Caraganza First Drive Review 2020 Jeep Compass High Altitude: Still in need of a little direction

2020 Jeep® Compass Limited

I’ve always said that if I was forced to buy an SUV, I’d want one that could do manly stuff; go off road, charge through the mud.  Not one of those sissy ones that soccer moms are afraid to get dirty. If you must take your kid to soccer practice you should be able to drive them onto the actual soccer field.

That’s why I’m sort of partial to anything Jeep.  After all they were doing stuff off road before most of us were born (including me, which means that they have been doing so for a very long time).  The Jeeps I’ve have had in the last few years have all been pretty hot. Chief among them have been the Wranglers which, while not the most comfortable or luxurious, are very capable of going just about anywhere you want them to go.

Some of the others have also been hot, the Cherokee in any configuration for one, and just lukewarm like the Renegade.

Jeep recently sent me a new model I never had before, the 2020 Compass. It’s classified as a compact SUV, and it is small, but like the others, it’s a Jeep so it ain’t no sissy.  Slotting above the Renegade and below the Cherokee in the lineup the Compass has all the goodness Jeep is known for.

For 2020, the Compass gets only some minor updates mainly dealing with newly available options on the base model like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and more with the Safety and Security package.  The Compass is available in four trim levels: Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk. There are also Altitude and High Altitude versions of the Latitude and Limited which add unique exterior accents and a few extra features.
2020 Jeep® Compass Trailhawk

My tester for the week was the High Altitude 4X4. Overall, it looks great; it has the Jeep look topped off with the iconic seven-slot grille.

The interior of the Compass is cozy, but not tight, with decent materials and features. My tester had the Luxury Seat package with a power-adjustable driver’s seat, memory driver’s seat, and ventilated and heated front seats along with a heated steering wheel. I also had the Advanced Safety package with such things as adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams, forward-collision warning and a leather steering wheel.  I also had the upgraded 8.4 touchscreeen with GPS and Sirius XM and a sunroof, a premium nine-speaker Alpine audio system, a power liftgate and xenon headlights.

The only, and biggest issue I had with the Compass was under the hood.  No matter the trim level the Compass lineup gets a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 180 horsepower, and 175 lb-ft of torque.  Sure, there is the off-road modes for Snow, Sand, and Mud that allow varying amounts of wheelslip for improved traction added to the all-wheel drive.  But, even though the power under the hood is adequate, I suspect that even with the Trailhawk upgrades the engine might limit the off-road adventures.

For those who live in the city however and want to have the ability to go off road in the country sometimes the small-sized Compass should work out just fine. It’s good but if Jeep ever decides to put a few more horses under the hood, it could be even better.

The 2020 Jeep Compass High Altitude 4X4
MSRP: $31,895
MSRP (as tested): $38,390
Engine: 2.4 Liter 4-cylinder 180 horsepower @640 rpm, 175 lb-ft torque @3900 rpm
Transmission: 9-speed automatic w/OD
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 22 city, 30 highway, 25 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested mixed conditions): 24 mpg
Base Curb Weight (pounds): 3327
Exterior Dimensions
Wheelbase (inches): 103.8
Length (inches): 173
Width, without mirrors (inches): 73.8
Height (inches): 64.8
Front Track Width (inches): 60.7
Rear Track Width (inches): 60.3
Minimum Ground Clearance (inches): 8.2
Liftover Height (inches): 29.7

Interior Dimensions
Passenger / Seating Capacity: 5
Total Passenger Volume (cubic feet): 99.6
Front Head Room (inches): 39.2
Front Leg Room (inches): 41.8
Front Shoulder Room (inches): 56.7
Front Hip Room (inches): 54.1
Second Row Head Room (inches): 38.5
Second Row Leg Room (inches): 38.3
Second Row Shoulder Room (inches): 55.1
Second Row Hip Room (inches): 49.2
Cargo Space/Area Width at Beltline (inches): 42.1
Cargo Bed Width Between Wheelhousings (inches): 38.1
Cargo Bed Height (inches): 27.2
Cargo Space/Area Behind Front Row (cubic feet): 59.8
Cargo Space/Area Behind Second Row (cubic feet): 27.2
Cargo Space/Area Behind Third Row (cubic feet): 27.2

Basic: 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain: 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion: 5 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance: 5 Years/60,000 Miles

Greg Engle