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Jeep Cherokee vs. Jeep Compass Specs

1. Introduction

As previously mentioned, the price difference between these two cars is quite substantial, with the Cherokee being more expensive. For this reason alone, this has ruled many consumers out from buying the Cherokee. The price of fuel must also be taken into consideration with the engine size being a V6 (Cherokee) in comparison with the Compass which has a 4-cylinder engine. With the Cherokee fuel economy in the city is 20 MPG and 28 on the highway. The Compass, however, gets 23 MPG in the city and 29 on the highway. In the long run, the Cherokee will cost significantly more to operate given that the fuel economy is much better in the Compass.

When examining two different cars, one must look at the particular aspects of that car to determine which one would fit their individual needs better. These aspects include fuel efficiency, price, car size, and car engine. In this case, the two cars in question are the Jeep Cherokee and the Jeep Compass. The Jeep Cherokee is the mid-size to the larger of the two cars, and the price difference is a few thousand dollars more than the Jeep Compass. Given these differences, the true question would be if the extra cost for a Cherokee is worth it if considering buying a Compass.

2. Exterior Features

And with all the talk about Jeep sturdiness with safety, the Cherokee has had a very good safety record since its introduction in 1984. It has done very well in crash tests and made a reputation for safety and reliability, which is an important key feature in choosing a vehicle for transportation of the family. Combine safety and reliability with the vast number of ways to customize your style from seemingly unending aftermarket parts, and the Jeep Cherokee is a suitable and practical choice in a compact SUV. High Klutquo has stated that, "The Cherokee is a rugged customer favorite that offers strong resale value with legendary Jeep capability."

Step-in height for both models is pretty good. Lowering the driver's seat to the ground level can lessen the extra "off-road" feel, which may or may not be a good thing. Overall interior space and comfort are decent. The wider [front] doors and interior ventilation for the two-door model provide a very similar feel to the four-door model. However, recently it has been mentioned that the two-door is designed for the "younger crowd". This may be due to the fact of a small difference in comfort levels between the two and four-door models.

The Cherokee Sport has its good points as well. Part-time four-wheel drive allows the front and rear to turn at different speeds. This is great for off-road, but not so excellent for the daily pavement pounder because any dry traction difference between the tires in front and back can cause a twitchy sensation. The Sport, however, is still available with the full-time four-wheel drive, which was included with the introduction of the Cherokee in 1984 as an option. This is an all-around 4x4 system that is excellent for wet and slippery on-road conditions. The system has a two-wheel drive mode, as well as part-time four-wheel drive and full-time four-wheel drive modes. This system is much better and more advanced than the Command Trac part-time only four-wheel drive setup.

Like the different model lines currently in manufacturing for the year 2000 of the Jeep Cherokee, there are also different orientation types of the same applications. With the introduction of both two and four-door models, two different trim levels were available: SE or Sport. Either model or orientation type was acceptable for light towing or off-road use. A key feature was found standard on all four-door models, which were steel safety beams that were installed in each door for side impact protection.

2.1. Design

The Jeep Cherokee carries a "less is more" front-end design, as it lacks the heavy lines such as those on the Liberty. The typical seven-slot grill is still very present, although it has been shortened, giving it a sleeker look compared to some of the other models. Automatic Xenon headlights provide better visibility by steering where the driver is going, with the option for automatic high-beams. LED running lights and fog lights also add to the visibility features of the Cherokee. "The new Cherokee takes the on-road segment to new levels not seen before, and does off-road better than it ever did, all while looking good" (Campbell). The Jeep Compass, taking the slimming design to a more extreme level, and features a more aerodynamic look than the Cherokee. Although its approach and departure angles are not impressive, the Compass makes up for it in its superior ground clearance in comparison to its sister model. The front-end retains a traditional Jeep look, with a seven-slot grill. High-intensity (but non-steerable) headlights, and available fog lights are the extent of lighting features for the Compass. Both models have hidden rear windshield wipers, attempting to reduce ice buildup in the winter, and roof racks are also available on both. The Cherokee definitely has a more aggressive stance to it, as the fender flares and available 18-inch wheels render the Compass somewhat timid-looking in comparison. A higher strength steel in the doors, hood, and tailgate is another added feature to the Cherokee, making it more durable and safer in on-road impacts. A power lift gate and dual-pane sunroof are available options on the Cherokee only.

2.2. Dimensions

The Jeep Cherokee is 182 inches long, 72 inches wide, and 66 inches tall, with a 106-inch wheelbase. Picking the 4WD system adds just about an inch to the height of the Cherokee and comes with a variety of wheel and tire options. Ground clearance ranges from 5.8 inches to 7.8 inches depending on the 4WD system and tires selected. The approach angle for the Cherokee is 18.9 degrees with a departure angle of 25 degrees. The Cherokee weighs in between 3,655 and 4,107 pounds depending on options and 4WD systems. The Jeep Compass is 175 inches long, 71 inches wide, and 65 inches tall, with a 103-inch wheelbase. The 4WD Compass adds an inch to its height and sits on 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tires. The Compass has 8.5 inches of ground clearance and the same 17/25 approach and departure angles as the Cherokee. The Compass sports a curb weight of 3,184 to 3,633 pounds, as the Select terrain system adds 40 plus pounds to the vehicle. Overall, the Compass is going to be a smaller, lighter package compared to the Jeep Cherokee. Both vehicles have good ground clearance, and the Compass gets nearly the same fuel economy ratings as the Cherokee. 4WD Compass models will be fairly comparable off-road, but the Cherokee offers more in terms of off-road capabilities with the 4WD systems that are available, the greater ground clearance options, and the more rugged structure of the vehicle.

