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2012 Jeep Compass (photos)

Jeep's effort to modernize its lineup hit the Compass model at the 2011 Detroit auto show. The 2012 Compass features two engine options and an off-road package that finally earns it Jeep's Trail Rated designation.

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Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 7 Josh Miller/CNET
Jeep relaunched its Compass model at the 2011 Detroit auto show, trying to shed the previous impression in the industry that the car was not worthy of the Jeep brand. The new Compass gets an optional off-road package earning it Jeep's Trail Rated designation.

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2 of 7 Josh Miller/CNET
The two engines available for the Compass are both four bangers--a 2-liter and a 2.4-liter--generating 158 and 172 horsepower respectively. With this kind of power, the Compass is limited to a 2,000-pound towing capacity.

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The Compass remains in the compact SUV segment, with seating for five and a reasonable amount of cargo space.

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The base Compass is front-wheel-drive, but Jeep will offer two four-wheel-drive packages: Freedom Drive I and Freedom Drive II Off-Road. The latter gets Jeep's Trail Rated designation with a ride height 1 inch higher than standard models, a low range mode, skid plates, and a full-size spare tire.

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The steering wheel uses a similar configuration to that of the new Grand Cherokee, but the Compass' interior falls far short of its bigger brother's opulence. Hard plastics abound in the Compass.

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There are no fixed-gear transmissions for the Compass. Jeep is making it available with two continuously variable transmissions, depending on which drivetrain package is chosen. Jeep's CVT2 transmission includes a low range for the off-road package.

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Jeep has a number of different cabin tech options. The car can be had with a USB port for music, a Bluetooth phone system, and a Boston Acoustics audio system that includes fold-out rear speakers for tailgating. A hard-drive-based navigation system is also available.

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