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The Compass receives an all-new 6-speed automatic transmission, but only on the front-drive and 4x4 Freedom Drive I models. More tweaks to the interior and exterior help somewhat, as do new safety features like standard front seat side airbags and an available rear backup camera.
The least traditional of Jeeps launched at the most fortuitous of times. Usually, the arrival of a car-like, street-oriented, front-wheel-drive vehicle like Compass from Jeep would have off-road purists scratching their heads, especially since it's accompanied by a more traditional, truck-like model (Patriot) that will sell for about the same price.
While Jeep has made great strides with the exterior and interior enhancement for the 2014 Compass, its overall appeal still falls short of the benchmarks set by the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Subaru Forester. Wearing the "Trail Rated" badge may impress some, but true Jeep aficionados know this little crossover SUV can't keep up with its big brothers, the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. Riding atop an aging platform, the Compass doesn't deliver the same ride and handling found in many newer products, and although Jeep has addressed part of the performance issue with a new 6-speed automatic transmission, a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) remains on 4WD Compass models with Freedom Drive II, the most desirable of the off-road systems.