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Jeep Compass vs. Jeep Cherokee

1. Introduction

The first section of the essay shall compare the cost of the two vehicles. This will be vital to helping my friend make a decision, as the most she wants to spend on a new car is $30,000. I have given her a round figure for what each vehicle costs equipped with a few extras to give her an idea of the price. For the Jeep Cherokee X I put $34,000 and for the Jeep Compass Sport $27,000. With the Cherokee already being over the budget I suggested to her that a second-hand Cherokee would be a good option as it would still be worth buying and still within the price range. With this in mind, she should find this very helpful in deciding which car she might want to consider.

The subject of this essay is to compare the Jeep Cherokee X model and the Jeep Compass Sport. I have embarked on this venture as I am very taken with the Jeep range of motorcars and have been thinking about getting one for several years. However, I have never been able to decide on one particular model. I figured the best way to do this was to write an essay comparing two Jeep models so that I am forced to look into different models in greater depth, and therefore make it easier to choose one. This exercise shall provide me with a thorough knowledge of different Jeep models and shall also help to compare different characteristics of the same class of car. I am interested in purchasing a 4WD and therefore I have chosen two 4WD Jeeps to compare. This brings me to my next reason for writing this essay. A close friend of my family is very much in need of a new car and it has been suggested that she gets a 4WD. She is currently driving a Toyota Camry and wishes to stay with this type of size vehicle. She has also been considering purchasing a Jeep and I have convinced her to wait until I have completed some research into the topic and then she can have a look at my finished product to see if there is anything she might be interested in.

2. Design and Features

Jeep Compass and Cherokee are both feature-loaded vehicles and selection depends on the varying tastes and the requirement of the consumer. Compass is a perfect blend of features mixed with an international design language whereas Cherokee has all the modern and upcoming tech-savvy features with a more rugged and bulky design. Based on the taste and requirement of the consumer, a decision can be made according to the comparison above.

The Jeep Compass projects a more international design language. It has sleek lines running along the body, projector headlamps, and a modern straight line design language for the back of the car. It has 17" wheels, which suits the overall size and the raised stance of Compass to make it look more proportional. New advanced features have been introduced in Cherokee which are hardly found in the other SUVs, therefore it gives more bang for the buck. For instance, a wireless charging pad - a very handy feature where one doesn't have to worry about taking a charger along for the mobiles, just switch the phone settings to charge and keep it on the pad on the dashboard. Secondly, Cherokee is one of the initial vehicles offering radar-supported power liftgate, opening the liftgate with just a kick under the sensors. All the other models are offering power liftgate with buttons on the liftgate or on the remote. This new feature makes the liftgate operation more handy when one has his hands full with grocery bags or luggage. Upper trim levels are offering a premium sound system from Alpine, which is still not very common in this category of vehicles, consumers who are music enthusiasts will surely love this feature at an additional cost of course. One more expensive yet very handy feature is the configurable full-color LED display available behind the steering wheel replacing the traditional RPM and speedometer dials, it provides a vast amount of information to the driver with more clarity and minimal eyes off the road. Even the driver can customize the screen according to their needs. All these features make Cherokee a more modern and tech-savvy vehicle.

Jeep Compass and Jeep Cherokee belong to the category of luxury and mid-size SUVs. However, their taste varies when it comes to design and looks. Some people prefer a car with more rugged looks like Cherokee, whereas some prefer a more sophisticated and international look like Compass. Jeep Compass has more of an international design language.

