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Jeep Compass vs. Chevy Equinox

1. Introduction

The Compass has grown in dimensions and is no longer a compact car. If you sit inside, the vehicle feels more spacious, and the interior design is a job well done. It beats the Equinox hollow in terms of looks and feels like a more modern car. The Equinox gets a tad bit of bland looking in comparison. The dashboard layout of the Compass is snazzier, and the materials are of high quality, which means it would tickle the customer better at first glance. On the contrary, the Equinox has a plethora of features to boast, and the infotainment system is more user-friendly. Both vehicles leave no stone unturned in upgrading the comfort level, and there’s very little to choose from on this aspect. Step in practicality, and the Equinox again scores well with lots of small item storage spaces and a large center console. The sliding rear seats provide extra versatility in rear legroom or cargo room, and it is also much more comfortable now. On the other hand, the Compass is also better than before, and the rear seats have a recline and folding feature to aid extra comfort for passengers, if not cargo. At the end of the day, it is all about providing more space and comfort to the customer, and in that aspect, both vehicles have fairly succeeded in their endeavors.

Nearly all the leading automakers are busy in revamping their car range, and Jeep is no exception. Owing to the spiraling popularity of crossover cars, Jeep has also revamped its portfolio, and most 2017 Jeep models are in sync with modern trends. The Jeep Compass has traversed a long way from its first launch in 2007, and the 2017 version comes as a pleasant surprise. From looks to performance, it has undergone sizeable changes, right for the better. While Jeep has high hopes for this model, there are other brands that have also rolled out new crossovers, targeting the same customer base. The Chevy Equinox is one such example, and it can’t help but feel the heat of seeing a new Compass in the market. A detailed comparison is sure to be on the cards, but we have provided a more detailed beforehand by comparing the two models.

2. Performance and Features

Safety always becomes the first priority when someone wants to buy a car. Compass and Equinox offer standard safety on all models with 4-wheel ABS, stability control, traction control, front airbag, side airbag, side curtain airbag, driver airbag, and passenger airbag. From NHTSA crash tests, Compass gets a higher score for the front crash test, front crash test for front passenger, and rollover test. It means that Compass is safer than Equinox. Both cars get the same score for the side crash test. We can argue that Compass is safer than Equinox, but both cars have met the standard in safety terms. So we can say that both cars are safe to drive. But Compass is slightly better than Equinox.

Compass and Equinox are known for their good engine performance. From the data we got, Compass offers a 2.4L I4 engine that can produce 172 HP and 165 lb-ft of torque. Meanwhile, Equinox offers a 2.4L I4 engine or a 3.0L V6 engine. The 2.4L I4 engine can produce 182 HP and 172 lb-ft of torque, while the V6 engine offers 264 HP and 222 lb-ft of torque. Although the V6 engine that Equinox offers has a greater power output, it's rated with higher fuel economy compared to the 4WD model, and it's also cheaper to use the I4 engine than the V6 engine when we base it on the fuel rate today. From this data, we can say that Compass is better than Equinox on efficiency, even though it has a lower power output.

2.1. Engine Power and Efficiency

The Chevy Equinox comes with a little "bonus", which is a turbo engine option. Furthermore, the specs of the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine and 3.6L V6 engine do not deviate too much from the MPGs of the turbo engine option. This might be worth consideration if you're deciding to ditch the 4-cylinder option found in both of these vehicles. However, the MPGs between the 4-cylinder engine and the V6 varies a bit more, with the V6 in these vehicles both being less efficient than the turbo engine option for the Equinox and the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine. Overall, this could mean that the Jeep Compass engines are more efficient. If you're looking for that extra "get up and go" though, you might pass on the Compass and its one and only 2.4L 4-cylinder engine. In terms of horsepower, the Compass's 2.4L 4-cylinder engine has a slight advantage over the 4-cylinder Equinox engine, with the Compass engine producing 172 horsepower and 165 lb-ft, and the Chevy 182 horsepower and 172 lb-ft. As mentioned before, the Equinox also has the option to get more power with the turbo engine and V6, but it might come at the expense of fuel efficiency. The V6 engine will offer substantially more power, 301 horsepower and 272 lb-ft, but with a tremendous decrease in fuel efficiency. The Compass does not really compete with this, as the horsepower and fuel efficiency differences between the Equinox 2.4 turbo engine/V6 engine is significant.

2.2. Safety Features

The Chevy Equinox 2018 is installed with antilock four-wheel disc brakes, StabilTrak stability control system, seven airbags including the front center airbag, built-in OnStar 4G LTE and data with an available built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist, Surround Vision, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Park Assist, Intellibeam Headlamps, and Safety Alert Seat. It also has optional low-speed forward automatic braking.

All new Compass models are available with the Security and Safety Group, which includes a security alarm, rearview autodim mirror, remote start system, and the popular ParkSense Rear Park Assist System. Meanwhile, the Compass Trailhawk is provided with the standard Jeep Active Drive Low 4x4 System, the Rock Mode on the Selec-Terrain Traction Management System, off-road suspension, hill descent control, the skid plate-equipped front fascia, and Ruby Red tow hooks. The Safety and Security Group is available on the Compass Latitude and the Compass Limited, which have adaptive cruise control and Forward Collision Warning-Plus.

