Overview & Reviews
Most people think of Jeeps as tough off-road vehicles that love to get muddy, but when the Jeep Compass debuted for 2007, it wasn't like other Jeeps. It didn't look rugged, it wasn't trail-rated, and as far as we could tell, it didn't even like dirt. Instead, it was a car-based design built for the majority of small-SUV buyers who wanted a fuel-efficient runabout that was easy to drive around suburbia. Four-wheel drive was available, of course, but it was a single-speed system -- enough to get you through a snowstorm and that's about it.
As you can imagine, Jeep purists didn't much care for the Compass, which they regarded as the antithesis of all things Jeep. The company evidently took this early criticism to heart, because the latest iteration has revised styling and newfound capabilities that edge the Compass closer to "real Jeep" status. Even so, the Jeep Compass faces stiff competition among today's compact, car-based SUVs. Its low base price and interesting features may be compelling at a glance, but for those who dig deeper, its subpar engines, modest cargo capacity and relatively crude driving dynamics will likely prove significant liabilities.
Current Jeep Compass
The Jeep Compass is a compact SUV offered in Sport, Latitude and Limited trim levels. Standard equipment on the base Sport includes alloy wheels, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning and an auxiliary audio jack. Stepping up to the Latitude gets you heated front seats, a height-adjustable driver seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with auxiliary audio controls, while the Limited gets items like leather upholstery, a power driver seat, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera and automatic climate control. Notable options include a navigation system, Bluetooth and a USB port.
Every front-wheel-drive Jeep Compass Sport or Latitude model comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 158 horsepower. A 2.4-liter 172-hp four-cylinder engine is standard on the Limited and all four-wheel-drive Compasses. It is optional on the others. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the Sport, but a six-speed automatic transmission can be specified instead. The Latitude and Limited come standard with the six-speed automatic.
Of the two available four-wheel-drive options, the light-duty "Freedom Drive I" system operates in front-wheel-drive mode under normal conditions and automatically sends power to the rear wheels only when needed. The Freedom Drive II Off-Road package (available on 4WD versions) includes hill ascent/descent assist and a host of other all-terrain equipment, but unfortunately it requires the undesirable continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) -- which also comes standard with the optional Altitude and High Altitude packages.
In reviews, we've found the Jeep Compass to be one of the least appealing compact SUVs. At its core, the Compass still shares its underpinnings with the thankfully departed Dodge Caliber hatchback, and suffers from the same weak and noisy engines. Acceleration is slow regardless of which engine you opt for, though the six-speed automatic does improve on the CVT's whiny, sluggish operation. In terms of refinement (or lack thereof), the 2.4-liter is almost as rough and loud as the 2.0, and neither achieves impressive fuel economy.
To be fair, the Freedom Drive II package makes the Compass an unusually capable crossover in the dirt, but if that's what you're after, there are superior alternatives, including Jeep's own Cherokee. And aside from Freedom Drive II, there's little else to recommend the Compass over its peers. Rear passenger space is adequate overall, but legroom is tight back there relative to the norm, and the harsh, bouncy ride haunts both seating rows. Maximum cargo space behind the front seats also trails the pack.
Used Jeep Compass Models
Introduced for the 2007 model year, the Jeep Compass is in its first generation, but there have been significant changes made. From 2007-'10, the Compass featured different exterior styling that was less indicative of other Jeep models. It was rounder, a little more avant garde, and if we're honest, not very attractive. Prior to an interior overhaul for 2009 that addressed both design and materials quality, the cabin was one of the worst on the market. It was upgraded yet again for 2011, which was also the first year for the current car's more capable Freedom Drive II equipment and "baby Grand Cherokee" styling. The six-speed automatic debuted for 2014 as a considerably more civilized alternative to the CVT, though the underlying shortcomings of the engines were not addressed.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 268.00
HOT LOOKING, BUT SMALL - 2011 Jeep Compass
By outwardlycheap - December 1 - 1:35 am
This car is one of the best looking on the road, but the driver's area is severely cramped, no room for the right knee, cannot steer with right hand because armrest is too far away, and no matter what anybody says, the engine IS noisy! I gave it to my wife.