2.1. Exterior Design

2014 Jeep Cherokee brings a modern, contemporary design, efficiency, and a fresh interpretation of the legendary Jeep design into the growing compact SUV market. The breakthrough Cherokee architecture highlights a cutting-edge appearance that differentiates it from the competition. Jeep Cherokee's exterior highlights are an exciting new interpretation of the iconic Jeep design that features a wide and commanding stance, hexagonal front lights, a distinctive and divided waterfall bonnet, the signature seven-slot grille, protective lower skid plate, signature LED daylight running lamps, and projector headlamps, a composite construction, a world's first front and rear windscreens that are flush with the vehicle's body, and a rear spoiler. Jeep Compass, on the other hand, gives you a very competitive price and boasts a unique, premium design that redefines the compact SUV segment. Modern and sculptural, Jeep Compass delivers an unsurpassed four-wheel-drive performance, fuel efficiency, a compact, affordable package, and a wide array of advanced technology and safety features. The Compass architecture combines visual strength and the established Jeep design with a modern, sophisticated twist. New body color roof moldings, spoiler, and a stepped roofline provide a visually interesting, fun, and contemporary look. The traditional seven-slot grille is combined with a stunning chrome outline, and the steeply raked front end gives Compass a unique and expressive, compact SUV presence. High-flared wheel arches and a short overhang give Compass the capability of a go-anywhere attitude. A prominent and powerfully-stamped bonnet combined with a muscular and athletic exterior side profile add to the visual strength of Compass. At the rear, modern LED tail lamps are embedded into the rear quarter panel and feature a unique and intricate lighting pattern. High-quality painted fog lamp bezels and a protected exhaust tip add to the premium appearance.

2.2. Interior Features

2.2.4 Seating: Both SUVs can seat 5 passengers. Cherokee has the best in class seating with a 6-way manually adjustable driver seat and 6-way passenger seat and an option for an 8-way power adjustable driver seat and 4-way power lumbar adjustable driver seat with memory function and 8-way power adjustable passenger seat in the Limited variant. Compass has a standard 6-way adjustable driver and passenger seat and an option for a 6-way power driver seat in the Limited variant. An advantage of the Jeep SUVs is the built-in seat storage and a fold-flat front passenger seat for carrying long cargo. This is particularly useful if the SUV is used for camping activities.

2.2.3 Roof: Both have a dual-pane panoramic sunroof option. Cherokee's sunroof is larger than Compass's.

2.2.2 Instrument Panel: Cherokee has the most modern instrument panel with a 3.5" mini TFT screen in between 2 dials and a 7" screen on the dashboard center. Compass has a simpler panel with an option for a 7" screen in the center only in the Limited variant.

2.2.1 Fabric Quality: Cherokee interior is surrounded by soft-touch materials. Leather is an option only in the Limited and Overland. The available dual-tone color scheme and wood trim filter out the somber mood of a winter day. The compass has less premium plastic trims and a leather option only in the Limited variant. The dual-tone scheme and the trim is available only in the Limited variant.

3. Performance and Capability

Towing capacity is another important consideration for a vehicle's capability. Jeep Compass offers a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 pounds, while Jeep Cherokee can tow a best-in-class 4,500 pounds with the V6 engine and the Trailer Tow Group package. This is a significant difference for someone who's looking to tow a heavy load.

In describing the Jeep Cherokee off-road capability, we can start with the Trail Rated Jeep Active Drive II system mentioned earlier. This system is best-in-class 4x4 capability, with a rear axle disconnect feature that only engages the 4x4 system when necessary. Like Compass, this 4WD system is good for snow, rain, or mud, but also has the added capability to handle more extreme conditions. Cherokee offers an additional off-road package option called the Jeep Active Drive Lock system. This includes all features of the Active Drive II system, but it adds a locking rear differential and one of the best on-demand 4x4 systems. This is best for severe off-road conditions and is also coupled with a Trail Rated badge. With similar 4WD systems, the main difference in off-road capability between these two vehicles is that Cherokee offers packages that make it one of the best in the class.

When it comes to off-road capability, any Jeep vehicle is known for handling the toughest conditions. Compass offers a Freedom Drive I 4WD system with an off-road capable lock mode, which easily handles light snow, rain, or dirt roads. The Jeep Active Drive II system provides a low-range mode and is best for low-traction conditions, such as ice, steep grades, or unpredictable surfaces. This system is coupled with a Trail Rated designation, indicating it has been tested in five key off-road categories: traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation, and water fording.

