By KBB.com Editors
Timing may not be everything, but it certainly counts for something. Consumers have shown a definite penchant for crossover utility vehicles recently, so Jeep's decision last year to field not one but two new crossovers 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.
The 2008 Jeep Compass is a Jeep for people who don't own one. A compass, that is. So we think you'll like the Compass if you're drawn to the Jeep brand but don't consider yourself a serious off-road enthusiast.
If your taste runs towards the SUV side of the sport utility-station wagon continuum, you may want to pass on the contemporary, car-like contours of the Compass in favor of something with a more conventional four-wheel-drive shape and more definite off-highway credentials.
All models receive standard air conditioning, chrome lock knobs and a tire pressure monitoring system. The CVT2 automatic transmission is fitted with AutoStick manual-shift mode and the Limited trim now offers navigation.
Driving Impressions One reason for the popularity of crossovers is that many people 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 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, when needed, can direct as much as 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels. 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 SUVs. The 2008 Jeep 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 not known for operating efficiency. Seen in this light, the compact Compass' fuel economy numbers look very respectable.
The contemporary interior of the 2008 Jeep 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 the Sport and leather-trimmed in the Limited version. Plenty of on-board storage spots are available to stow water bottles, CDs 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 to 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 the Compass as in the latter category, compact division. The 2008 Jeep Compass is close kin to the Dodge Caliber, and the two vehicles 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.
The 2008 Jeep Compass is offered in Sport and Limited models; in both trim levels, front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optionally available. Notable among the Compass Sport's standard features are a handful of safety-related items, including side-curtain airbags, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Traction Control. 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-inchers) are also standard on Limited.
Cousin to Dodge's Caliber, the Compass shares many of the interesting interior options available in the Caliber. Among them: A flip-up holster built into the center armrest for an MP3 player or cell phone and, in back, a cargo bay ceiling light that doubles as a pop-out flashlight. Curiously, the over-the-glove-box cooler option offered on the Caliber is not offered on the Compass. The available Boston Acoustics 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 down the speakers to provide the soundtrack to your next tailgate party.
The 2008 Jeep Compass is offered with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a choice of two transmissions; a five-speed manual or the 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 engine, passing takes planning. With the manual transmission, steep grades may require downshifting 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: 23/28 (FWD, manual), 23/27 (FWD, automatic)
22/27 (4WD, manual), 21/24 (4WD, automatic)
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!"
1 person out of 1 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,,"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Marcie on Wednesday, February 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,110overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Comfortable, convenient. Its look still seems current despite the years of ownership, because Jeep design changes very little over time. Sound system (though NOT an upgraded one) is very good. My only reservation would be that (for me and my particular physiology) the support panels between the passenger seat and the trunk space create an obstruction to my vision that is a problem. Has been very reliable.... never had a problem."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By S on Monday, December 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price, good in the snow"
Cons: "repairs, faulty parts, noisy,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I am the only owner of this vehicle which I purchased new in 2007. Since then the tie rods have been replaced 3 times, the lower control arms/ball joints twice. There was also an issue with an axle boot that needed to be replaces. I swear every time I went in for an oil change, something was about to go (they would warn me of loose ball joints, etc.) and needed to be fixed. The tie rods were something I noticed and got fixed after having a shaky wheel at 45MPH. Cabin is very noisy, even had question if the car (when new!) was going to blow or something it is so loud. Okay for the price, but remember, it IS a CHEAP vehicle!"
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By MG on Friday, November 22, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 390overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Cons: "Totally unreliable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"AT 20 miles, my brand new 2014 Jeep Compass had all the lights on the dashboard lit. The entire computer system was defective and had to be replaced. At 300 miles, the map light had water leaking out of it and pouring into the interior of the car. Who knows how much is still in the frame, electronics, etc. Another trip to the service department and they returned it saying that the drains were clogged. I traded in a car that never, ever broke down for this car that is a NIGHTMARE!!!!! All the joy, happiness, or satisfaction of owning a new car is completely destroyed. I know that it will leak again. That will lead to mold and who knows what other damages. I used up my hard earned money on this car and now I am stuck with it. Thanks, Chrysler."
7 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By usafvetoefvet12 on Saturday, November 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,340overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sexy, Affordable , Pretty good gas , Good warranty"
Cons: "Noisy engine, noisy cabin , no standard gps?!?"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"This is a great car for the price . I got a sport loaded otd for 17,600. I used true car to save 3000 and got 3500 for my trade and 500 military. So I got a great deal . But the cabin is a little noisy. The 4 banger engine is defentitly wayyyyyy too noisy. But for the price ... one word. Great"
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful