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Jeep Australia to give Compass a second chance

Nose job: The Jeep Compass will return to the Australian market with a more mature front-end inspired by the new Grand Cherokee flagship.

Compass compact SUV to re-join Jeep’s local line-up by end of the year

4 Aug 2011

JEEP has confirmed it will re-introduce the compact Compass crossover in Australia in the fourth quarter of this year.

The facelifted model features a number of improvements over the bug-eyed model that was axed from the local Jeep line-up in 2009, including a front-end redesign that takes cues from the brand’s all-new Grand Cherokee flagship introduced here in February.

The interior has also been given a substantial makeover, with higher equipment levels and better quality, soft-touch materials said to lend the cabin a more upmarket feel than the model it replaces.

Jeep also says that the revised Compass will feature more than 30 safety and security features, including electronic stability control with roll-over mitigation, full side curtain airbags and hill-start assist.

The edgy small SUV will give Jeep a two-pronged attack in the popular compact segment when it goes on sale alongside the closely related Patriot that was given a refresh in May this year.

Jeep Australia senior manager of marketing and corporate communications Dean Bonthorne told GoAuto the two models would appeal to a different sort of buyer within the segment.

9 center imageLeft: Updated Jeep Compass (interior shot from UK model).

“We look forward to attracting new buyers that are interested in the compact SUV segment and are interested in the Jeep brand but previously didn’t take to the styling of the Patriot,” he said.

“We hope that the newer styling will attract a new segment of buyer for us.

“Taking styling cues from the Grand Cherokee, the Compass is a very sharp looking vehicle that suits an urban environment, whereas the Patriot is a little more traditional in its approach.”

Jeep is playing its cards close to its chest on powertrain specifications, but UK-spec vehicles are available with two petrol and two diesel engines in both front- and four-wheel drive configurations.

These engines include either a 115kW/190Nm 2.0-litre petrol or 100kW/320Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel for front-wheel drive models, and a 125kW/ 220Nm 2.4-litre petrol or retuned 120kW/320Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel for four-wheel drive models.

While the Compass struggled for sales the first time around, Mr Bonthorne said Jeep is confident the revised model will make more of an impact on the bustling urban-oriented SUV segment.

“The Compass of 2007 was very polarising in its styling,” he said. “We’re not sure that it worked as well as it possibly could have.

“We think that this new model will definitely appeal to a greater number of consumers and be a smash hit success in Australia.”

The Compass will be the fourth new or revised Jeep to be added to the range this year, following the new Grand Cherokee and updated Patriot and Wrangler models.

This influx of new and revised models has seen Jeep’s model range experience retail growth of 19.1 per cent year to date in an overall market that is down 5.9 per cent, according to industry statistician VFACTS.

Sales of the all-new Grand Cherokee are up an astonishing 319 per cent for the year, while the 255 sales it recorded in July represented a massive 571.1 per cent increase on the same month last year.

However, sales of the Patriot compact SUV – similar in size to the Compass - are down 17.7 per cent so far this, despite the refresh it received in May.

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