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 317.00
Bad car to buy - 2012 Jeep Compass
By Irving vega - December 10 - 2:42 am
Please save your money and don't buy this vehicle , nothing but problems ,car seen dealer ship tons of times.
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.
The Little 4x4 that Could - 2012 Jeep Compass
By Jeepmakemehappy - November 21 - 6:52 am
I have owned my Jeep Compass for a little over 1 year. I purchased my 2012 Jeep Compass after driving my Buick Enclave down the wrong road and the hill was too steep to drive it out. Yes, large towing bill. I decided to buy a 4x4. I looked at most brands. Nissan, GMC/Chevy, Ford, you name it. I was looking for comfort (I drive a lot), best gas mileage possible (from a 4x4), and overall enjoyable to work in. A sales rep called me about a trade they just made on a 2012 jeep compass. So I took it for a test-drive, after 1-mile, I did not feel any tension in my lower back and I can spend all day in and out of this jeep. It handled great, the acceleration was sluggish from take-off, but with manual options, I have compensated. Other than take-off, passing gear works great. The real test game when I had an inspection of a property with a real steep muddy driveway. It had been raining for days and the driveway was a mud puddle. Here goes nothing and a possible 400+ tow bill if I bought the wrong car. I made it down, now I have to go back up. The truth is, I never slid uphill before, I put the shift in manual, keep in it low, stepped on the gas and went up that hill like an off-road racing champ (in my own eyes). The driveway curved twice so I slide around them and made it uphill, got out of the Jeep and did my celebration dance. I have since been up and down similar roads with ease. My jeep has auto-start, Bluetooth, satellite radio, upgraded sound system, heated cloth seats, standard plug-in, Freedom package II, and a flashlight. Please do not just go by the Edmonds.com review. It has been an enjoyable, reliable vehicle, that I hope to keep around.
not bad - 2007 Jeep Compass
By CRZY DMD - October 30 - 2:49 pm
it is a great car but problematic. It must be babied. my 4wd is stuck in 4wd. I did some digging into computer operations and have fpund a phrase "interrupts" which means any part of a software loop(or circuit) will faulter everything.
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.
Perfect vehicle for us - 2011 Jeep Compass
By Paul Adams - September 21 - 7:00 am
We bought this vehicle brand new in 2011 and have since put 88k miles on it. The first thing I can attest to is the reliability....absolutely nothing has gone wrong with it....we've simply changed the oil and spark plugs at regular intervals. As for safety, it has been rear-ended twice and my wife hit someone at an intersection and all three times the Compass was barely damaged and the other cars incurred significant damage. We have two kids who fit comfortably in the back and there is ample storage room. 2011 was also the first year the new grill design came out that you see on modern Jeeps so between that and the alloy wheels, the vehicle looks really nice and stylish. The only negative I have to say is that the interior is not top notch as there is a lot of plastic, but we did get light tan leather added for $1k which looks and feels much better than the stock cloth. I could not have bought a better vehicle for the price...$21k all in for a compact SUV that we have owned for over 6 years and will drive for another 6.