2017 Jeep Compass debuts with tiny Grand Cherokee looks

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It debuts in Brazil but will have a more formal reveal in LA.

Meet the Jeep Compass. It is, thankfully, completely new and entirely unrelated to the Jeep Compass and Patriot that are on sale now. Bet you almost forgot about that pair. As the new C-Segment SUV in Jeep’s lineup, it’ll replace both of those models and take a spot in between the Renegade and Cherokee.

The new Compass is based on a stretched version of the Renegade platform, what Fiat Chrysler Automotive in a fit of eloquence calls the “Small Wide 4×4” architecture. We expect front-wheel drive as standard and four-wheel drive as a very commonly selected option. The Compass should offer either a 2.0-liter turbo inline-four or a naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter inline-four, both mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. There’s a chance it’ll get a manual, but it’s a very slim chance. That being said, globally there will be 17 powertrain options, according to FCA, and that may mean US consumers will have more than one choice in the matter. Judging by the first photo above, a an off-road-ready Trailhawk model is a good bet.

We’ve already seen this thing completely uncovered in these spy shots, which were taken in Brazil, where it will be produced, so the overall mini-Grand Cherokee aesthetic isn’t a surprise. The interior looks more like the Cherokee’s than the Renegade’s, however, and you’ll notice there’s no controversial T-handle shifter in sight.

So why didn’t we see the new Compass at the New York Auto Show, like everybody expected? Jeep says it’s because it wanted the reveal to occur at the plant that’s going to build the thing, highlighting the importance of the South and Central American markets for the brand. There will be a North American debut with more information coming at the LA Auto Show in November, so we won’t have too long to wait for more details. As originally planned, the Compass should hit American dealerships in early 2017.

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