The 2016 Jeep Compass Latitude 4×4 small SUV, that we tested over Thanksgiving week, is a whole lot more Jeep than it gets credit for. Yes, we know Compass is an older platform and not as whip-snappy fresh and shiny as the new Cherokee 4×4 or the just arrived Renegade 4×4 nor is it the luxury Grand Cherokee Overland 4×4 and it does not claim to be a traditional Jeep Wrangler 4×4. So what is it?
The Compass Latitude 4×4 for 2016 presents a very nice blending of the urban styling of Grand Cherokee in a bit smaller and more utilitarian package coupled with traditional Jeep off-road capability – all at an affordable price.
Sadly, Compass is going away after 2016, to be replaced with a newer and shinier model, but in the meantime, it is an exceptional Jeep value that consumers need to look at now – while they are still available to order.
So what does Compass have that makes it every bit a Jeep as any of the rest of the family? TRAIL RATED. Simply, those two words make Compass as legitimately an iconic Jeep as the rest – yes , on an older platform and short a few whistles and bells – but with all of the road and off-road capability of the others. Certified by Jeep on the 17-mile Rubicon Trail – passing all of required tests.
The 2016 Compass when, when equipped as the Latitude 4×4 we tested, passes all of the Trail Rated challenges found on the Rubicon include Traction, Water Fording, Maneuverability, Articulation and Ground Clearance.
The Trail Rated badge on Compass confirms it to be solid Jeep – off-road capable, mud-slinging, sand throwing, water fording, rock climbing, and go anywhere SUV – including the mall and taking the kids to school too.
Some of the Rubicon tested Compass Latitude performance features confirmed include:
- Traction is delivered by the CVT2L with Freedom Drive II 4×4 and Hill Descent Control featuring a distinctive brake traction differential that applies brake pressure (similar to a locking differential) to initiate extra traction when needed – a 19:1 Crawl Ratio
- Water Fording is no problem, able to handle water up to 19 inches deep
- Maneuverability on tight and narrow trails through its small footprint (track under 60-inches) and tight turn radius of 17.8 feet.
- Articulation on Compass measures front wheel travel of 6.6-inches and rear-wheel travel of 7.8-inches
- Ground Clearance for Compass (which includes skid plates ‘just in case’) is 9.1-inches
Further, the Compass Latitude 4×4 with Freedom Drive II has an approach angle of 29.6 degrees, breakover angle of 23.6 degrees and departure angle of 9.1 degrees.
2016 Jeep Compass Latitude 4×4
Our Trail Rated 2016 Jeep Compass Latitude 4×4 arrived for our week of driving clad in Rich Cherry Red Crystal Pearl Coat paint with Dark Slate Gray interior. It was powered by the 2.4L I-4 engine producing 172 horsepower with 165 lb.-ft. of torque delivered to the road through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). As equipped, our Compass Latitude was fuel economy rated at 20/23 mpg city/highway and 21 mpg combined.
Standard on the 2016 Jeep Compass Latitude are automatic headlamps, heated cloth front seats, driver seat height adjuster, 60/40 rear seat recline, power windows, power door locks, keyless, illuminated entry, remote start, 115-volt power inverter and leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and speed controls.
Other standard features include: acoustic laminated front windshield glass electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, brake assist, Hill-start Assist, anti-lock front disc and rear drum brakes, air conditioning, Uconnect handsfree, SiriusXM Radio, power-heated fold-away exterior mirrors, illuminated keyless entry, illuminated cup holders, floor mats, outside temperature display, tilt steering column, speed control, rear 60/40 split folding seat, fold-flat rear seat, cruise control, projector fog lamps, deep tint glass, rear window wiper/washer and powder-coated roof side rails.
The Freedom Drive II Off-road Package ($750) on our Latitude – making it Trail Rated – starts with a second-generation continuously variable transaxle with low range (CVT2L) that engages when the off-road mode is activated, 17-inch all-terrain tires and aluminum wheels, a one-inch raised ride height, a full-size spare tire, skid plates, tow hooks, fog lamps and manual seat height adjuster.
Other added features included an upgraded Uconnect 430N with Navigation package included a 6.5-inch Touchscreen Display and SirusXM TravelLink ($1,435) and ParkView Rear Backup Camera plus Remote Start ($200).
Our very complete and trail capable – plus urban comfortable – 2016 Jeep Compass Latitude (with delivery) priced at $29,225.
Our first challenge for the Compass was a trip to our storage locker to pick up holiday decorations. We were not sure that one trip was going to do it. The Compass made it a snap. Its (rear seats folded flat) cargo capacity of 62.7 cubic feet (including the fold flat front passenger seat) handled it all with ease – without having to fold the front seat. The high and wide cargo hatch opening made loading and unloading quick and easy at both ends. No problem – one and done.
With its carefully selected and appropriate level of amenities wrapped in iconic Jeep simple styling – this Compass was a great ride all around town for the full week, comfortable, easy driving, easy to use technology, lots of carry capacity and plenty of responsive power for all local and area highway conditions.
As for off-road, suffice it to say we have traversed the challenging Jeep test course (aka the Lyman Trail) at the Chrysler Chelsea proving ground in Michigan in a 2016 Compass Latitude 4×4 similarly equipped. It more than passed our test.
Optional Sport 4×4
If the 2016 Compass Latitude 4×4, that we tested, meets your Trail Rated needs, but is a bit more money that you have to spend – we suggest you consider the 2016 Compass Sport 4×4 (also Trail Rated) for about $5,000 less.
Starting with the base Sport in 4×4 and powered by the 2.4L engine ($21,595), equipping it with the CVT2L transmission ($1,400)and the 19:1 Crawl ($50); adding the Freedom II Off-Road Package ($750); plus the ParkView Rear Back Camera with Uconnect 430 ($200) – you drive off the lot (including delivery) for just $24,990.
You do give up a few things like driver seat height adjustment, heated seats, automatic headlights, chrome interior accents and so on, but you keep the most important Trail Rated elements for adventuring – all for under $25,000.
Our friends at Jeep tell us they will be building the 2016 Compass for the full model year. You should be able to get the Sport or Latitude in 4×2 or 4×4 and even the more urban High Altitude version with its power leather seating, power sun roof and high chrome 18-inch wheels throughout the year.
Build one the way you want it by going to the Jeep website – reviewing the lineup – then go to ‘Build Your Own’ and begin your Trail Rated 2016 Jeep Compass adventure.