2017 Jeep Compass
With the expanding Jeep lineup recently adding the subcompact Renegade, one might have thought the aged Compass’ was on its way out. Well not so fast, as Jeep has just released an all-new compact Compass, making for a two-pronged small SUV attack from the brand. Plus, this Compass claims to have shed its “near Jeep” reputation. So is the new Compass for “real”? Let’s all be the judge of that.
If you thought there wasn’t enough room in the Jeep lineup for another crossover between the Renegade and the Cherokee, well you’re wrong, as that spot is now filled by the reborn 2017 Jeep Compass.
And while that might not exactly cause mass cheering around your workplace or ours, it will certainly create some buzz in plenty of the over 100 countries that it will be sold in.
The Compass still rides on a front-wheel-drive based chassis, though no longer the Dodge Caliber’s; rather, the Fiat derived Jeep Renegade’s.
There’s a choice of two all-wheel-drive systems, Active Drive and Active Drive Low. Trailhawk editions come with Active Drive Low, which adds low range and Rock mode with Hill-Descent Control to the standard Selec-Terrain.
The Compass’ exterior design is without a doubt much more SUVish in appearance than the compact wagon of before; drawing more cues from the larger Grand Cherokee than chassis-mate Renegade.
The front end is still tall and chunky looking, with the shortened 7-slot grille stretching fully between the black-trimmed headlights. A black-painted roof is optional, as are LED tail lights.
And, for those Jeep Easter Eggs we’re not supposed to fully understand, there’s a lizard molded into the cowl, and a Loch Ness monster on the rear window.
We do understand FCA’s Tigershark 2.4-liter I4; our only engine choice for now. Here it produces 180-horsepower and 175 lb-ft. of torque. Walking up the trim levels will move you from 6-speed manual, to 6-speed automatic, and ultimately 9-speed auto.
The interior appears almost upscale, more so in Limited trim; with little Jeep quirkiness to be found. Front seat space is ample, made more so by a very low console for an almost airy feel.
Seat cushions felt firm initially; but after a long day in the saddle, they proved to be very comfortable.
Rear seat space is good on headroom, adequate on legroom, but the cushions are harder and flatter.
Even base models feature a UConnect touchscreen center dash, but upgrading to navigation gets you a much larger 8.5-inch version.
A handy power lift gate is optional. Behind it is a good 27.2 cu-ft. of cargo space. Split, nearly flat folding rear seats expand that to a respectable 59.8 cu-ft.
As for driving; well, The Compass never really feels overpowered, merely adequate.
And that 9-speed still seems to be a powertrain weak link. It seldom felt like it was in the right gear at the right time, and was rather slow to make any changes.
We found the ride to be, somewhat surprisingly, very smooth, even with the Limited’s 18-inch wheels. Interior noise levels suffered a bit from wind noise around the windows. The kind that makes you keep checking to see if they’re all the way up.
Always wanting to prove their off-road merits, Jeep arranged for backwoods time in Northern California. We hit some real trails, not just specially created obstacles as many carmakers like to send you through. We’re not talkin’ hardcore stuff here, but this little Compass Trailhawk is clearly more capable than anything else in its class.
But, our advice is that unless you plan to do lots of off-roading, skip the Trailhawk and stick with still-capable lesser trims and save some money. Or, spend about the same and go for luxury with Limited trim.
It will take adding a few option packages, but comprehensive safety systems are available; including Full-speed Collision Warning Plus with Advanced Brake Assist.
Regardless of drivetrain, Government Fuel Economy Ratings are all very close to the front-wheel-drive manual’s 23-City, 32-Highway, and 26-Combined. Our mileage loop was right on at 25.9 MPG.
The Energy Impact Score is 12.7-barrels of annual oil consumption with 5.6-tons of CO2 emitted.
Compass base pricing ranges from a Sport at $22,090 to Limited at $30,090. But be advised, there are some 2017 Compass carryovers from last generation on dealer’s lots. Trust us, the new one is the one you want.
With crossover and SUV sales showing no sign of slowing down, FCA’s Jeep brand could probably put just about anything out there and be successful with it. That’s not what they did with the genuinely all-new 2017 Jeep Compass. It’s miles better than its predecessor. And, with Jeep more and more a global brand, this small and capable family runabout is certain to have loads of appeal both home and abroad.
- Engine: 2.4 liter
- Horsepower: 180
- Torque: 175 lb-ft.
- EPA: 23 mpg city / 32 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 12.7 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 5.6 tons/yr
2024 Toyota Grand Highlander
Toyota Goes Bigger And Better
The Toyota Highlander has been been of the best-selling 3-row family utilities for years now. But Toyota is always looking to grow their business, and now they’re attempting to do that by growing the Highlander. Say hello to the Toyota Grand Highlander.
