By KBB.com Editors
Timing may not be everything, but it's certainly something. Consumers have shown a definite penchant for crossover vehicles recently so Jeep's decision to field not one but two new crossovers for 2007 may prove exceptionally wise. Of the two, the Jeep Compass is designed for buyers who seek on-road comfort and convenience with a dash of Jeep off-road heritage, while the Jeep Patriot, though based on the same vehicle platform, is a more traditional, off-road-capable Jeep with styling to match.
Compass is a Jeep for people who don't own one. A compass, that is. So we think you'll like the Compass if your drawn to the Jeep brand but don't consider yourself a serious off-roader.
The least traditional of Jeeps launched at the most fortuitous of times. Usually, the arrival of a car-like, street-oriented, front-wheel-drive vehicle like Compass from Jeep would have off-road purists scratching their heads, especially since it's accompanied by a more traditional, truck-like model (Patriot) that will sell for about the same price.
Driving Impressions One reason for the popularity of crossovers is that many are discovering they can have the added traction of all-wheel drive wrapped in the comfort and roadability of a car,...not a truck. Though it's offered in both front-and all-wheel drive models, Jeep expects many buyers to opt for all-wheel drive, especially in snow belt states. Jeep's Freedom Drive I(tm) is a full-time, fully automatic all-wheel drive system, requiring no input from the driver. On dry pavement, it channels up to 100 percent of available engine power through the front wheels, but, it is continuously variable in response to driving conditions and can direct as much as 50 percent of engine torque to the rear and front wheels, when needed. Drivers can also engage a 4WD lock mode, for better grip in deep snow, sand or mud.
Crossover styling runs the gamut from spruced-up wagons to shrunken SUV's. The Compass design hits a nice note, closer to the former than the latter. The body tells you that this is a car-based, street-oriented vehicle (not a truck-based off-roader). And there are just enough styling features (front end, trapezoidal wheel flares) to identify it as a Jeep.
As a breed, SUV's are known to drink more than a frat house on a Friday night. Seen in this light, the compact Compass' fuel economy numbers look very respectable.
The contemporary interior of the Compass seats four to five adults. Six-footers fit easily up front, though they'll find legroom snug in back, especially if like-size folks are in front of them. All controls and switchgear are straightforward in design and easy to reach. The seats are cloth in Sport and leather-trimmed in Limited. Plenty of on-board storage spots are available to stow water bottles, CD's and what-have-you. Split rear seatbacks (standard on Limited, optional on Sport) and a fold-flat front seat increase hauling options. Cargo capacity ranges from 22.7-53.6 cubic feet, depending upon how the seats are configured. Drivers must deal with rear quarter blind spots created by the wide rear pillars.Exterior
Jeep describes its designs as falling into two categories: Jeep Classic and Jeep Modern. Count Compass in the latter category, compact division. The Compass is close kin to the Dodge Caliber, and the two crossovers share the same basic shape, with a laid-back windshield and a curving roofline. Jeep's variation on the theme starts with a familiar face. The seven-slot grille, clamshell hood and round headlamps immediately mark the Compass as part of the Jeep clan. A high, beveled beltline and trapezoidal wheel openings add an updated take on traditional Jeep design. The wedge-shaped rear pillar, asymmetrical tail lamps and beefy bumper tie the package together in back. When you get right down to it, the Compass looks exactly like what it is a cross between a station wagon and a sport utility vehicle, made by Jeep.
Compass is offered in Sport and Limited models. Front-wheel drive is standard in both trim levels, and all-wheel drive is available optionally in both. Notable among Compass Sport's standard features are a handful of safety-related items, including side-curtain airbags, Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Brake Traction Control and Electronic Roll Mitigation. Limited models add leather-trimmed, heated front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel fitted with redundant controls for the sound system. Eighteen-inch aluminum wheels (in place of 17's) and a tire-pressure-monitoring system are also standard on Limited.
Cousin to Dodge's Caliber, the Compass shares many of the interesting interior options available in Caliber. Among them: a flip-up holster built in the center armrest for your MP3 player or cell phone and a cargo bay ceiling light in back that doubles as a pop-out flashlight. Curiously, the over-the-glove-box cooler option offered on Caliber is not offered on Compass. The available Boston Acoustics(r) premium sound system (nine speakers, 458 watts) includes a pair of speakers mounted on the lift gate that do dual duty. Open the hatch and you can swing the speakers down to provide the soundtrack to your next tailgate party.
Compass is offered with one engine and a choice of two transmissions. The 2.4-liter inline four cylinder engine can be had with either a five-speed manual transmission or optional Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT2) automatic. The 172-horsepower engine works well in the Compass platform and returns above-average gas mileage. The engine is a little loud at full throttle and, as with any small displacement motor, passing takes planning. Steep grades require downshifting with the manual to maintain speed. Driving the optional CVT2 takes some getting used to because it doesn't have the distinct shift points that our ears are conditioned to hearing.
2.4-liter in-line 4
172 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
165 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/29 (4WD w/5-speed manual), 23/26 (4WD w/CVT2)
By Tommy on Tuesday, February 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "excellent in snow"
Cons: "under powered"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Best vehicle I have ever driven in the snow. It is excellent on slippery conditions and completely dependable in inclement weather. Vehicle is a little under powered however and can be difficult to exit/enter if you are a tall individual (like I am). Overall, very pleased with this vehicle."
By Egg on Saturday, December 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "4x4 is all"
Cons: "Rust hard yo drive gas guzzlers"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Its a boat to drive and got real rusty after only 40000 mile never buy a jeep again ball joints,steering arm upper and lower arms shot"
2 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By JuJu on Wednesday, December 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "four wheel drive, durable, electric doors."
Cons: "I can not think of anything I do not like about it"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I throughly enjoy my car. I love the dependability of the vehicle. It is comforting know it has four wheel drive and I could get anywhere I need to go in even the worse of winter conditions. It is a comfortable and convenient drive."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Gary on Wednesday, December 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Replaced transmission under lifetime warranty with zero out of pocket expense. Will keep this jeep forever"
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Ohio Scott on Monday, April 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun vehicle with no issues!"
Cons: "Ground clearance can be an issue in >10" snow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am starting to look at upgrading to a new vehicle, and am going to have a hard time parting with my Compass. The Jeep has been reliable since day one, and is the best vehicle that I have owned in over 30 years of driving. Living in a snow belt, the front wheel drive has gotten me through each winter without issue (my only problems have occurred when I did not have enough ground clearance, which is rare). A pleasure to own!"
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By MR.DICKY on Thursday, March 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Four Wheel Auto Stick........"
Cons: "To many repairs,,,,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"2008 new car,first two years and it was great, Then the problems,, Gear box power sterring went out, then Rear back wheel bearings, Now the Ball Joints,, and alternator , and rust starting up on the rear passenger wheel wall, Bad very bad, was told to get a Honda! CRV, A friend got the (Honda Crv) and its two years older then my Jeep, and no Problems at all just change oil, LUCKY HIM,, POOR ME ,, over $4000 out of my pocket fixing this Jeep , three people i know with the same problems,, a 2007 and a 2009 , if you got one trade it while you can,,"
9 people out of 13 found this review helpful