxiliary audio jack.

Options range from the AWD traction and CVT shifter to air conditioning, seat-mounted side air bags, heated seats, a power sunroof and the Boston Acoustics sound system.

Jeep sets the MSRP at $15,425 for Compass Sport.

2007 Jeep Compass
Compact crossover CUV
Model options:

Compass Sport
Compass Limited

Engine size:





103.7 inches

Overall Length:

173.4 inches

Rear/Front Drive:

FWD, AWD/Freedom Drive I


Power 4-disc

Air bags:

2 (front)
4 (side curtain)
opt. 2 (side)

Fuel Economy:

M/5: 25/29 mpg
CVT: 23/36 mpg


$15,425 to $21,315