Toyota has no problem selling utility vehicles; they currently have eight in their lineup to choose from, divided into distinct body-on-frame and unitized crossover families. Well, add one more to the crossover list, it’s the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander. Now, don’t think of the Grand Highlander so much as just a bigger version of the Highlander as it is an all-new vehicle. Longer than the Highlander by 6 1/2-inches, the priorities were to deliver true space for adults in the 3rd row while still providing more cargo room behind it.
Though large and in charge, it seems to take most of its styling cues from a much smaller member of the Toyota family, the latest RAV4. That means a big “hammerhead” trapezoidal grille, minimal overhangs, and different wheel designs than the current Highlander, all but the base XLE trim rolling on 20s.
Overall length beats Honda Pilot by 1½- inches, and 4½-inches over the Kia Telluride, so it’s a biggie!
On the road, there’s a Lexus-like refinement and borderline luxury car smoothness to the ride; above what the current Highlander delivers.
Though, there is an actual Lexus version of the Grand Highlander already announced, the TX.
The Toyota Grand Highlander feels very powerful too, when dealing with our tester’s Hybrid Max powertrain.
It sports a 2.4-liter turbo-4 with electric motor assist to deliver 362-horsepower and 400 lb-ft. of torque through a 6-speed automatic. All wheel drive is standard and max tow rating is 5,000-lbs.
But that’s just 1 of the 3 powertrains. Shared with the Highlander is a 245-horsepower 2.5-liter Hybrid with a CVT. The base engine is a 265-horsepower 2.4-liter turbo I4 with an 8-speed automatic. Both available in front or all-wheel drive.
Our Hybrid Max has unique front and rear bumpers, along with dual exhaust. So we let that 6-speed shift us down our Mason Dixon Dragway test track.
For such a big vehicle, it gets up to speed quickly, leaving the line with a slight chirp of the tires on its way to 60 in just 5.6-seconds. You can feel the EV motor boost at launch, but it also aids in keeping power delivery consistent all the way down the track.
Gear changes were very smooth and it felt solid and stable throughout the ¼-mile, which we finished in 14.3-seconds at 98 miles-per-hour.
The Grand Highlander preferred a more leisurely pace through our handling course. Still, it doesn’t feel overly big or ungainly.
Yet you could really feel the 4,900-lbs. of weight of our Platinum Hybrid Max through here with significant body roll and apparent understeer.
Light steering and an overall soft feel are additional indicators that the main aims here were getting the family up to speed quickly and down the highway in comfort.
In braking runs, there was a noteable amount of nose dive, but stops from 60 were straight and consistent, with a good 115-foot average stopping distance from 60 miles-per-hour.
While an all-new vehicle, there’s a very familiar unassuming quality-minded Toyota interior, with their latest multimedia system which gets a 12.3-inch touchscreen standard.
The 3rd row is indeed much more than an afterthought; access is easy even for adults, there’s great space back there, and belts for 3 occupants. Plus, they were even able to provide 20.6 cubic-ft. of rear cargo space. Folding the 60/40 split 3rd row grows the space to 57.9 cubic-ft, and there’s a generous max of 97.5 with all seatbacks folded.
But while still roomy, it does seem like a bit of 2nd row space was compromised; either a 3-person bench or a pair of captain’s chairs makes for 8 or 7-passenger capacity.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the Hybrid Max are 26-City, 27-Highway, and 27-Combined. We averaged 26.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
That makes for an average Energy Impact Score, with use of 11.0-barrels of oil yearly, with 5.5-tons of CO2 emissions.
Being the grandest of all Highlanders, no need for basic L or LE trims; the Grand Highlander is available in XLE, Limited, and Platinum grades only, starting with XLE at $44,465, which is certainly on par with what you pay for a top-notch 3-row family utility these days.
For Toyota, making a bigger and better version of their fast-selling Highlander was a no-brainer; and somehow in the process, they managed to seemingly shove an entire Sienna minivan in there. The impressive 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander not only gives Toyota buyers a bigger option to step up to, it primes them to be an even bigger player than they already are in the 3-row crossover game.
- Engine: 2.4-liter I-4 Turbo
- Horsepower: 362
- 0-60 mph: 5.6 seconds
- 60-0 Braking (avg): 115 feet
- MW Fuel Economy: 26.2 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: 6-speed auto
- Torque: 400 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 14.3 seconds at 98 mph
- EPA: 26 City / 27 Highway / 27 Combined