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CompassCompass Wins Automotive Excellence Award?
Posted by mike on 2006/9/26 12:52:39 (1507) reads

PopularMechanics recently named its 2007 Automotive Excellence Awards and the Compass was one of the recipients. Why, you ask? After reading the article, we're wondering exactly what they liked about it.

Suffice it to say it is not trail-rated to the same level as other Jeeps. No, this Jeep is meant to tackle the likes of Toyota’s RAV4 and Honda’s CR-V on suburban roads rather than the boulders and creeks of the untamed wilderness. Despite the hallmark seven-slot grille and trapezoidal fender flares, Compass’s styling is more mainstream than any other Jeep’s. A roofline that’s 4.5 inches higher than the Caliber’s helps to separate the two visually. The added height also allows the front seats to be two inches higher than in the Dodge. And behind the wheel, it’s clear that this is a very different Jeep. The ride is quiet and smooth, the steering direct. The Compass’s passenger-car roots are obvious.

Unfortunately, the new 2.4-liter Four’s 172 hp is only adequate for the task. While a five-speed manual is standard equipment, like most crossover shoppers, buyers will likely opt for the CVT which, despite computer-set “gears” to emulate a six-speed automatic, exacerbates the Compass’s lethargic acceleration.

Did we miss something? Exactly what does Popular Mechanics think is "excellent" about the Compass?

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Poster Thread
scottyc
Posted: 2006/9/26 16:42  Updated: 2006/9/26 16:58
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/8/24
From:
Posts: 14
 Re: Compass Wins Automotive Excellence Award?
The first page of that article contains two lists:

"2007 Automotive Excellence Award Recipients" and "New Cars and Trucks-October 2006"

On the 2007 Automotive Excellence Award Recipients list are:
• TOYOTA FJ CRUISER (Design)
• FORD MUSTANG SHELBY 500 (Performance)
• FORD EXPLORER SPORT TRAC (Versatility)
• VOLKSWAGEN GTI (Driving Fun)
• LEXUS LS 460 (Luxury)
• JEEP WRANGLER RUBICON (Off-road Ability)
• CHEVROLET SILVERADO/GMC SIERRA (Workhorse)
• SATURN VUE GREEN LINE (Energy Efficiency)
• MERCEDES-BENZ S550 (Safety)
• HONDA FIT (Value)

On the list of New Cars and Trucks-October 2006 are:
• CHRYSLER PACIFICA
• CHRYSLER SEBRING
• FORD EXPEDITION
• HONDA CR-V
• HYUNDAI SANTA FE
• INFINITI G35
• JEEP COMPASS
• JEEP CHEROKEE CRD
• LAND ROVER LR2
• SUZUKI SX-4
• SUZUKI XL7
• VOLKSWAGEN RABBIT

So, the Wrangler is an award winner, and the Compass is just a new model coming out this month.

The Wrangler page:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/3871487.html?page=6

Poster Thread
Josephus
Posted: 2006/9/26 16:53  Updated: 2006/9/26 16:53
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/7/18
From: Pennsylvania
Posts: 265
 Re: Compass Wins Automotive Excellence Award?
On page 6 of the Pop Mech link Ben Stewart gives some props to the Wrangler. I know I like it alot, but he could have gone into a little more detail about what makes the '07 Rubicon not just unique - but better than other SUVs.
A 4-door convertible? that is quite a magic trick in itself, with dual hard & soft tops - forghetaboudit.
No mention of the MyGig system or fold-flat windsheild, ESP, 4wheel ABS, 32" skins, Sirius real time traffic updates (for getting to the trail-head).

Poster Thread
scottyc
Posted: 2006/9/26 17:00  Updated: 2006/9/26 17:00
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/8/24
From:
Posts: 14
 Re: Compass Wins Automotive Excellence Award?
I think this is because the award is for Off-road ability. Other than mentioning power windows and locks, every feature mentioned helps the Wrangler's off-road ability.

Poster Thread
casm
Posted: 2006/9/26 15:08  Updated: 2006/9/26 15:08
Just popping in
Joined: 2006/9/26
From:
Posts: 6
 Re: Compass Wins Automotive Excellence Award?
There's a reason why the Compass was chosen: it represents a new breed of Jeep vehicle. Personally, I don't particularly care about it - it's not something I'd ever really be looking to buy - but the idea of Jeep competing in the CRV / RAV-4 / Subaru Forester segment is OK by me as long as they're truthful about the vehicle's capabilities.

