I was really looking for something a little different, but when I stumbled across a 2012 Compass, I instantly fell in love. I've been calling it my beautiful beast. The seats are slightly narrow, but that doesn't affect my comfort. Despite some of the reviews I read, I'm averaging 30+ mpg combined. It costs me 20 bucks to fill the tank and I'm good for quite awhile, but it is a manual and I'm soft footed (I generally get much higher mpg than suggested). This is my road trip/commuter car. I wanted something that would be great for everyday, plus haul the three dogs across the country when needed. I haven't been disappointed yet. Pros Good gas mileage for an SUV, Comfortable, Came with bluetooth/good speakers/sirius radio, the ride is very smooth and quiet, lots of cargo space, only regular maintenance required so far. Easy to get in and out of for taller people. Feels higher end than some of the cars I test drove. Cons The acceleration isn't great, this certainly isn't a speedy SUV. My bluetooth randomly stops or starts (rarely), The transmission seems stiff at times, especially in first and fifth plus it slips out of first gear occasionally (it doesn't always seem to hold first in place well), The seats are narrow so if you are wider it may be uncomfortable, and my knees tap the dash when sitting regularly because I'm so tall, but if i pull the seat back then my legs aren't close enough to hold the pedals down. I wish it had automatic headlights. I don't like the design of the center console/arm rests, but that's personal preference.
Overall it's perfect for what I needed, but if you are looking for industry leading gas mileage, or constant off road driving, this is definitely not the car for you. THIS IS NOT A HARDCORE STEREOTYPICAL OFF ROADING JEEP. I test drove a Nissan Versa, a Kia Soul, a Saturn Astra, and a Ford Escape, and they all felt very cheap and noisy compared to the Compass. The Versa and Soul made me feel like I was driving a tin can, there was no substance, to the point that I didn't feel safe driving it.
I purchased this vehicle for lifestyle and utility, for carrying bikes and sports gear and light hauling from the nursery or hardware store. This base Sport FWD with CVT has a lot to offer for the price. Among the standard power options, it also has cruise control, ipod jack, fog lights, heated mirrors, dark tinted glass on the rear windows, good looking 17 inch alloy wheels, fold flat rear seats and roof rails. Since I primarily haul bikes, I purchased the factory cross bars and then added bike racks. Nearly every other comparable vehicle has these options (if available at all) only on much higher end models that cost many thousands more.
The birth of our son got the clock ticking on my wife's Mini Cooper, and about a month ago, we traded it on a Jeep Compass Sport (FWD, 5spd., 2.4L engine). While the Jeep was a great value, it really compares well to similarly-sized SUVs (Ford Escape, Subaru Forrester). It isn't a performance vehicle, but some of its features are really well thought out. The rear cargo light/flashlight has already come in handy, and the two-level storage in the armrest is very nice. It also also has done very well with gas. We've averaged over 26 mpg for the first 2,000 miles, better than we expected. This little Jeep is not the most refined car we've ever owned, but it is an impressive package.
Great cargo capacity in a small package.
Well thought out inetrior design.
Styling is not SUV generic.
Priced below most competitors.
The engine is no powerhouse, but the gearing really doesn't help.
3rd to 4th seems particularly overspaced.
The shifter itself is actually quite good, but the ratios could be improved.
The standard Firestones also seem like too much of a "compromise" tire.
They aren't very grippy.