All Jeep Compass models are originally installed with antilock braking system, electronic stability and traction control, disc parking brake, driver and front passenger active head restraints, advanced multistage airbags, and side curtain front airbags. They also have front seat-mounted airbags and a tire pressure monitoring alarm.

2.3. Technology and Infotainment

Standard on all models of the Chevrolet Equinox is a 7-inch touch screen infotainment system named Chevrolet MyLink. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 3 USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 6-speaker audio system are also all standard, with even more features available in upper trim levels. While it is great that Chevrolet is offering so many features standard, the system is known for being slow and unresponsive; the screen has frequent malfunctions and doesn't always display properly. Comparatively, the Jeep Compass offers a smaller 5-inch touch screen display on the Sport trim. The higher-level Latitude and Trailhawk models feature an 8.4-inch screen, which offers yet another compelling reason to upgrade trim levels. Although the system is less bulky than that of the Equinox, the touch screen is more responsive, and Uconnect is regarded as one of the best infotainment systems on the market today. What Jeep's system lacks in some features compared to Chevrolet, it more than makes up for in usability and quality. Another standard feature on the Equinox is 4G LTE connectivity and WiFi hotspot capability. This too is a great feature to have and is rather uncommon on many vehicles still. However, the Compass is available with the Jeep Skill for Amazon Alexa, which allows drivers to control and monitor their vehicle from the comfort of their home. Using voice control technology, drivers can ask Alexa to start their vehicle, send directions to the Uconnect system, and even check fuel levels or tire pressure. Alexa can be used from inside the house and even incorporates mobile app technology so that it can be used from any location. While both WiFi capability and the Alexa Skill provide a similar purpose, the Alexa Skill offers this technology in a more personal and innovative setting.

3. Interior and Exterior Design

But once you move up to the Latitude, Limited, and especially the High Altitude or the new Trail Rating trim, the Compass feels quite close to a luxury vehicle inside. You get a lot more brightwork, and the nicely patterned brown or black leather seats that were introduced last year look and feel very good, and they're still only offered in this class-exclusive power seat or this price range in a Land Rover. Interior trims, even of the hard-plastic variety, match up well, so long as you don't go for the base Sport. That said, the height of the seating surfaces makes it just a little bit too easy to slide across them, with inadequate lateral support.

Upon entering the Compass, it feels very much like a smaller Grand Cherokee; not surprising as the Grand Cherokee was the design target. There's a slightly chunky steering wheel and tall, thin window and mirror controls that are very much like those in the Grand Cherokee, and the textured soft-touch plastics and grained surfaces look quite rich, especially in a lighter hue. The only thing that breaks the spell is a climate control interface that's shared with the Caliber and a little bit of chintzy brightwork.

3.1. Cabin Space and Comfort

The Equinox offers improved interior space compared to its predecessor, but lines up smaller than most of the rivals in its size. There's plenty of head and legroom in the front, but rear legroom is compromised due to the sliding rear bench configuration. Boot space is reasonable, but rear headroom is tight despite the option of a panoramic sunroof. The sliding rear bench allows the boot space to be increased, but even in its rearmost position, it only provides enough space for two adults to sit comfortably. With three adults on the back seat, it becomes cramped and lacking in headroom. The Equinox has a softly padded ride, soaks up bumps and bounces, and copes very well on tarmac, but certain models of Compass offer better off-road capabilities.

The Jeep Compass has a smart cabin with well laid out, easy to use controls and a good driving position. The reclining rear seats are able to be moved backwards and forwards to prioritize either legroom or boot space. The well-shaped back seats are wide enough for two adults to sit in reasonable comfort, but three will be a little bit of a squeeze. The optional panoramic sunroof only serves to increase the spacious feel. The Compass' ride is another area of strength with neatly controlled body movements. It is softly sprung, so it isn't going to set any records in extreme off-roading, but for a family car, it copes with a variety of terrains very well.

3.2. Styling and Exterior Features

A power tailgate is fitted on the higher spec models of both vehicles, providing a convenient feature for when yours or your passengers' hands are full. The Compass' version is dual action, which means the glass section can open automatically at the press of a button, or the entire thing can be lifted.

The Equinox has a single front sunroof, which is standard on every trim. It is very traditional and extends both in its roominess and latitude. In the case of both vehicles, there was not enough room to test how they would endure in off-road conditions. But their high-rise tow hooks and stiff protection under the front and rear bumpers suggest they will be hard-wearing.

Both vehicles offer sunroofs, but the location of the Compass' is oddly placed. Its panoramic roof extends all the way to the rear seats to gain a desired effect. However, the panel above the front seats doesn't open, and instead, there is a handled cover which has to be used manually. The rear seats are unable to experience the open air as the tinted panel has a fixed mechanism.

