New Concept Car - The Jeep Compass
Date 2002/1/10 0:00:00 | Topic: Concept/Demonstration
The Jeep Compass, in its world premiere at the 2002 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, is a concept that feels at home in an urban environment while possessing the free spirit of a performance rally car. Inspired by the 1998 Jeep Jeepster concept and built on a Jeep Cherokee platform, Compass also offers a great combination of on-road dynamics and off-highway capability. Aptly named Compass, this latest Jeep concept will be pointing consumers in its segment toward tomorrow.
Chrysler Group's Pacifica Advanced Design Center in Carlsbad, California, was tasked to design a Jeep concept for "millennials," the next large, emerging group of consumers in the USA, now age 24 or younger. This group will outnumber the "Baby Boomer" generation. The Jeep brand has the third highest percentage of "definitely consider" of all brands among those buyers, as shown by the 2001 Vehicle Experience Study.
"Millennials are looking for an authentic, affordable vehicle to carry their friends and gear," said Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President of Design for the Chrysler Group. "They would prefer to have an exotic sports car, but those are not only out of their financial reach, but also don't offer enough room or flexibility. Knowing their preference for the Jeep brand, we created the Compass to exactly fit the bill: a capable compact SUV offering performance, cargo space and an attractive price."
Like a rally car, the two-door Jeep Compass has all-wheel drive, a short wheelbase and a low centre of gravity to hug the road. Compass features a lightweight steel "uniframe" construction and a 157 kW (210 bhp), 319 Nm (235 lb.-ft.), 3.7-litre PowerTech V-6 engine, offering ample power whether travelling on pavement, gravel, dirt or snowy city streets.
"The 'G Force Green' exterior paint is reminiscent of a military colour scheme," said Michael Castiglione, exterior designer for the Jeep Compass at Pacifica. "The exterior and interior colours convey a mature, honest integrity and are steeped in Jeep authenticity." Adds Pacifica's Jordan Meadows: "Even as the instrument panel looks like the cockpit of a fighter jet with technical dials and gauges -- and of course a compass -- we have kept the interior styling simple, uncluttered and functional."
Slot machine-style rotating controls operate all primary functions, while the gauges are reminiscent of traditional watch faces, and the air vents have classic aeronautical design. A sturdy grab handle covers the width of the instrument panel, as a visually strong "backbone" runs throughout the entire interior. This design element is mirrored by a full-length overhead console. The instrument panel features a multi-functional docking station with LCD screen.
Four bucket seats offer all occupants a command-of-the-road seating position, comfort and support. The seats are trimmed in green leather and Goretex with "G Force Green" soft touch grommets. The rear buckets fold to create a flat loading surface, executed in low-gloss stainless steel with integrated tie-downs in the side trim. True to its Jeep heritage, the interior features a moulded rubber floor. The spare tyre is incorporated into the rear hatch.
Jeep Compass conveys an expressive personality in its exterior design with details such as fender length running lights, and stainless steel brush guard and sill panels with the Jeep name. The roof features a unique diamond plate textured liner with integrated tie-downs, developed to take the abuse of any type of hauling.
"Our goal was to make the Jeep Compass rugged, durable and able to take a beating at all the typical scuff zones," Castiglione said. "You can play hard and be rough on this vehicle and its exterior holds up, giving the driver total freedom to go anywhere, do anything. After all, it is an authentic Jeep vehicle - right down to its seven-slot grille and trapezoidal wheel arches."