The Jeep Compass crossover was introduced a decade ago. An all-new Compass is being introduced as a 2017, while the old Compass continues to be sold down as a 2017 model. Confusing? Yes. This review covers the old Compass.
This is a dated product, essentially the same as the 2016 model, and it lags behind the Subaru Crosstrek, Mazda CX-5, and Toyota RAV4.
The base engine, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, makes the same 158 horsepower that it did 10 years ago, although it’s smoother than it was back then. The upgrade engine is a 2.4 liter that makes 172 horsepower. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard, and a 6-speed automatic optional (more commonly equipped in showrooms), with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. A CVT is available, but we suggest you avoid it, as it’s among the worst of the continuously variable transmissions that make the drivetrain feel like it’s powered through a rubber band.
As for offroad, what Jeep is known for, there is a package called Freedom Drive II with skid plates, tow hooks, and all-terrain tires, but it only comes with the CVT. The CVT is programmed to simulate the low range of a two-speed transfer case. But if offroad is your thing, stick to a Wrangler, or possibly the Compass’s supposedly less pretty sister, the Patriot. Or another idea, get the Compass with the 5-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive. It will get you anywhere the Freedom Drive II will (hill start assist is standard). If wanted, you can always add the tires, skid plates, and even a modest lift kit.
Another thing that goes against the Compass is its three-star crash rating from the NHTSA. The IIHS hasn’t rated it. No collision avoidance technology is available. A rearview camera isn’t even available. Yet it’s intended for women?
Fuel mileage with the 5-speed and front-wheel drive is 23/30 miles per gallon City/Highway, or 25 mpg Combined, according to EPA estimates. The more common 2.4-liter with 6-speed automatic is rated 21/27/23 mpg City/Highway/Combined (22 mpg Combined with all-wheel drive). The Freedom Drive II gets 21 mpg Combined, bringing it down to lame numbers for a four-cylinder engine.