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Eric's Autos: 2019 Jeep Compass

Eric Peters on

Most crossover SUVs can't cross over very much.

They look like rugged, off-road-ready SUVs, but they're really high-riding cars, with light-duty all-wheel drive (usually optional) and not much more off-road capability than the cars they're based on.

Except for this one.

What It Is

The Compass is a compact-sized, two-row crossover SUV that's based on a car -- like other crossovers -- but with capability comparable to truck-based SUVs.

It offers a 20:1 gear-reduction feature that operates like a truck-type four-wheel drive system's 2-speed transfer case -- but without the weight of a 2-speed transfer case.

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It also offers almost 9 inches of ground clearance. Combined with its more-rugged-than-most all-wheel-drive system, this Jeep can tackle terrain that's off limits to other crossovers. Yet it still behaves with car-like civility when the terrain is paved.

Prices start at $21,595 for the base Sport trim with front-wheel-drive and a 6-speed manual transmission (something else the Jeep offers that's becoming hard to find in other crossovers).

A top-of-the-line Trailhawk with the most-capable version of the all-wheel-drive system (with a Rock Crawl mode) and even more ground clearance, plus off-road M+S-rated tires, tow hooks, skid plates and various trim upgrades stickers for $28,945.

There's almost nothing that's directly competitive with the Compass as far as capability -- that isn't also a truck-based SUV.

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Copyright 2018 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
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