With the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Melfi Assembly Plant returning to work to build the Jeep® Renegade and now the European-spec Jeep® Compass. With the growing success of the Jeep Compass in the European marketplace, the Europe-spec model was initially produced for Europe at FCA Toluca Assembly Plant in Mexico alongside the North American model.
Now thanks to a €5 billion (or $5.4 billion) European investment plan for Italy, and the Jeep brand’s continuous evolution, the Melfi plant becomes the fifth FCA assembly plant around the globe to manufacturer the Compass. Produced in Mexico, Brazil, China, India, and now Italy, the Melfi plant will be the first plant to manufacture the new electrified Compass 4xe model. The new model will allow European dealers to guarantee an average delivery time from the factory to the dealer, in approximately three weeks.
What is exciting is the new Melfi-built European-spec model has some updates, one of which we are hoping will come to the North American market next year. The new European-spec Compass will offer the 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine found on the North American-spec Jeep Renegade. Since its introduction in 2017 in the North American marketplace, the Compass’ biggest complaint has been the 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder motor that comes standard on all models.
The 1.3-liter turbocharged inline-four will be available in either a 130 horsepower or 150 horsepower ensuring customers a smooth and comfortable driving experience. The 130 horsepower version is paired with a 6-speed manual transmission, while the 150 horsepower is mated to a 6-speed Dual Dry Clutch Transmission (DDCT), and both with a front-wheel-drive configuration. This is the first application of an automatic transmission in combination with a front-wheel-drive on Compass and will make it more accessible to new customers in the C-SUV segment (sales of 4×2 automatics currently account for 28% of the market in Europe). The new 1.3-liter turbo engine complies with Euro 6D Final standards and features a GPF filter (Gasoline Particulate Filter).
The new 1.3-liter turbo engine is designed to offer outstanding performance both on and off-road while delivering excellent driving comfort. For Compass, the 1.3-liter turbo engine has been updated with a specific turbo-matching which maximizes the engine response at low engine speed and reduces CO2 emissions by up to 27%. The new engine also optimizes fuel consumption by up to 30% (WLTP cycle) compared to the previous gasoline 4×4 versions with automatic transmission.
Jeep Compass, in combination with the new 1.3-liter turbo engine and DDCT automatic transmission, also features for the first time a ‘Sport’ driving mode that can be selected with the push of a button in the center console. This dynamic driving mode adds even more fun to the daily urban drives, by tightening up the steering, sharpening the throttle response, and adjusting the transmission’s behavior through higher upshifts for full horsepower and torque delivery. In addition, in Sport mode, the ’sailing‘ function is blocked and the ’fast-off‘ mode is activated. When the accelerator is released, this prevents switching to a higher gear, to maximize the engine brake and optimize responsiveness in the next acceleration.
The Melfi plant will also produce Compass models featuring an updated version of the 120 horsepower 1.6-liter MultiJet II diesel engine with SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction). This engine will be mated to a 6-speed manual transmission in combination with front-wheel-drive.
For the electrified 4xe models (those Compass models featuring plug-in hybrid electric technology) will be available with an electric motor mated to either a 190 horsepower or 240 horsepower version of the 1.3-liter turbocharged motor. These models will arrive in European showrooms in the second half of this year, and both 4xe versions will only be available in four-wheel-drive (4×4).
The dynamic characteristics of Compass have also been further refined, bringing it even more in line with the expectations of European customers. Handling characteristics of the Compass made in Melfi have been enhanced thanks to new tuning of the steering system, aimed at improving its lightness and progressiveness, and targeted interventions on the suspension system. These include the addition of shock absorbers with FSD (Frequency Selective Damping) valves, to limit movements in the vehicle’s body, without affecting comfort in tackling rough roads. The Melfi-built Compass offers more precision when cornering at high speed, ensuring less roll and pitch, and more braking stability. Most of all, the driver experiences a more flexible and precise on-road behavior, especially noticeable on meandering routes.
The Melfi-built Compass will feature state-of-the-art connectivity in order to meet the needs of its demanding customers. First introduced in the Jeep lineup with the 2020 Jeep Renegade, the new Uconnect Services feature an array of functionalities, which are accessible through various touchpoints, including the My Uconnect mobile app, smartwatch, website, buttons on the ceiling light and radio. The new Uconnect Services will be fitted as standard on both the 7-inch and 8.4-inch infotainment systems and on all trims from the Longitude upwards to offer advanced onboard and off-board connectivity and useful services for enhanced safety and comfort.
The new 2020 Jeep Compass made in Melfi, will be arriving in European dealers in June. The European-spec Compass will be available in Longitude (Latitude in North America), Night Eagle (Altitude in North America), Limited, and S (High Altitude in North America) trims. All four models will be available with gasoline and diesel options with front-wheel-drive configuration. Those looking for a 4×4 model will have to step up to a new electrified 4xe model, which will be available in all trim levels. The new Compass will also feature five new colors for Europe, Ivory Tri-Coat, Colorado Red, Blue Italia, Blue Shade, and Techno Green Metallic.
An updated 2021 Jeep Compass is expected to start showing up at the end of the year, with updated looks.