We drove to Tampa in the Jeep Compass Latitude 4X4, and it just may be the perfect vehicle to ease on down I-75. We make this bold statement because the Compass is plenty comfortable, has enough technology and safety features to make the trip hassle-free but it doesn’t attract attention of the state police lurking under bridges and in high brushes.

What? Me, officer? Speeding? No you must mean that flashy car. But, trust us, this Jeep has the speed; it just doesn’t have the reputation of being a hot rod!  However, this compact SUV can go. In addition to the stander non-turbocharged four-cylinder engine, it is also available in V6 and turbocharged four-cylinder engines that bring assertive power to the table. In fact, it brings 180 horsepower and offers fuel economy of a combined 25 miles per gallon. The Compass Latitude 4X4 is a car under the radar — literally and figuratively.

It actually brings a lot to the table, especially for a vehicle that starts with a base price of $25,333, although we drove a loaded one that brought the price to a $35,500. Although most of the add-ons were minimal in cost and more taste than necessity, such as paying $195 for a sublime jazz blue paint, $345 for a compact spare tire or $995 for 18-inch polished black pockets aluminum wheels, the more important optional equipment included the $795 Safety and Security Group (ParkSense® Rear Assist System, Blind-Spot and Cross-Path Direction and security alarm), Popular Equipment Group ($1035 for 8-way power driver & six-way manual passenger seats, 4-way power lumber adjustable seat and Remote Start System).

Regardless of whether you choose a loaded model or a stripped down one, this car is awesome and a bargain. There is plenty of standard technology, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and well as Uconnect® that is designed to keep you in touch with everything you need. The 8.4-inch screen houses favorite smartphone apps, navigation and you can even stream, share and browse on the go with an available 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot.

In terms of style, the Compass certainly has upped it game with some series style with refined sweeping curves that mixes with a bold athletic build. The Compass steps into the space between the subcompact and compact categories. In terms of Jeeps, its larger than the Renegade but smaller than the compact Jeep Cherokee. Among its competitors would be the Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue Sport, Honda HR-V and Subaru Crosstrek.

Its wheelbase is 106.6 inches and 73.2 inches across. The 182 inches in length provides ample interior room for the five passengers. Front row passengers have 41.1 inches of leg room (40.3 inches for the shotgun rider).

This Jeep Compass Latitude is everything you need in a subcompact crossover SUV. It has lots of style, offers a comfortable and contemporary interior and lots of connectivity. There’s plenty of safety and security features that protects passengers from the unexpected mishaps, which is exactly what every family needs. But, you can’t get away from the fact that this is a Jeep. It’s fun, it’s hip and no matter how mainstream it tries, it still is a wonderful funky car.

— Mary Welch


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