2014 Jeep Compass: Up Close

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

Photo of Joe Wiesenfelder
Former Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder, a launch veteran, led the car evaluation effort. He owns a 1984 Mercedes 300D and a 2002 Mazda Miata SE. Email Joe Wiesenfelder

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