Fun & Reliable - 2008 Jeep Compass
By ensoniqman - October 22 - 6:56 pm
We traded in our second Honda Hybrid for this 2008 Jeep Compass (had a 2003 and 2005 Honday Civic hybrid...transmissions and CV joint went out on both of them). I liked the styling of the Compass because it didn't really look like anything but a Jeep. Plus, I'm 5'11" and fit very comfortably in this Compass...unlike the Civic. Nice & comfy for road trips too; not alot of road noise. Using BF Goodrich tires and makes for a nice ride. Averaging about 32 to 33 mpg on the freeway when doing 60mph and using cruise control. No frills basic interior, typical utilitarian Jeep.
Where is the mileage? - 2007 Jeep Compass
By Betty - October 18 - 5:40 pm
My Compass, at its best, gets 23 mpg, routinely 19-20. Dealer says I need 10,000 miles before it is broken in. Now has 4,500 miles. Frustrated, it does not perform as advertised.
worthless investment - 2007 Jeep Compass
By Paul - October 16 - 6:23 pm
Jeep billed this little jewel as a great buy. I feel that I have been cheated. The fuel economy is what attracted me to this vehicle initially. After I bought it I quickly found out that the posted MPG were very WRONG. Then, within one month of purchasing the vehicle, the manufacturer posts new fuel economy numbers for the stupid thing. Guess what...they were lower than originally posted. Their response to my complaint, "Sorry.". Never again.
compass - 2008 Jeep Compass
By Amy - October 14 - 12:40 am
This is a good SUV. The only real problems I have encountered are the huge blind spots on the sides between side windows and windshield. Also, whenever I open the doors after it has snowed, all of the snow plops into the front seats. Also, the automatic locks drive me crazy.
Worst car I've driven in years - 2016 Jeep Compass
By Eric - September 29 - 8:08 am
This vehicle is ridiculously underpowered and poor on gas. The seats are not comfortable at all. No lumbar support and headrest is way too far back from your head. On normal highway driving the engine revs past 6000 rpm to try to keep up with 65 mph traffic.
Give it a shot - 2007 Jeep Compass
By J Collins - September 13 - 11:23 pm
Frankly, a lot of people (men) discount this car because of it's cutesy looks and it's lack of a 'Trail Rated' badge. Bottom line, if you dont need a hotrod, off roader, or a luxo-mobile, take a look at it. This car is agile, does great around town, and is well equipped. The ride is firm, but I prefer it to a cushy, unresponsive one. It's reliabe, not a single problem to date. It's no drag racer, but if you would rather save money in gas, the Compass will make you happy. 18 in wheels look great, and the stock all seasons have no problem with NE winters in the second hilliest city in the country. My wife loves the compliments from fellow young women and heated leather too.
First-time Jeep Owner - 2007 Jeep Compass
By RCinCO - August 18 - 8:40 am
I special-ordered a tricked-out 4WD Limited and it arrived in April, as promised. After 5 months and 5,000 miles, I'm very pleased with the vehicle overall. Although it's not a great highway car (yes, it's underpowered and strains at speeds over 60mph and on highway hills), the Compass is great in the Colorado mountains and on back-country roads. It's very comfortable for this 6' 230 lb male, turns on a dime, handles very well, and gets pretty good gas mileage (23mpg city/25.5mpg hwy). Almost everything is where it should be, and the fit-and-finish are terrific. I've read comments about the 'cheap' interior. I don't agree.
orange limited - 2008 Jeep Compass
By limited - August 11 - 10:10 pm
Overall not bad, quiet ride. like the limited accents Seat belt reminder chimes every 8 seconds. CVT can be noisy at times. Should be undercoated from factory, rust after 1 PA winter
Jeep has a winner! - 2010 Jeep Compass
By Joey - August 5 - 8:53 pm
We've owned this vehicle for several months now and it has performed beyond my expectations. On a recent trip to upstate New York the 5 speed Compass averaged 32 MPG, which is 3 MPG above the manufacturers claims. The vehicle is fun to drive, responds like a sports car on the curvy Rt. 664 in the Hocking Hills of Ohio where I live as I traverse to and fro work in Athens, Ohio on a daily basis. We are totally impressed with the awesome Chrysler design of this vehicle. We've been intrigued with Jeep products for many years and are now proud to own this (made in America) vehicle. I am delighted with this vehicle and would recommend it to my best friend. I'd rather drive a Jeep than a Toy.