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's 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 a 2011 upgrade brought revised styling and newfound off-road ability that edged the Compass closer to "real Jeep" status. Still, the Compass left a great deal to be desired, due to subpar engines, modest cargo capacity and relatively crude driving dynamics.
The Jeep Compass took a big step forward with its 2017 redesign: The current model boasts a roomy cabin, superior off-road capabilities and handsome sheet metal. The Jeep Compass faces stiff competition among today's compact, car-based SUVs, but it's worth a look if you're on the hunt for a small crossover that's at home on both paved streets and mountain trails.
Current Jeep Compass
The Jeep Compass received a redesign that appeared as a late 2017 model. While the new Compass looks very similar to the outgoing model, it raises the bar significantly when it comes to driving dynamics, offering responsive handling and amenable ride quality.
Jeep's Compass is a compact SUV offered in Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk trim levels. Sport models come equipped with a 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity and a six-speaker stereo. The Latitude adds enhancements such as larger wheels and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and it's eligible for a broader range of option packages. With the Limited, you get amenities such as an 8.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration and heated front seats. The Trailhawk model is purpose-built for venturing off the paved path, and it comes with AWD, a raised suspension, underbody protection shields and a Selec-Terrain traction control system that's built to accommodate mountain adventures.
All Compass models are motivated by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 180 horsepower and 175 lb-feet of torque. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic and a nine-speed automatic, and buyers have a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD).
In reviews, we've praised the driving dynamics of the current Jeep Compass. This little SUV has a composed demeanor on the road, with carlike steering and braking. Ride quality is significantly improved relative to the previous generation, and the suspension soaks up bumps and rough roads. The cabin's control layout is intuitive, and wide door openings facilitate easy ingress and egress.
Read the most recent 2018 Jeep Compass review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Jeep Compass page.