What the Hell Were They Thinking: Jeep Compass

Off-Road

The platform of a Dodge Caliber turned into a crossover Jeep. Fail.

What’s most important to know here is that Jeep is back on the right path again. But there was a time not so long ago that America’s semiofficial off-road brand began to deviate away from its origins. Despite the new Renegade and Cherokee being more crossovers than pure SUVs, both have appropriate off-road capabilities for their respective segments. Back in 2002, however, Jeep unveiled the Compass in concept form but it didn't enter production until 2006. The concept was powered by a 3.7-liter V6.

However, the production Compass had to make do with underpowered four-cylinder engines. Although it was "Trail Rated," the Compass wasn’t about to go anywhere except from people's driveways to the mall and back. That’s what happens when a Jeep is built on the same platform as the equally crappy Dodge Caliber. The base model Compass was also the first Jeep to come with standard front-wheel-drive. Eventually Jeep offered a revised suspension for improved handling and an off-road package, but it was really too little, too late. The Compass will soon be dropped entirely and Jeep enthusiasts will gladly say good riddance to a debacle that stained the brand for too long.

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