The Compass and the Equinox clash on exterior design. They both boast a similar wheelbase and track, but the Equinox is slightly longer and hunkered down. Chevrolet and Jeep have put minimalistic care into their wheels, which are slightly bland considering the attentiveness of the rest of the vehicle. But despite that, they both stand out in terms of visual thinking compared to the segment norm.

4. Pricing and Overall Value

The 2018 Jeep Compass starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $22,090 for a base, front-drive model. That's slightly less than the outgoing Compass, which started closer to $21,000. All-wheel drive adds $1500 to any trim. The Compass Latitude is the next-level-up trim and it starts at $24,590 for front-drive and $26,090 for AWD. Stepping into a Compass Trailhawk (Jeep insists the trim designations are case-sensitive) will cost $28,695. The Compass is offered in four different trim levels—Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk—starting with the base Sport at $22,090 (plus a hefty $1395 destination charge) and climbing to the tested Limited 4x4, which asks $30,090. Nearly all-wheel drive—Jeep calls it Active Drive and Active Drive Low—with any trim costs an extra $1500. Opting for the six-speed manual with the AWD system adds an additional $1500. Built in Brazil, Jeep believes the this Compass "will stay out of the discount game." That means prices could punch into the $30,000 - $35,000 range with options and buyers will be more willing to pay that premium if the Compass proves reliable over time. Prices for the 2018 Equinox haven't been released, but the current mats start at $23,100. Although the newer platform and smaller engines could bring that starting price up a bit, it shouldn't be by much. Pricing should remain competitive between the two cars, but the features offered for that price could be a different story. This early comparison shows that the Compass and the Equinox ride similar price points at similar trim levels. This is good news for Jeep, who believes the Compass will have no issue competing with other C-SUVs. Higher-end models of the Compass Trailhawk and the limited will be slightly less expensive the corresponding trims for the Equinox, but competitive pricing across these two cars should make cross-shopping easy. Ultimately, your preferences for features and your buying budget will determine how much value you are getting from either vehicle.

4.1. Base Price and Trim Options

The Chevrolet Equinox (2008 LS FWD base) has an MSRP starting at $22,995, with similar features and fuel economy to the base Jeep Compass. With a 3.4L 4-cylinder engine and 5-speed automatic transmission, the only EPA estimated difference is 1 more mile per gallon in highway driving. While the Equinox interior has some standard features not found in the base Jeep Compass, such as power windows, power door locks, remote vehicle start, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror, many features are not available without upgrading to a higher-priced model. An example is side-curtain airbags; the Equinox without them did not score well in IIHS crash test results. The lack of included safety features and the increased price of higher model vehicles limited for feature availability may steer car buyers away from the base model Jeep Equivalents. Step-up models for both vehicles will be mentioned in the next section.

The base Jeep Compass comes with a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine (vs. 2007's 2.0L), front-wheel drive (FWD), and a 5-speed manual transmission. Standard features include cloth upholstery, air conditioning, 60/40 split folding rear seat, tire pressure monitoring, stability and traction controls with anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes, AM/FM stereo with CD player, auxiliary audio jack, and 4 speakers. Also standard are rear and side-curtain airbags, a feature costing extra on most 2008 model cars. With an estimated fuel economy of 23/28 mpg, 5 more miles per gallon compared to its 4WD version, and a 13.5-gallon gas tank for a 370-mile maximum range. Pricing for the base model will start at $15,900 for FWD and $17,500 for the 4WD, excluding the $560 destination charge. This is quite a substantial package for a base model vehicle that may influence car buyers to avoid higher-priced models that do not include safety features.

The 2008 Jeep Compass has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $15,900, $350 less than the outgoing 2007 model. While the Chevy Equinox has a retail price starting at $22,995, which will give a significant difference to some car buyers. But price and value are relative and dependent upon the individual, and what is important are the features available for that price. They are as follows:

4.2. Warranty and Ownership Costs

Jeep provides a 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty that actually doubles the powertrain warranty of a typical crossover by covering 5 years/100,000 miles. This is particularly important to customers planning to use these vehicles for light towing or off-roading, as drivetrain repairs can be very costly. Jeep also has a service of its own called Jeep Wave, which is available with vehicle purchase. It offers free maintenance for 2 years a 24/7 hotline, trip interruption coverage, and special owner support. This comes free of charge on any new Jeep vehicle but can be discontinued at any time in the next few years. Both the Compass and Equinox are known to have repair issues when they get older and high mileage, so free tune-ups from Chevy or Jeep Wave can be a deal-sealer for either side.

Obviously, warranty and ownership cost are big factors in overall value. Chevy Equinox offers a typical 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty and a 5 year/100,000 mile rust warranty. What really makes the Equinox stand out on this front is that the company provides one year of free scheduled maintenance, something that is rarely equaled in the auto industry. Repairs on Chevrolets are known to be affordable but frequent and the little free tune-ups can do a lot to help on minimizing the inconvenience of repairs. Chevrolet is proud to say that all of its new cars come with 5 years of OnStar service standard, including the Safe and Sound plan. OnStar's safety and security features can be very valuable to customers. One year alone is $168 and this way it is included for 5 years. Jeep only offers OnStar on the Compass and other Chrysler vehicles as an available option.

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