The Chrysler Corporation has been shaking things up in the automotive world. Some of the changes they’ve made over the last few years have been fantastic, while others, at least from the point of view of someone who likes to get off the pavement and get out into the backcountry from time to time, have been less beneficial. That was the case, at least in my opinion, with the Jeep Compass a few years ago.
The vehicle fairies dropped one off for me to drive several years ago, and I developed an immediate distaste for it. It had very little clearance, it felt small and tight inside, and when I tried to take it on a slightly muddy forest road, it felt like I was going to get stuck if I kept going.
So I wasn’t looking forward to getting another one last week. But I tried to keep an open mind and test this one without any preconceptions.
When the vehicle fairies dropped it off, I immediately noticed it had better clearance than the previous model had. It’s still full-time four-wheel-drive, but the Limited package I drove this time has a selectable transfer case to alter the power distribution for different terrains, like snow, mud, or sand.
The Compass has improved dramatically – at least in the Limited trim package. It feels more thought-out, it has plenty of creature comforts to make the drive more enjoyable, and it is very capable of getting you where you want to go off-road. In short, it’s much more deserving of the Jeep badge than the earlier model was.
Just to make sure, I took that Compass out into my pasture, where I could try it out on some more rugged terrain. It handled the rocks, mud, loose dirt and bumps very nicely. It gets my approval for a daily driver that can double as a hunting and fishing rig.