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The 2017 Jeep Compass arrives onstage at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (Chris Carlson/AP)
The 2017 Jeep Compass arrives onstage at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (Chris Carlson/AP)

Los Angeles Auto Show

Quick spin: 2017 Jeep Compass is a macho machine Add to ...

Two of the Big Three; two vastly separate approaches to the sizzling compact SUV market. Two days after Ford announced the North American version of the EcoSport, Jeep used the same outdoor tent to introduce the new 2017 Compass at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Thursday.

While the EcoSport is meant for leisurely driving and aimed at millennials and baby boomers, Jeep pronounced the Compass as the most rugged in the segment, with the characteristic stiff chassis and an independent front suspension.

Where the EcoSport gets a 1.0-litre three-cylinder and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder with a six-speed automatic, the Compass will be offered in 17 powertrains worldwide – in North America with a 2.4-litre engine mated to three transmissions:

  • A nine-speed automatic for 4x4 models, not available in any other compact SUV;
  • Six-speed automatic for 4x2 models;
  • Six-speed manual for 4x2 and 4x4 models.

There are “Active Drive” (fulltime 4x4) and “Active Drive Low” (fulltime 4x4 with 20:1 crawl ratio). Mike Manley, head of the Jeep brand, said the “4x4 will kick in automatically when you need it.”

Compass fuel efficiency is pledged to be 7.4 litres/100 km, enhanced by a stop/start function. There are nearly 70 advanced safety and security features.

The Compass will be available in four configurations: Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk. The Trailhawk is being outfitted for off-road driving with a “Rock mode”, a higher ride height, fascias with a 30-degreee approach angle, hill descent control and about 50 centimetres of water fording capability.

On the exterior, the classic Jeep grille is differentiated by setting each of the seven chrome slots in a gloss-back background. There’s also a dual-pane sunroof.

Inside, the fourth-generation infotainment system includes 5- or 8.4-inch touchscreens with pinch-and-zoom capability, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Compass will be built in Mexico (hello, Donald Trump) for North America, and will be available in early 2017 (the EcoSport is about 18 months away from showrooms). Pricing was not announced, but Manley said it will fit between the Renegade and Cherokee.

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