Cherokee starts with the 2.4L MultiAir 4-cylinder engine and a 9-speed automatic transmission, delivering 184 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. It also has an option for a 3.2L Pentastar V6 engine that provides 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy ratings for the 2.4L engine are 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, while the V6 option provides 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. The similarities and differences at this level are close, but due to the similar fuel economy and added horsepower, Cherokee has a slight edge in this comparison.

Jeep Compass starts with a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine and a 5-speed manual transmission, which delivers 158 hp and 141 lb-ft of torque. It also has an option for a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine or a CVT transmission. Compass offers reasonable fuel economy, with the 2.0L engine getting 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, while the 2.4L engine gets 23 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

3.1. Engine Options

The AMC 4.0 Straight-6 engine, also known as Magnum, was the engine used to replace the outdated 2.8L V6. The 4.0L engine is commonly found in the Cherokees and had the longest lifespan of any other engine used. It has also been mentioned that this engine is one of the most reliable engines in automotive history. It was produced by AMC in 1986 to be used in their Jeep vehicles. Influences Colts, Railtons, and Daimler vehicles during the 1950s, and it was finally phased out by Chrysler in 2006, being used in Wranglers produced in the Toledo South Assembly Plant. This long 20-year timeframe made the 4.0L engine one of the longest persisting engines in car history.

The standard engine was the 2.5L Power Tech I4 engine (150.5 cubic inches) produced by AMC, which generated around 130 hp and 150 ft.lbf of torque. This engine was used from 1986 to 2000 and replaced the old and slow 2.5L engine. The 2.5L Power Tech was the most reliable and robust engine that Jeep has ever put into a Cherokee if it was maintained properly.

In North America, Jeep only offers Chrysler 4's in their current compact SUVs and does not include the exceptional 4.0L engine that was available in the Cherokees of the past. However, Jeep Cherokee XJ has two engine choices.

3.2. Off-Road Capability

In terms of off-roading, the Cherokee has the edge over the Compass, thanks to superior ground clearance and approach and departure angles. The thrust on technology to enable the 4WD system can also be seen and is superior to the Compass. The Compass is unlikely to go much further off tarmac than any other soft-roader, but for the all-wheel-drive car buyer who occasionally has to go off the beaten track, the Trailhawk version is the one to aim for. This is a variant designed to go as far as the Compass can, with raised ride height, proper low-ratio 4x4 gearing, a rock mode for the Selec-Terrain system, and hill descent control. But it still does not have real off-road credibility, and many owners will never use the system to its full potential.

The off-road capability of the Jeep Compass is expected to be not as good as in the hard-core Jeep Wrangler, but it has a separate road selector used to enhance the four-wheel-drive system. This mode has settings to enable all sorts of conditions such as Auto, Snow, Sand, and Mud. It has a descent ground clearance of 8.2 inches for off-road capability. The Jeep Cherokee has the best-in-class off-road capability, which shares its platform with the compact SUV Jeep Renegade, which also has good off-road capability. The Cherokee comes with a separate 4x4 system called Jeep Active Drive, with a setting to adapt to all types of weather. This also has a Selec-Terrain system, which optimizes engine and transmission and 4WD settings according to different conditions. It also has a descent ground clearance of 8.7 inches and approach and departure angles to enable off-road capability.

