16 July 2007

Losing the way

Startech-tuned Jeep Compass is a step in the wrong direction

Jeep Compass

It's fair to say we're not the biggest fans of the new Jeep Compass. Shoddy on the inside, over-compromised on- and off-road, noisy engines... not good.

But maybe, just maybe, a decent tune-up by Startech can save the Compass. 

Appearing just a couple of months after the Jeep went on sale in the UK, the Startech version must be an improvement, surely?

'Fraid not. It's the most generic of tuning jobs: chipping plus exhausts plus stuck-on body bits. We won't descend into vulgar metaphor, but suffice to say it's like polishing something that shouldn't - and indeed physically can't - be polished.

Startech could have had the common decency to do something with the Compass's dreadful interior, but all you get is some leather-covered door trim and something described as 'high-gloss silver-coated loudspeaker mouldings'. Not even bling. 

You might be glad for the chipping at least - the 2.0-litre diesel engine gets an extra 39bhp, boosting overall power to 177bhp, which could at least prove useful for escaping the disappointed glances of passers-by.

Certain factions of the TG office reckon the Startech Compass is the ugliest tuning job around at the moment. That <a href="/content/news/stories/1026/">might be a bit harsh</a>, but here's TG Associate Editor Bill Thomas's verdict, delivered after ingesting several heavy sedates to recover from the initial shock of the Compass. 

"This is not a real Jeep, it's a Dodge Caliber hatch with a soft Jeep-esque body bolted onto it," says Bill.

"So it doesn't do off-road too well and it looks, well, it looks. The guys at Startech have chipped it, but they've chipped Chrysler Neons in the past. Say no more. The Patriot looks more Jeep-like and is better off-road. Go for that, not this."

The Startech Compass? Just say no, kids.

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