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 Jeep13 (AR) on Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,370overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great on gas, cargo space, easy to drive."
Cons: "seats could be more comfy"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I purchased my 2013 Jeep Compass 3/10/13.... First I read dozens of reviews, disregarded the silly ones, like no storage room please LOOK at what storage this vehicle provides, back windshield wiper, don't like them don't purchase a vehicles this has them... I love my Jeep! Great gas mileage, a dream to drive, plenty of cargo room (at least for us, we checked it out. Love how it hugs the curves I feel very secure driving my Jeep. My only complaint so far would be the comfort of the seats (I did not test drive for 2/3 hours to see how comfortable they are. All & all I am very happy with my Jeep... I recommend this vehicle 100%.."
By Surfcitycos (CO) on Thursday, May 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Cons: "Everything!! Gutless!!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have owned a 2010 Compass for almost 2 years. Gutless is being nice. No get up and go what so ever. Do not pull in front of anyone, you will get run over. Hard to see out of. Gas mileage OK. Makes a weird sound while driving slow, sounds like it has a flat tire. I own the front wheel drive. Does not drive in the snow, horrible. Will not move if it snows, brake light, ABS and traction light will go on if you try and move the car in the snow. Needs a boost to get going. Do not buy this car!! Run from this car. Worst car I have ever owned."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Starsmom (NC) on Thursday, April 04, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, fun to drive"
Cons: "The CVT transmission"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love this car. I do a lot of interstate driving and with the right tires, this car drives as smooth as a luxury car. However, I suggest to anyone buying this vehicle to spend a little extra and get the lifetime, wrap-around warranty. Before I had 80,000 miles on the vehicle, the transmission needed replacing. The warranty took care of it. All I had to pay was $100 deductible. My brother has the same car. Luckily, he bought the warranty because he had to have his transmission replaced at about 60,000 miles. I found thru research that it is a problem with the Compass. Don't let that sway you. It's a great car. Just get that warranty!"
9 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Summer (VA) on Wednesday, April 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,100overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, Cup holders, fun, comfortable, reliable,MPG"
Cons: "Sensitive gas petal"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have always owned Jeep's and this one is definitely a great car! The price is so amazing for the value you receive. I bought the car is 2011 and I have had all my routine service done on it and I have not had any problems. the only negative thing I have to say about the car is that the gas petal is very sensitive so that will have to be something to get used to ( it was a huge adjustment going from my '99 4 cylinder Wrangler to the Compass but it only took a week or so to adjust. It is very comfortable and definitely worth taking a look at and possibly test driving."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By jeeper (GA) on Saturday, March 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 193,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sturdy construction, lots of room."
Cons: "less than 30 mpg hwy"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I am a female owner of his car for 5 years. I put over 160k on it myself. Cost of ownership has been low. Only regular maintainance has been needed. I could do the tune up myself. Easy to change the oil at home, too. It has been a great car."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By DRL (TN) on Wednesday, March 27, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"We bought this vehicle 6 months ago. It was used and had 50k miles and had a "clean" car fax. Within 1 month it broke down and had to be towed to the nearest dealership. 2 months later it did the same thing and had to be towed again. 1 month later it had to be towed yet again. It turns out that this year model has issues with the computer and the computer has to be reset on a very frequent basis. Chrysler has no fix for this problem and, as far as we can find out, has no plans to develop one. I would recommend that if anyone is considering buying a Compass - STAY AWAY"
7 people out of 7 found this review helpful