NEW FOR 2008:

– Auto/Stick manual mode added to CVT applications
– Cruise control available on Sport
– Auto-dimming rearview mirror, vehicle information centre and HomeLink garage door opener standard on Limited, available on North
– Tire pressure monitoring display standard on Limited, available on North (tire pressure warning light standard on all models)
– Standard luxury floor mats
– YES Essentials stain-resistant fabric standard on North
– Light Khaki Metallic exterior colour available with Beige or Grey interiors

All-new for 2007, the Compass receives some upgrades for 2008. More of a four-door sedan than a rugged SUV, it shares its platform and driveline with the Dodge Caliber.

The Compass comes with a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine with five-speed manual; it can be optioned to a CVT with Auto/Stick. Front-wheel drive Sport and North models can also be optioned with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with CVT. Front-wheel drive is standard; all models (except with the 2.0-litre) can be optioned to Freedom Drive I, which runs in front-wheel until it senses slippage and sends torque to the rear wheels. The system can also be locked into 50/50 mode.

The Sport model includes 17-inch aluminum wheels, full-length floor console, electronic stability control, floor mats, vinyl cargo floor, fog lamps, manual locks, manual mirrors, cloth seats, engine immobilizer, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack, tilt column, 60/40 fold-flat rear seats, tire pressure warning lamp, manual windows, variable intermittent wipers and rear washer/wiper. Front-wheel drive models include disc and drum brakes with ABS, while all-wheel drive models have four discs.

The North, a Canada-only package, adds air conditioning, assist handles, tinted glass, power locks with keyless remote, power mirrors, power windows, 115-volt outlet, removable and rechargeable flashlight, YES Essentials stain-resistant fabric, reclining rear seats, fold-flat front passenger seat, and driver’s height-adjustable seat.

The Limited adds 18-inch aluminum wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, vehicle information centre, Homelink garage door opener, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated leather seats, cruise control, leather-wrapped wheel, and tire pressure monitoring display.

Despite its lack of off-road cred – it’s the first Jeep in a long time not to earn the company’s "Trail Rated" designation – the Compass has proved to be popular. It’s well-sized for urban areas, it’s roomy inside, its fold-flat seats increase its cargo space, and the 2.4-litre works very well, both in manual and CVT configuration.

It’s a nice touch that all models come in front- or all-wheel configuration, so that buyers who want all of the Limited’s options are not restricted in their powertrain choices. Currently, although the Dodge Caliber doesn’t meet the federal government’s fuel-economy rebate, the Compass is classified as an SUV, and so although the two share virtually the same fuel mileage, the Compass is eligible for a federal refund.

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