2010 Jeep Compass North Edition Road Test Review

Alexandra Straub - CAP staff
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It's Saturday and it's sunny. Hmmm, what to do? Well, if you were me you'd round up a group of friends and take to the dirt, being that I had the 2010 Jeep Compass North Edition, and I did just that. One of my friends who joined us owns a Wrangler Sahara, so we labeled our excursion "Jeep Party Extraordinaire" and, needless to say, had an extraordinary time.
The sun was shining (my terrible tan lines will prove it), so we headed east out of Vancouver up to Harrison. There we found a nice, gritty logging road full of dirt, gravel, ascents and descents that lead us to amazing heights and views. This gave me the ability to put what the Jeep's Freedom-Drive I active full-time 4x4 with selectable 4WD LOCK Electronically Controlled Coupling system to the test. Although it's not a standard feature on the Compass North Edition, it's definitely worth the extra $2,200 on top of a very reasonable MSRP of $18,795. This system, as mentioned, is active all the time and is definitely a great tool for those who love the back country or want to learn to love the great outdoors but aren't necessarily comfortable working with a transfer case. The Compass itself is also a great intro to the Jeep 4x4 brand as it showcases its capable technology.
On our out-of-town excursion and throughout my time with the Compass, I experienced its fully independent front MacPherson strut and rear multilink suspension in both on-road and off-road settings. I felt as though it performed equally well at both highway and crawling speeds. And when we hit the potholes, well, it didn't jostle me to the point of no return. Thumbs up to that! Throw in a set of durable P215/60R17 all-season tires circling 17-inch Sparkle Silver alloy wheels, and I'm driving with great traction and style.
Under the hood of the Compass was the optional 2.4L, 16-valve, DOHC, four-cylinder engine that produces 172 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque matched with the optional CVT2 Continuously Variable automatic transmission with Auto/Stick manual mode. This car doesn't necessarily seem underpowered with the standard 5-speed manual transmission, but when it comes to the optional automatic the gusto is not as notable. Acceleration from a standstill wasn't very impressive as I felt it lagged quite a bit. It was a fair bit better when it came to picking up the pace while already moving. I'm finding more and more that lackluster performance is the case with smaller displacement engines mated to CVT transmissions, and I'm not a fan.
When the Compass 4x4 wasn't trudging along the logging road, I had a rather pleasant time with it in the city. Its fuel economy is decent, using an estimated 9.1L/100km in the city and 7.2L/100km on the highway, so filling up doesn't cost as much as a Wrangler would. Thank goodness! I also found that I had pretty good visibility from all angles which made my driving life that much easier.

Also adding to my driving experience was the list of standard and optional features that were showcased on the Compass. While roughing it in the bush, the standard air conditioning and power windows cooled me down when I most needed it. The optional equipment in the Sun/Sound group, like the power sunroof and the Boston Acoustics six-speaker stereo system with subwoofer and two flip-down liftgate speakers, made the ride sunnier and groovier. Heck, it's not a good time without great tunes. Throw in the Sirius satellite radio and the tailgate party is at the Compass!
Where I feel the Compass falls short is with its exterior and interior design. It looks outdated from the inside and out and doesn't have the finesse that I would expect in an everyday commuter car in the year 2010, especially in the back seat. The cupholders are placed on the floor right in front on the middle seat. That pretty much eats any legroom the middle passenger would otherwise have. Unless your feet can't reach the floor, sitting in the middle is rather awkward.
There are, however, some nice soft touch plastics and some great features inside, but I find the cabin to be rather uneventful. I believe if the Compass received a major overhaul in styling, it does have the potential to be a pretty cool car. When they came out, that was the case, but now, it's time for a facelift.
While I might find the styling to be less modern, that doesn't stop these vehicles from selling. They're all over the streets. As mentioned above, the base MSRP for the North Edition is $18,795. With all the additional bells and whistles, the price as tested came to $26,720 (including destination charges.) That's pretty decent considering there are very few other vehicles on the road as affordable that come with a 4WD/AWD system.
The 2010 Jeep Compass North Edition 4x4 has the best of both worlds. It can perform adequately on the paved streets but also shines when it's off the beaten path. For those looking for an affordable and capable 4WD vehicle, head for the Compass.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, Jeep, 2010, Compass, $10,000 - $19,999,

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