2017 Jeep Compass

2017 Jeep Compass

Episode 3639
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

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
2023 Mazda3

2023 Mazda3

Still The Same Mazda3, Just A Bit Better

Episode 4304
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When the fourth-gen Mazda3 arrived for 2019, it grew a little more stylish, a lot more upscale; and loads more practical too, adding all-wheel drive into the mix for the first time. How does it get better than that? Well, for ’23 the 3 adds an engine update that promises to deliver more power and better efficiency. Time to speak truth to this power.

The Mazda3 has always been a great compact car, big on both fun and value, and has earned numerous MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Awards over the years. This current-gen has been on the road for 4-years now, and it gets even better for 2023.

Starting with the powertrain, the base 2.0-liter I4 has been eliminated leaving just 2 versions of the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, turbo and non-turbo. Base versions get a 5-horsepower bump to 191-horsepower, along with updates for its cylinder deactivation system. The 2.5 Turbo fits standard all-wheel drive and outputs the same 250-horsepower and 320 lb-ft. of torque as last year; provided you use Premium gas. Max ratings drop to 227-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. with Regular.

2023 Mazda3 6
2023 Mazda3 2
2023 Mazda3 5
2023 Mazda3 3
2023 Mazda3 4
2023 Mazda3 62023 Mazda3 22023 Mazda3 52023 Mazda3 32023 Mazda3 4

A 6-speed manual transmission remains available in front-wheel drive 3s, but AWDs come exclusively with a sport-tuned 6-speed automatic. We found it well-sorted and seemingly always on the same page as us whether we were shuffling through back roads or sitting in traffic. There is a softer overall feel compared to Mazda3s of old, which you’ll appreciate when encountering harsh pavement, but it still feels plenty agile when called upon.

That softer feel certainly carries over inside, where it has gotten much quieter, and quite nicely finished, consistent with Mazda’s Audi-like premium intentions. All 3s get an 8.8-inch center display, and all of the fingerprints on our test car’s screen signifies most people assume it’s a touchscreen. It’s not, however, as inputs are made with a rotary controller on the console. It’s not the most intuitive system, but once you’re past the learning curve, it’s tolerable.

The rear seat room doesn’t have the roomy feel of the Subaru Impreza, but space is certainly more than adequate compared to the rest of the compact set. Rear cargo space for this hatchback rates a good 20.1 cubic-ft. with trunk space in the sedan coming in at 13.2 cubic-ft. So yes, the Mazda3 remains available in both sedan and hatchback, but we still prefer the 5-door hatch both for its practicality and for its sporty looks. Top Turbo Premium Plus gets gloss black aero treatments including a roof spoiler and front air dam.

At the test track, power from the 2.5-turbo felt more than adequate off the line, using all-wheel-drive grip to bite into the pavement and get up and go to 60 in 6.0-seconds flat. There was virtually no turbo lag, and the engine felt nicely refined with its power delivery. Transmission operation was equally as smooth and kept the power flowing quite effectively throughout the ¼-mile, which ended in 14.5-seconds at 95 miles-per-hour. We really appreciate a well-tuned 6-speed in this world of overactive 8 and 10 speed automatics.

2023 Mazda3 1

While there was definitely some understeer to manage in our handling course, the 3 turned in quickly and provided real, sporting feedback through our cone course. I-Activ AWD features G-Vectoring Control Plus, which uses both engine torque vectoring as well as selective braking to minimize body roll, and preserve the lively feel we’ve come to expect from Mazda. In panic braking runs, the pedal was soft, but that kept ABS pulsing to a minimum; and the results were great, as we averaged a very short 106-feet from 60, with minimal nose dive and stable, straight stops.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for an all-wheel drive Turbo are 23-City, 31-Highway, and 26-Combined; we averaged a good 28.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular.

Obviously by eliminating the previous base engine, prices have taken a jump for ’23, but so has everything else. Still they remain more than reasonable. The base S now starts at $26,855, with the top Turbo Premium Plus at $37,815, with many options in between. And sedan prices are even more sensible, starting at $23,715.

Like most brands, Mazda seems to be going all-in on SUVs; as the 3 is the last family sedan and hatchback in their lineup. And it would be a real shame if that were to change. As the 2023 Mazda3, the hatchback in particular, is just about the perfect car, offering utility vehicles levels of practicality along with better than average luxury, plus handling performance that few crossovers can match. So, long live the Mazda3!


As Tested

  • Engine: 2.5-liter Turbo-4
  • Horsepower: 227 | 250
  • 0-60 mph: 6.0 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 106 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.4 MPG (Regular)
  • Transmission: 6-speed auto
  • Torque: 310 lb-ft. | 320 lb-ft
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.5-seconds at 95 mph
  • EPA: 23-City / 31-Highway / 26-Combined