3. Interior Features

Moving on to the interior tech, yes that center stack is certainly an eyesore. However, it is outdated with some considering it to be the biggest drawback on the 2022 Jeep Compass. The Uconnect infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Elevation and High Altitude models have resolved the button transmission issue, changing to a more user-friendly rotary selector. Other tech features include remote start, power adjustable and heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a new premium lighting group, and a frequency selective damping suspension on the Trailhawk model for an improved ride and handling. The Jeep Compass also features many useful storage areas, including a front storage bin, front and rear door pockets, map pockets, an improved mobile phone storage area, and a height-adjustable cargo floor. The versatility of the height-adjustable cargo floor means you can change the height of the cargo floor to either stow items out of sight underneath or keep them higher up and out of sight, handy for when out camping. A 115-volt power outlet is also available in the rear.

The Jeep Compass features minutes 2021 styling changes, which includes a revised Seven Slot grille, new front fascias and new available high altitude and 80th anniversary special edition models. Jeep also claims to offer more advanced safety features in the 2022 Jeep Compass than any other vehicle in its class. This includes standard adaptive cruise control with full stop and go, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, forward collision warning, auto dimming driver mirror, dual zone climate control, global remote. All these features contribute to the Jeep Compass making it perfect for city driving and tight parking situations as well as off-road.

3.1. Cabin Space

The most noticeable finding was in the area of cabin space. Both front and rear seat passengers in the Cherokee and Compass will find it easy to spread out and get comfortable. The Compass has 0.2 inches more headroom in the front and 1.1 inches more in the rear. The Compass has 0.6 inches more front legroom and an impressive 2.7 inches additional rear legroom. It is surprising to see the smaller and less expensive Compass have more leg and headroom than the Cherokee. The Compass also beats the Cherokee in shoulder width by 1.5 inches in the front and 2.0 inches in the rear. This small and compact vehicle offers more interior volume and passenger space compared to the larger and more expensive Cherokee. The amount of passenger space was a very shocking finding as one would assume a larger vehicle would have more room for passengers, this however, is not true in the case of the Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Compass. The Cherokee and Compass offer similar cargo volume as the Cherokee offers 24.6 cubic feet of cargo volume with all its seats in place, compared to the Compass which offers 22.7 cubic feet of cargo volume. When space is maximized in both vehicles, the Cherokee offers 54.9 cubic feet of cargo volume and the Compass has 51.7 cubic feet of cargo volume. This gives the Cherokee a 3.2 inch lead in maximum cargo volume when the rear seats are folded down. Both the Cherokee and Compass also offer a front passenger seat that can be folded flat in order to accommodate longer items. While the Compass offers more leg and headroom for their passengers, the cargo volume numbers are much closer and give very little reason for a consumer to assume the Cherokee has more cargo space. The folded down front passenger seat is also another quality feature in each vehicle and not many vehicles even offer this option. Overall in the area of cabin and cargo space, the Compass holds an advantage over the Cherokee for passenger space but this lead is very minute considering the numbers.

3.2. Technology

The Compass and the Cherokee offer a similar amount of technology features. The Cherokee offers a few extra features over the Compass, however, they are not deal breakers for most. Both vehicles offer a backup camera, parking assistance, lane departure warning, and a sunroof. The Cherokee also offers a heated steering wheel, hands-free liftgate, WiFi hotspot, smart device integration, and a premium sound system with the option of HD radio. These features are nice to have but are not necessary for most SUV buyers. The backup camera, lane departure warning, and sunroof are features that help make life easier and safer while driving. Offering navigation on all models might be more beneficial for the Compass. Although it is a feature offered on the Trailhawk and Limited models, adding navigation to the Sports model would make it a lot more enticing to consumers. The Cherokee offers an all-new technology package on the Latitude and Trailhawk models. This is an additional cost; however, the package does offer an 8.4-inch touchscreen, HD radio, and a premium sound system with a one-year subscription to SiriusXM radio. Comparing the two, the Cherokee does offer a few more appealing features over the Compass in terms of technology; however, it is not something that puts the Compass down in this category.

3.3. Comfort

The Cherokee and Compass offer similar comfort features for both driver and passenger. Both offer a dual-zone automatic climate control that allows the driver and front passenger to set their own desired temperatures. The Cherokee further offers optional automatic ventilation seats and a heated steering wheel, which are not available on the Compass. The Cherokee's heated seats feature is standard on Latitude models and above (optional on the Sport model). Comfort in the Cherokee's rear seats is further improved by a seat recline feature that is not offered on the Compass. For 2016, the Cherokee also received additional acoustic enhancements to provide a quieter ride. These improvements are said to reduce the noise level by 5 decibels. Other features shared between both the Compass and Cherokee include optional power 8-way driver seats, power 4-way driver lumbar adjust, 4-way power driver and passenger headrests, and remote start. Overall, although both Jeeps offer acceptable comfort for their class, the Cherokee's features and improvements give it a slight edge over the Compass.

