Stuffed between the blocky Patriot and the Cherokee, the Jeep Compass gives compact crossover buyers yet another option. The Compass is yet another attempt by Jeep to draw in the growing small crossover customer base, but it fails to deliver where its competitors succeed, and it has struggling sales to show for it.

Pricing and Equipment

The Jeep Compass starts at $19,940 for its base Sport trim with front-wheel drive. Adding all-wheel drive pushes the base price to $21,940. But due to the base Compass' lack of common features we expect in today's crossovers, like power windows and door locks, we believe buyers will gravitate to the $24,340 Latitude trim, which comes standard with:

  • Power windows and door locks
  • 17-inch wheels
  • Chrome exterior accents
  • Heated front seats

Performance Pros

Jeep Compass

Jeep gives buyers a wide selection of powertrain options, including a pair of engines and three transmission options.

  • Can be surprisingly well-prepared for light off-road adventures with the Freedom Drive II’s hill-descent control, skid plates, extra inch of ride height, and improved approach and departure angles.
  • 172-horsepower 2.4-liter engine has ample power to move the small crossover.
  • Up to 30 miles per gallon highway (2.0-liter with the five-speed manual transmission)

Performance Cons

  • The base 2.0-liter engine is good on gas, but lacks the power to motivate the Compass.
  • Fuel economy drops to a dismal 23 mpg with the continuously variable transmission, top all-wheel-drive package, and 2.4-liter engine.
  • CVT drone is overwhelming at times.
  • Ride quality suffers on bumpier roads.

Interior Pros

  • Neat options, like flip-down tailgate speakers, stand out among small CUVs.
  • With 39.4 inches of rear seat legroom, the Compass is plenty roomy for backseat passengers.

Interior Cons

  • Max cargo capacity is unimpressive at 53.6 cubic feet.
  • The cabin is cheaply thrown together.
  • The base model lacks modern amenities, namely power windows and door locks.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Small crossovers aren't typically great off-roaders, but the Jeep Compass impresses. With its Freedom Drive II package added, this small people mover can trek farther off the beaten path than some of its competition, thanks to its skid plates, all-terrain tires, and upgraded all-wheel-drive system.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The Compass’ crash test ratings are worrying. The IIHS hasn't tested it yet – and with a redesigned Compass hitting the market very soon, we doubt it will even bother with the older model – but NHTSA rated the current model at four stars overall. The most alarming part was its three-star rating in frontal crash safety.

The Bottom Line

The Jeep Compass may work for younger buyers looking for something inexpensive that can also handle some off-road duties. Families, however, should be alarmed by its low crash test scores. Its lack of features may also become intolerable through the years.