Jeep Drops a Baby Grand
Once an embarrassment to the Jeep name, the 2011 Compass promises to be a competitor in the crowded compact-SUV class.
2011 Jeep Liberty 70th Anniversary Edition, 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 70th Anniversary Edition
Chrysler has been working its way through its lineup, giving nearly all 2011 Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles reworked interiors and revised mechanicals, if not outright redesigns. Along the way, Chrysler has been adding content to vehicles that had lost features and slipped in quality under Daimler and Cerberus Capital Management. The Jeep Compass, which made its debut in 2007 and was designed under Daimler ownership, never really had much content. It was widely panned for its cheap interior, buzzy engine, limited off-road prowess and overall lack of quality. For 2011, Jeep is aiming to fix many of those problems and to give the Compass an all-new look reminiscent of a baby Grand Cherokee. In fact, the look is unmistakable. In addition to the revised Compass, Jeep showed a 70th anniversary edition for every model in its lineup, each with special paint, badging and interior trim.
2011 Jeep Compass
What is it? A needed update of Jeep's entry-level vehicle.
What makes it special? Though it rides the same platform as the outgoing model, the 2011 Jeep Compass gets more than just a midcycle update. The styling is all-new, helping to distance this product from its uninspired predecessor. The interior is also redesigned, eschewing hard plastic surfaces for soft touch points and a higher-quality look and feel. Off-road ability is improved, thanks to the availability of Jeep's Freedom Drive II package, which includes 4-wheel drive with low-range gearing, a raised ride height, skid plates and tow hooks. The powertrain lineup stays the same, featuring 2.0- and 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engines, but added sound insulation mitigates some of the engines' buzziness.
When will it be it available? Now.
How much will it cost? Starting at $19,295.
MSN Autos' take? The 2011 Jeep Compass may not be the best vehicle in the compact-SUV class, but it is no longer an embarrassment, and the Freedom II system makes it the most capable off-road. Fiat has a long way to go in revamping Chrysler Group products, but efforts such as the Compass make us think Fiat can make Chrysler competitive.
Kirk Bell has served as the associate publisher for Consumer Guide Automotive and editor of Scale Auto Enthusiast magazine. A Midwest native, Bell brings 18 years of automotive journalism experience to MSN, and currently contributes to JDPower.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.
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Just a comment,....I cannot stand the extremely raked windshields these days, yes I know they're more aerodynamic, but they are a pain in the a-- to clean inside, and one has to shovel the snow off them in the winter, because they are laid back so far, and I might add once you get the windshield clean, and the vehicle warmed up, all the snow on the roof decides to slide down over the windshield causing you to have to clean it again!!
Sorry I like the design of the old Compass' better.
The new Compass looks very nice, the interior is equally pleasing. Fiat has really done some fantastic things at Chrysler in a very short period of time. I think that the Liberty Jet is a total waste of money. I wouldnt say that its polishing a turd, because the Liberty is not one, however the Liberty has decades old technology and so so looks. The money they invested on the Jet, should have been put into an all new model, one with 4 wheel independent suspension, a modern and fuel effiecient powertrain and good looks, something similar to the Grand Cherokee.