4. Performance

Starting with the performance of the previous model, it is interesting to note that the Cherokee that was sold earlier in Australia was actually underpowered for its size and weight. It went through two phases, firstly with a 3.7L petrol V6 mated to a 4-speed automatic gearbox which was later changed to a 2.8L 4-cylinder VM Motori turbo diesel with a 5-speed automatic. Regardless of the phase, both variants of the Cherokee had a max output of 130kW/174hp and 460Nm. Compare this to the Compass which has a 2.4L petrol engine with the output of 125kW/168hp and 220Nm. This will indicate that the previous Cherokee seemed to be underpowered, failing to compete with other medium to large SUVs in the market. The new Cherokee has very contrasting performance. For the Australian market, it has a 3.2L petrol V6 which has good output figures of 200kW/271hp and 316Nm. The top-spec Cherokee has a 3.2L V6 Pentastar engine boasting a hefty 204kW/275hp and 324Nm. This is a significant improvement for the Cherokee providing much better off-the-line speed and towing capacity. The Cherokee has class-leading power while providing a smooth and refined driving experience. Comparing this to the new Compass, the Cherokee has significantly better power and torque. The Compass has two petrol engine options, a 2.0L four-cylinder engine with an output of 115kW/154hp and 190Nm, and a 2.4L four-cylinder engine with the output of 125kW/168hp and 220Nm. The Compass is a smaller and lighter car compared to the Cherokee but the difference in power and torque is quite noticeable. The Cherokee outperforms the Compass in this aspect.

4.1. Engine Options

The Jeep Cherokee has a 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 engine. This engine is very powerful and it has a great 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque. There is also a 2.4-liter I-4 engine. This engine is less powerful and offers 184 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. All Cherokee engines are available with Stop/Start technology with a disconnecting rear axle. The Jeep Cherokee is available in the 2018 model with two new engine options: a 2.0-liter I-4 and a 2.0-liter I-4 turbo. The simplex 2.0-liter engine offers 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, while the turbo variation offers 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Both of these engine options are also available with the Stop/Start technology with a disconnecting rear axle. The Jeep Compass also comes with two engine options, both being I-4s. The 2.4 VVT engine has 180 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. This engine is also available with AutoStick technology. With a smaller vehicle and a lower power demand, the Compass promotes the MultiAir engines. The first is a 1.4 MultiAir I-4 turbo engine that boasts 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. This engine has Fuel Saver Technology. The second offering for the MultiAir engine is a 2.4 MultiAir2 I-4. This engine has slightly better performance compared to the 2.4 VVT engine with 180 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. All Compass engines are available with a freedom drive system including an off-road package. The Trailhawk model offers a 2.0 MultiJet II turbo diesel engine with 170 hp and a whopping 280 lb-ft of torque, also equipped with the 9-speed automatic transmission and Stop/Start technology.

4.2. Power and Torque

The generally unregulated "power and torque" ratings, often given in different units, make unbiased comparisons difficult. The Cherokee comes with a 4-cylinder, 16-valve MultiAir engine, with a total power output of 130 kW and 229 Nm of torque. In comparison, the Compass comes standard with a 2.4 L, 16-valve, 4-cylinder engine with an approximate power output of 129 kW and 229 Nm of torque. With similar power and torque values, one would expect the vehicles to have similar performance in acceleration and hill-climbing. However, the Cherokee weighs in at approximately 300 kg lighter than the Compass, offering a power-to-weight ratio that exceeds that of the Compass. This will result in the Cherokee offering superior acceleration and hill-climbing performance, despite having near identical power and torque values.

4.3. Fuel Efficiency

Mentioning the most outside and inner distinctions between the two is a step in the right direction toward helping perspective buyers differentiate between the two. Let's face it: if you're going to buy a new vehicle, chances are you're going to be looking for the most fuel efficient car that still gives you a better than below average power punch. The Compass and Cherokee are not the worst choices in these respects, yet fall short of being the best. The Compass provides consumers with a respectable 23 mpg in the city, and 29 mpg on the highway when it comes to the 4x2, and 23 mpg in the city with 28 mpg on the highway for the 4x4. Compared to the Cherokee at 22 mpg city and 31 mph highway with 4x2, and 21 mpg city with 28 mpg for the 4x4, you aren't likely to notice a huge difference between the two Jeep models. The small differences between each of the vehicles mileage rating are likely due in part to its size and age. The Compass being newer than the Cherokee has had the benefit of fuel efficiency technology increases over the last decade or so. Given that the two only differ by roughly 2-3 mpg either way in their city to highway ratings, customers must consider whether they are willing to part with the alternative features each vehicle offers that may or may not make up for a difference in fuel cost down the road.