In September, Jeep told the world what it was changing to make the 2017 Jeep Compass (it wasn’t much). Then, last week, Jeep announced the brand new 2017Jeep Compass .


Yes, there are two crossovers named “2017 Jeep Compass.” No, there is no good way to tell them apart, which will result in some confusion inJanuary, when the new one starts reaching customers. Even now, you can go to the EPA web site and see the 2017 Jeep Compass listed. (The 2017 Jeep Compass, in contrast, hasn’t been listed yet, and will have better gas mileage — “around 30 mpg highway” from the 2.4 liter engine.)

The only way to figure it out so far is that the manual transmission will now be a six speed, and there will be a nine speed. Both will have six speed automatics too, with the same size engine. But how are regular buyers supposed to remember all this? (Maybe the image will be different, or maybe it’ll be denoted as “2017 Jeep Compass [new].”)

It was an odd decision, which we were told by an informal source was made to avoid having an extra-long 2018 model year. The 2018s are slated to come out a couple of months early, so the 2017 run will be short but confusing for years to come.

It’s been done before, but not often. Oddly enough, we were told it’s going to be done again — with the Jeep Wrangler. Months ago, we were told that Jeep would make old Wranglers (in the current plant) at the same time as new ones (in the new plant) to avoid shortages. That didn’t work out well when Daimler did it with minivans, but the Wrangler doesn’t usually follow the rules.