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2014 Jeep Compass: Up Close

Let’s be honest: Recent exterior updates made the Jeep Compass a more attractive — and much better-selling — compact SUV, but it needed interior work. It got some of that for 2014.

More 2013 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

The padded armrests are welcome; they and the Latitude show car’s saddle brown leather have kicked the Compass more upscale, but it’s clearly not a full redo. The classic Willys Jeep grille-and-headlights graphic debossed in the bezel below the gear selector is a nice touch, though I’m not knocked out by the trim finish itself.

What disturbs me most is that the steering wheel still doesn’t telescope. It only tilts.

The minor exterior tweaks aren’t bad either, but the most important changes in the Compass can’t be seen. They’ll be felt and heard — or not heard. An acoustic windshield and other noise treatments should address one of our, er, loudest complaints about the Compass. And we’re thrilled to see a step-gear transmission, which could improve the driving experience. A lot.

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