The Jeep Compass debuted as an ungainly box back in 2007, but received a pleasant redesign in 2011 that drew a lot of inspiration from the Grand Cherokee. Now, five years later, the Compass seems to be holding on by a thread, rendered nearly obsolete by newer Jeep models.

Pricing and Equipment

With its Sport trim level starting at just $21,395, the Jeep Compass is priced low enough to compete with others in the compact crossover segment. What's more, the standard features in the 2016 Compass are fairly generous. They include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Power windows and door locks
  • Keyless entry
  • Fog lights
  • Uconnect hands-free calling

If you want more standard equipment, you can move up to the Latitude trim level.

Performance Pros

Jeep Compass Front

There isn't much to like about the Compass's performance, but steering is well-weighted and ride quality is good for a vehicle with such a short wheelbase. We also appreciate the unusual ability to pair a manual transmission with a four-wheel drive system in a small crossover.

Performance Cons

Although the Compass looks almost like a smaller-scale version of the Grand Cherokee, it performs nothing like it.

  • Neither engine is impressive, and output maxes out at 172 horsepower
  • The Trail Rated badge comes only with the uninspiring continuously variable transmission (CVT)
  • An EPA rating of 23 mpg city isn't up to small crossover standards

Interior Pros

Jeep Compass Interior

Its cabin has long been the Compass's strong point. No, not because it is luxurious, but rather because of its simplicity and functionality paired with refined materials. It can also get pretty feature-packed in higher trim levels.

Interior Cons

Despite this, the seating position and dash design still feel dated -- especially when compared to many other Chrysler models we've tested recently.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

We think the Compass is very well equipped at higher trim levels, and this premium feel is amplified by the relatively quiet ride of the small crossover.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The inability of the Compass to act like a Jeep is a huge letdown. It lacks the power and torque needed to tackle any significant off-road driving, plus it can tow just 2,000 pounds even with the Trailer Tow Prep Group option.

The Bottom Line

With the looks of a downsized Grand Cherokee for buyers on a budget, the Compass fills a narrow niche for buyers who don't mind that the similarities are only skin-deep.