3.3. Towing Capacity

Towing is another area where the two models differ. The Cherokee has a 1,500-pound maximum towing capacity and a 1-inch wider track compared with the Compass, which has a 1,000-pound maximum towing capacity. Manufactured on the same line as the impressive Dodge Neon, top-end models have a 2.4-liter engine with an available Continuously Variable Transaxle, which will come standard with the Compass. The baseline Jeep Compass has a 1.8-liter engine with an available 5-speed manual transaxle and tops out with a 2.4-liter engine and a Continuously Variable Transaxle. Varying track widths—curiously, the Compass’ 59.8 inches is an inch wider at the front and 2 inches narrower at the rear than the Cherokee’s—wheels and tires, and weight and suspension differences affect the trail rating. The Compass has a 7.8-inch KJ-esque 4x4 ground clearance and a 21.5-degree approach and 32.2-degree departure angles. Wheel and tire packages can change dynamic capabilities for both models. The Rallye package for the Neon has P215/55R18 all-season performance tires, which are among the widest ever put on a compact car in the U.S. and will likely find a similar option on the Compass. This tire package will be provided with 18x7-inch aluminum wheels and will have a dynamic handling suspension, very similar to the one found in Chrysler’s Touring suspension. The goal is highway response and handling, and options like ESP and traction control will help customers get the best traction possible on the road. The Cherokee, with its new independent and isolated front and rear suspensions, will have superior ride quality compared with the KJ, which many still regard as the premier unibody SUV ride and handling package. But the extra investment in 4x4 control starts with Command-Trac and an available Selec-Terrain packages and goes up to the Trail Rated package with 2-speed power transfer units and on-demand 4-Low, which is key to the model’s now differing off-road capabilities.

4. Technology and Safety

Jeep Compass and Jeep Cherokee, both the SUVs, come with high-tech safety features to ensure the safety of the commuters. Both the SUVs include safety features such as LaneSense Departure Warning with Lane Assist, Forward Collision Warning, and Auto high-beam headlamps. Adaptive Cruise Control is also included in both the SUVs. This system allows the vehicle to automatically throttle or brake when approaching a vehicle ahead to maintain a preset distance. During braking in traffic or on steep hills, this system enhances safety and convenience. Rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines is available in both the vehicles. This system provides a wide-angle view of the area immediately behind the vehicle with on-screen backup grid lines superimposed on the rear camera's image. This system helps the drivers to detect obstacles behind the vehicle.

4.1. Infotainment System

In terms of tech, the Compass comes out on top for the lower trims, given that pushing the base model of the Cherokee to around the same price as the Compass is required to get the same level of technology. However, for a base model Latitude Plus or Latitude Plus with a few options added, the Cherokee may work out to be better value.

For audio, the Compass comes with a standard 6-speaker system across all models. An optional 9-speaker system with a subwoofer is available, but only with the Premium Lighting Group and/or the Limited trim. The Cherokee has a standard 6-speaker system across all models with an optional 9-speaker system with a subwoofer, which is available at an additional cost.

For anyone with a love of modern technology, the Uconnect system in the Jeep Compass is bound to impress. As standard, it comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth integration, and dual-zone automatic climate control. On the Limited trim, you get an 8.4-inch screen with built-in navigation. The Jeep Cherokee has similar features, but all models come with a 7-inch touchscreen. The Limited and Overland come with the same 8.4-inch screen, and Latitude Plus and up come with a digital dual-zone climate control. Both vehicles have steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

4.2. Advanced Safety Features

In a nutshell, the Jeep Cherokee has a wide range of safety features when compared with the Jeep Compass.

On the other hand, the Jeep Cherokee provides a much safer ride through a huge number of safety features. Starting from the enhanced accident response system to the airbags, seat belts, and child seat anchor system, the vehicle has a nice combination of both active and passive safety features. Other features include hill start assist, hill descent control, electronic parking brake, electronic stability control, panic brake assist, pull mitigation, and a few more.

Jeep Compass is a next generation SUV that has been launched by Jeep. The vehicle boasts the most advanced safety features, which have taken the security of the passengers to the next level. The new safety features include advanced multi-stage airbags, electronic stability program (which includes roll mitigation), anti-lock braking system, electronic brake force distribution, all speed traction control, brake assist, and a few more.

Jeep Compass vs. Jeep Cherokee

If you're comparing the Jeep Compass and Jeep Cherokee, these resources provide valuable information: