Rain and metal grate inclines mix poorly with new Compass and its standard-issue tires at this year’s New York International Auto Show.

When you go to auto shows, you expect Jeep and Land Rover to have consumer experience events like this one. It’s a fake off-road course that is built not really to test the truck’s ability when the trail gets rough, but instead to impress the average prospective Jeeper who stumbles across the experience during the New York International Auto Show. There are a few inclines, an off-camber test, and a couple small ramps. All of the obstacles here are collapsible and transportable so they can be hauled around to each of the major (and not so major) auto shows on the circuit.

Jeep is known for building world-class off-roaders, but even Jeep people chuckle a little when they see the ‘Trail Rated’ badge on the fender of a new Compass. Earlier this week when the Jeep experience opened up for people to try out, one such wannabe Jeep driver attempted to drive one of those new Compass models around the course. On any other day it likely would have made it, but with someone inexperienced in the driver’s seat and a nice sheen of water coating the metal incline things went pear-shaped in a hurry.

2017 Jeep Compass attempted to tackle the tallest hill on the automaker’s course, and the rain didn’t play too well with its tires and the metal grating. After making it halfway up, its tires started spinning, so the driver brought it back down.

Now, you’d think the story would end there, but oh, no, it does not. Instead, the Compass driver gives it another go with more speed. The utility vehicle made it maybe 80 percent of the way up before spinning the wheels again. The driver hit the brakes, and the car began to slide downward, at an angle, coming perilously close to metal guardrails on both sides.

When it landed on the ground, it was at a 45-degree angle, barely escaping some sheet-metal damage. It took several employees rocking the car and the driver giving it gas to straighten the Compass out, but not before smartphone cameras started filming. The Compass did not attempt the course again, and at the time of writing, Jeep stopped taking its vehicles up that hill entirely.

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Rain and metal grate inclines mix poorly with new Compass and its standard-issue tires at this year’s New York International Auto Show. When you go to auto shows, you expect Jeep and Land Rover to have consumer experience events like this one. It’s a fake off-road course that is built not...