Either way, there just aren’t any real stinkers anymore.
But then I saw the Jeep Compass at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show. Whoever told Jeep that this is what young people want in a first Jeep, when the only thing young people want is a used Wrangler – he or she should give their 100 bucks back and promise never to attend another automotive focus group again. It’s not that the new Compass, which Jeep Suits think of as a “gateway car,” is ugly. It’s just different, low and squat, with broad shoulders and fender panels that stick out like a fat guy’s middle belly roll.
But maybe it’s just me. And anyway, you can’t see the outside of the Compass from the inside, and all indications are that it will be a dream to sit in, with soil-repellent textiles, an advanced communications area, and a nine-speaker Boston acoustics sound system. The Compass is powered by a 172-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine driven by either a five-speed manual or a Continuously-Variable Transmission (CVT). Standard features will include standard side curtain airbags, traction control, a 12-volt outlet and more. Available options on the Compass include 18-inch chrome wheels, a sunroof, and body color body side moulding. Going off-road in a Compass is also an option, which tells you right there that the Compass is really only part Jeep. Available later this year, Jeep hopes that the Compass is attractive to young people who like the Jeep brand, the seven-slot grille, and just can’t stand buying a used Grand Cherokee or a Wrangler. For them, this car is the start of a Jeep adventure, and to them, this heartfelt message: it gets better.
Photos by Ron Perry