Modest visual refinements, welcome functional enhancements and a meaningful transmission upgrading highlight the change roster on the 2014 Jeep Compass. Still offered in Sport/Latitude/Limited trims, each variant of this compact 5-passenger crossover-flavored SUV gets its own minor revamp of the grille and headlamp bezels as well as body color mirror caps, a bit of new bright tailgate trim and taillamps with a "smoked" inner bezel. The Compass Limited also offers new 18-inch alloy wheels as an option.

Inside, subtle accent trim tweaks add a bit more interest to all Compass variants while the Latitude can be had with new sport mesh and vinyl seat coverings with light gray accent stitching as well as a Light Pebble Beige trim that adds new Tangerine accent stitching. The top-line Limited also gets a handsome Saddle Brown perforated-leather option. The 2014 Compass lineup also bolsters its lengthy menu of safety standards with new front-side air bags and adds a new ParkView rear backup camera to the options list.

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The most defining change in the Compass drivetrain formula for 2014 is the arrival of a new 6-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick feature that replaces the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) used previously. Developed by Power Tech it's standard in the Compass Latitude and Limited and optional in the Sport, which retains the existing 5-speed manual as its base gearbox. The Compass engine lineup remains unchanged, with the 158-horsepower/2.0-liter 4-cylinder fitted to the Sport and Latitude and the 172-horse/2.4-liter four standard in the Limited and optional in the other Compass models.

For 2014, the Jeep Compass will continue to offer three different powertrain configurations. In addition to basic front-drive, buyers seeking a bit more all-season security or need only light-duty off-roading capability can choose Freedom Drive I - a full-time, lockable active 4-wheel drive setup. For hard-core boonie-bounders willing to step up to the 2.4-liter engine, the Freedom Drive II 4x4 Off-road Package gives the Compass full trail-rated capability. It matches a special version of the CVT that features an integrated low range with a 1.0-inch taller ride height, skid plates, tow hooks and 17-inch all-terrain tires.

The 2014 Jeep Compass should be rolling into showrooms before spring. Pricing will be released closer to its on-sale date.


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