The Jeep Compass sits between the larger Jeep Cherokee and more compact Jeep Renegade offering the best of both worlds. It has more compact dimensions than the Cherokee, which make it ideal for those who drive in urban areas, but offers more cargo room than the Renegade. The Compass also includes the capability that is synonymous with the Jeep brand.
Power across the four-trim lineup comes from a 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine with 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. Depending on the trim you choose, it’s paired to either a 9-speed automatic, 6-speed automatic, or 6-speed manual transmission. We spent our time in the Compass Trailhawk, which is the most off-road worthy trim in the lineup and comes standard with the 9-speed.
This is a more compact SUV, so it doesn’t need an overly powerful engine. Most of the time, that 180 horsepower is fine, but you will wish for a bit more when accelerating up to highway speeds. Extra speed for passing is similarly a bit lacking. Despite being slightly underpowered, the Compass is agile and fun to drive with a smooth and quiet transmission.
Fuel economy for the Compass is good with front wheel drive models getting up to 23 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway, and 26 mpg combined. Four-wheel drive figures drop slightly to 22 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined, but those are still numbers that won’t break your budget when fuel prices rise.
There’s ample room for five passengers with a surprisingly large rear seat. Even the 6-foot crowd will find plenty of legroom and headroom. The Compass also keeps passengers safe with a long list of standard and available features as well as solid crash test ratings. It received an overall four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a top rating of Good in all crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
In addition to a roomy and comfortable interior for passengers, the Compass is ready to handle your cargo transport needs. There’s 27.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats with 59.8 cubic feet behind the front seats. It can also tow up to up to 2,000 pounds of additional cargo.
There’s a choice of front-wheel or four-wheel drive on all but the Trailhawk, which is four-wheel drive only. It’s also the only trim that includes a 4-low setting and it has expanded Selec-Terrain options adding rock mode and hill descent control to the standard offering of auto, snow, sand, and mud.
The Compass Trailhawk is officially Trail Rated, so you really can take it off-road and have a little fun. Additional features on this trim include and increased ride height, skid plates, two front and one rear tow hook, and an off-road suspension system.
Infotainment features Uconnect with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a standard 7-inch touchscreen. Top trims get an 8.4-inch screen and navigation. It continues to be one of the most intuitive systems available with a quick learning curve that won’t leave you or your front passenger frustrated.
The Sport is priced at an affordable $22,095 while the Latitude adds features for $25,345. A more refined experience can be had in the Limited at $28,940 with the off-road ready Trailhawk topping the lineup at $29,445.
Regardless of which Compass you choose, it’s a comfortable and capable vehicle with room for the family and their stuff. If you like to go off-road or think you might like to try, then the Trailhawk trim is the best choice. Otherwise, there’s the Sport and Latitude at the low end of the lineup and the Limited, which offers a more upscale experience.