The 2008 Jeep Compass is powered by an economical 172-horsepower, 2.4L four-cylinder engine and comes with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and in two different models--the low-priced Sport or the more luxuriously equipped Limited.
A five-speed manual transmission is standard on all models and a continuously variable (CVT) transmission, which now comes with an Auto Stick function that allows the driver to have manual control over a set of ratios, is optional.
The Compass offers a little more capability for rough roads and deep snow than some other crossover sport-utility SUVs; it has a ground clearance of 8.5 inches, along with a 21-degree approach angle and 32-degree departure angle--both good for negotiating steep inclines without scraping.
A unique feature set helps separate the Compass from other compact crossover sport-utility vehicles. The UltraFloor vinyl load floor is removable and washable, and the rear seats are split 60/40, folding forward to expand cargo space. What's more, the front passenger seat folds forward to create a table-like surface, or expanded cargo space for long items. Also, the center armrest slides forward three inches for shorter drivers, and it includes a cell phone flip pocket.
Side curtain air bags, electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes with brake assist are standard across the line. The stability control system has electronic roll mitigation, which helps avoid situations that may lead to a rollover or loss of stability and makes advance corrections.
The available nine-speaker Boston Acoustics Premium Sound package comes with a subwoofer and includes two articulating speakers inside the liftgate that can be swiveled outward for entertainment during tailgate parties. Another unique option is the removable, recharging flashlight that's built into the headliner above the cargo area.
The Sport comes equipped with most popular features, such as air conditioning, a rear window defroster, and a four-speaker CD sound system. The luxurious Limited model adds dual folding power mirrors, tinted glass, leather seating, heated front seats, remote keyless entry, cruise control, an auxiliary power outlet, Sirius satellite radio, and the rechargeable lamp system.
Other major options on the Compass include chrome-clad wheels, a trailer-towing group (for a capacity of 2,000 pounds), the Boston Acoustics sound system, and a new navigation system.