As for the reason why the new Wrangler wasn't selected, my best guess is that while it's a major change (for better or worse) for that particular model, it doesn't really represent a lot in the way of overall change - which is a good thing in my book, since Jeep people like their Jeeps to be Jeeps. It's the last of the solid-axles, go-anywhere models that began disappearing with the introduction of the KJ, and has mercifully been spared much (but not all) of the softening of the Jeep range. Looked at in that context, it makes sense that the Compass was selected over it.

What I'm hoping the Compass and Patriot achieve for Jeep is a shift in direction for their other models back towards being the jacks-of-all-trades they were previously. If the entry level models can fulfill the soft-roader needs that the KJ and WK were pushed into while the TK and KK regain some of what was lost with the demise of the XJ, I'll spend my money with them again in the future. If not, I'll hold onto my XJ until it explodes.

Poster Thread
jpsmith
Posted: 2006/9/26 15:33  Updated: 2006/9/26 15:33
Just can't stay away
Joined: 2006/7/25
From:
Posts: 97
 Re: Compass Wins Automotive Excellence Award?
I used to be a KJ-hater. I thought it was weak, a sad reflection of what a Jeep ought to be. As an XJ owner, I felt like I had been slighted that the XJ had been replaced by the KJ.

Earlier this year we decided that we needed to get something new to replace the 1996 XJ with just shy of 150k miles. The engine still runs well, but it needs a new fuel pump. It was hesitating and stalling and such. It was also due for inspection, and I thought it wouldn't pass. It has some rust, the lower dash fell off, the power windows are failing, etc. DCX were offering 0 for 60. So we went to the lot to look at the WK. I just wasn't... us. It felt very... um... suburbia. Begrudgingly, I said, "Well, let's look at the Liberties." What I found was the KJ Renegade D with skid plates, tow hooks, rock rails, a tall grille & flat hood (so it doesn't look like a damn frog), bumper-mounted fog lamps, a light bar on top, and the towing package. I though, "Wow. This doesn't even seem like a Liberty." So I read what I could about it's capability. Seemed sturdy enough for the 4-wheeling we do on the old logging roads on our land. So... we bought one. Let me say that it really can do everything we've ever done in our XJ.

Now, it's not without its flaws. There's the looming recall for the ball joints. It's heavy, and even with more HP, the 3.7L doesn't have what it takes to move it the same way that 4.0L I-6 moved the XJ. And the KJ's tranny has a dead spot between 2nd & 3rd that makes hill climbs at 40 mph try your patience. But... it's still a lot more capable than many give it credit for. I was a Liberty hater. Now I will tell you that it really is a Jeep. And I'm very optimistic the KK, even though it still has IFS, will be even better and more pleasing to the XJ hold-outs. I'm optimistic about the direction Jeep has turned in the past couple of years. (Well, I'm pissed about dropping the Gladiator, but I have a hunch it's not dead yet.)

Just for the record, though, I still have the XJ. It still needs a fuel pump. :D

Poster Thread
MarkH
Posted: 2006/9/27 8:17  Updated: 2006/9/27 8:57
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/7/20
From: The Great White North
Posts: 494
 Re: Compass Wins Automotive Excellence Award?
IMHO, I think the 3.7L V6 in the KJ feels better than the 3.8L V6 does in the JKL...

Poster Thread
my97tj
Posted: 2006/9/26 13:30  Updated: 2006/9/26 13:30
Not too shy to talk
Joined: 2006/9/18
From: North Central Mass
Posts: 22
 Re: Compass Wins Automotive Excellence Award?
why not the wrangler indeed! this just goes to show how totally out of it pop. mec.'s is. their rating systems and testing process' are fundamentally flawed. look at the horrible ratings that other jeep vehicles used to get from that magazine. it is sad because people do buy cars based on their ratings and they pretty much mean nothing.

Poster Thread
RUBICON
Posted: 2006/9/26 13:14  Updated: 2006/9/26 13:14
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/7/13
From:
Posts: 377
 Re: Compass Wins Automotive Excellence Award?
That hardly sounds like a vehicle they would turn around give an award to.

Also172hp should be adequate for a vehicle this size. Granted it is going to be pokey compared to the rest of DCX's Hemi powered stable, but folks it isn't meant to be a Viper.

So why did they give the award to the Compass and not the Wrangler?
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