the peterborough examiner thursday, august 17, 2017

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Go-anywhere ruggedness and cruising comfort

Jil McIntosh/Driving

The Specs

Type of vehicle: Compact SUV Engine: 2.4-L four-cylinder Power: 180 hp at 6,400 rpm, 175 lb-ft of torque at 3,900 rpm Transmission: Nine-speed automatic Brakes: Vented front discs, solid rear discs Tires: 215/65R17 all-season (Trailhawk trim) Price: $24,900 base/$39,605 as tested Destination charge: $1,795 Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km): 10.8 city, 7.8 highway Standard features: Air conditioning, Uconnect with five-inch touch screen, Bluetooth streaming audio, one-touch up/down front windows, push-button start, 60/40-split folding rear seat, reversible cargo mat, heated mirrors and more Options: Fog lamps, proximity key, automatic climate control, customizable instrument cluster information screen, red tow hooks, rear-view camera, rain-sensing wipers, heated leather seats, HID headlamps with automatic high-beams, lane-keep assist, forward emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, eight-way power driver?s seat, heated steering wheel, navigation, autodimming rear-view mirror, remote starter, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, power liftgate and more

2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Jil Mcintosh Driving.ca My husband is a master of details. Ever seen those puzzles where you have to figure out the differences between two pictures? If that was an Olympic sport, he?d have a whole wall of gold medals for it. So when I picked up the Jeep Compass Trailhawk, he did his usual lookthe-whole-thing-over. And when he stared down by my feet, he said, ?is that Morse code?? Sure enough, the foot rest beside the brake was embossed with dots and dashes. Jeep designers like to add little ?Easter eggs? all around ? there?s a Loch Ness monster in the rear window surround ? and Detail Man figured that a purely decorative design wouldn?t be asymmetrical. So he found a decoder and sure enough, he was right. The pedal reads: Rocks Rivers Snow Sand. It certainly deserves the coded pedal, at least on the Trailhawk, which sports the most rugged 4x4 system of the four available trims and is surprisingly capable on the tough stuff. It won?t out-wrangle a Wrangler, but it performed far better than I expected when I drove it on a tough off-road course on its initial launch. The completely new 2017 Compass unfortunately shares its name with the outgoing Compass, a decision apparently made because the name will work across its new global markets, and by someone higher up in Fiat Chrysler than the North American headquarters, where the execs would definitely have known better. And to make it even more confusing, the final run of the old Compass is labelled as a 2017 as well. The previous Compass and its Patriot sibling were forgettable and plasticky boxes spun off the equally chintzy Dodge Caliber, and have as much in common with the new Compass as tapping out a Morse code message has with sending a Snapchat video. Handsomely styled like a miniature Grand Cherokee, the Compass shares the platform used by the Renegade and Cherokee. All trim levels use a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, making 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. The base Sport trim comes with two- or four-wheel-drive, and can be ordered with a six-speed manual transmission, starting at $24,900. It options to a six-speed automatic in 4x2 and a nine-speed auto in 4x4. The next-level-up North also offers two- or four-wheel drive, but only with automatic transmissions, while the Trailhawk and Limited trims come strictly in 4x4 with the nine-speed, at $32,895 and $34,895 respectively, before any available options. Four-wheel-drive models all have a full-time system that primarily powers the front wheels, but transfers power to the back when needed and can send full power to any one wheel if things get that sticky. It can be left in ?automatic? mode or be dialed-in for snow, sand or muddy conditions. The Trailhawk adds a low range with 20:1 crawl ratio, four-wheel lock, hill-descent control, a ?rock? setting for extra off-road ability, and unique front and rear fascias for sharper departure and approach angles on inclines. While the ride itself is smooth and comfortable, and the cabin is quiet, the Compass could use a few tweaks to its plain-pavement prowess. It feels heavy, which isn?t helped by the nine-speed automatic?s apparent priority of fuel economy over performance. There?s an annoying lull between the time you put your foot down and when the transmission downshifts in response, especially when you want some speed for highway manoeuvres. There?s an automatic start/stop system that shuts the engine off when you?re idling at a light, and it?s noisy and jarring when it starts up again. Fortunately, you can turn this feature off. The interior bears a resemblance to its Cherokee sibling, with lots of soft-touch materials and supportive seats. The Compass?s wheelbase is longer than that of the Renegade, with most of the extra space dedicated to rear-seat legroom, although it?s still a relatively narrow vehicle and three people across the back better be friendly. That also makes for a slender front centre console with less smallitem storage space than in some competitors. I like the Compass?s simple-touse climate controls, but they?re set so low in the centre stack that it can be tough to see which button you want. The Uconnect infotainment system is still one of the industry?s best, upgraded for $700 in my tester from the Trailhawk?s stock seven-inch touch screen to an 8.4- inch unit with navigation. This top-of-the-line system, included as standard equipment on the Limited trim, includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as new pinch-and-zoom capability. A rear-view camera is included on the two top trims, but optional on the Sport and North models. The rear seats and front passenger seat fold flat for extra storage space and the cargo floor can be set to any of three height positions. In addition, there is a reversible mat with carpeting on one side and rubber on the other for wet or muddy items. Despite its faults, the Trailhawk is still a comfortable little cruiser, getting off-roaders to their destination, and giving bragging rights to those who stay on the asphalt. And as a bonus, if you know Morse code, there?s something to read as well.

Canada?s Longest Standing Mazda Dealership

? 1428 Lansdowne St W. ? Peterborough On ? www.angevaaremazda.com. ? 705-741-1030

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