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2012 Jeep Compass

Overview
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2012 Jeep Compass Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 4.8

The 2012 Jeep Compass and its corporate sibling, the Patriot, are anomalies for the Jeep brand. Born not of hunting, fishing or the Great Escape, they were based on the Dodge Caliber, which resulted in two small crossover utility vehicles that are neither fish nor fowl. As a Jeep, the 2012 Compass falls woefully short in terms of off-road capability (although it's not bad on slippery surfaces), while as a small 5-door it's only mediocre in its efficiency, utility and fun-to-drive factors. Even with the significant improvements thrown at the model in 2011 and the availability of 4-wheel-drive (4WD) models as well front-wheel drive (FWD), the 2012 Jeep Compass is a product of the old Chrysler Corporation and not really up to being categorized as a true Jeep.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2012 Compass is an accessory for those whose idea of "off-road" extends no farther than a dirt parking lot at the football stadium. Just don't expect it to be a genuine Jeep.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you are a true Jeep enthusiast looking for an entry-level price point and a modicum of economy, you'll ultimately be disappointed by the car-based credentials of the Jeep Compass; a base Grand Cherokee would provide you with a far more capable choice. If your needs and tastes lean toward a car-based crossover, we'd suggest a Subaru Forester if you want something more expansive, or a Nissan Juke if you'd like something more expressive.

What's New for 2012

After receiving a full menu of aggressive updates in 2011, there's little that's new for the 2012 Jeep Compass.

Driving the Compass

Driving Impressions The beauty of a car-based crossover is its on-road composure, and both the steering and suspension of the Jeep Compass provide decent connectivity to the road. That...

good news, however, is diminished by Jeep's continued use of the CVT automatic transmission; we suggest you opt for the base Compass with the manual transmission.

Freedom Drive II Off-Road Package
With Freedom Drive II the 2012 Compass achieves Jeep's "Trail Rated" moniker, a credible achievement given its car-based roots. With what Jeep describes as a second-generation CVT with low range, in combination with all-terrain tires, a 1-inch higher ride height and full-size spare tire, you can, indeed, get off the beaten path.

Sun and Sound Group
Combine nine Boston Acoustic speakers with two articulating liftgate speakers and Sirius Satellite radio and you can have the music for a hearty party. Whether at the beach - and with either 4-wheel-drive option the 2012 Jeep Compass can deal with some sand - or at the trailhead, the optional sound system makes it easy to share the good times and good sounds with your friends.

2012 Jeep Compass Details
Interior

The interior of the 2012 Jeep Compass includes soft-touch materials on the door trim, a comfortable center armrest and a steering wheel that provides a decent feel and grip. Other details include a Uconnect media center with iPod interface, available Sirius satellite radio and navigation, illuminated cup holders, liftgate speakers and fold-flat rear seats. The end result is not unattractive, but pricing for a well-equipped 2012 Jeep Compass can easily climb into the high $20,000 range.

Exterior

At their launch in 2007 both the Compass and Patriot wore front fascias with strong family resemblances to the Jeep Wrangler, with 7-slot grilles and one round headlight per side, but the 2012 Jeep Compass now more closely follows the look of the Grand Cherokee. However, while it looks less like the Dodge Caliber upon which it's based, you still can't think of it as looking like a real Jeep, and the architecture remains saddled with a relatively narrow track that will accept little more than smallish tires. In short, as a Jeep it still looks too much like an entry-level hatchback.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Offered in three trim levels - Sport, Latitude and Limited - the 2012 Jeep Compass is not without features, both standard and optional. The availability of a 5-speed manual (Sport only) is a nice surprise, especially for those not wanting Chrysler's optional continuously-variable transmission (CVT). The 4-wheel independent suspension is another bonus and, to Jeep's credit, even base Sport models of the 2012 Compass offer numerous standard comfort and convenience features, including air conditioning, power door locks, a removable and rechargeable flashlight and Uconnect media center.

Optional Equipment

The availability of Freedom Drive II gives the 2012 Jeep Compass the semblance of a low range for aggressive off-roading. You won't, to be sure, want to go boulder hopping (there simply isn't enough ground clearance), but you'll be surprised and delighted with the capabilities of the Compass, when so equipped, to deal with slick surfaces and bad weather. Beyond that, we'd mention the All-weather Capability Group, which includes all-season floor mats, engine-block heater, all-terrain tires and tow hooks; the All-weather Capability Group may be the best way to make this "pretend" Jeep feel more like the real thing.

Under the Hood

The base engine for the 2012 Jeep Compass is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder of 158 horsepower. We recommend the optionally-available 2.4 liter, which makes 172 horsepower and is standard with the up-market Limited trim level and mandatory if you select either of the two 4-wheel-drive packages.

2.0-liter inline-4
158 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
141 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/29 (FWD, manual), 23/27 (FWD, automatic)

2.4-liter inline-4
172 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
165 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/28 (FWD, manual), 21/27 (FWD, automatic)
22/28 (4WD, manual), 21/26 (Freedom Drive I 4WD, automatic), 20/23 (Freedom Drive II w/Off-Road package, 4WD, CVT)

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2012 Jeep Compass Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.9
Out of 10

Based on 24 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    7.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.0/10
    Styling
    7.6/10

AWESOME VALUE for the MONEY ! Great 6 Speed Auto !

By on Sunday, June 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "GREAT VALUE, SUPER RELIABLE, CHEAPER THAN OTHERS"

Cons: "VERY BAD BLINDS SPOTS, BORING TO DRIVE"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"My Compass Latitude is a 2014 with 19,000 miles on it. The folks that knock the automatic transmissions in other reviews here obviously have the CVT and NOT the new (for 2014) 6 Speed Automatic! This automatic is one of the smoothest shifting automatics I have ever owned and I've owned over (100) vehicles over the past (35) years. I bought a pretty much loaded 2014 Latitude Edition for right around $24,000 OTD. My Compass has 4x4, Sun/Sound (great loud stereo BTW!), low profile tires on 18's on chrome laden wheels, Bluetooth, UConnect, Power everything including the Moonroof, and most importantly, HEATED SEATS ! Yes! HEATED SEATS ! In a mid-level SUV! That may not be a big deal to you, but here in Ohio they are great! Speaking of the seats, the front seats are some of the most comfortable to sit in and the seated driving postition is great. Here in Ohio we get our share of snowy/icy roads. I have a (60) mile commute, mainly highway. There were several days last winter where the snow was over 4" on the roadway and many days with black ice. The Freedom Drive I (4x4) in my Compass performed flawlessly and never gave me the feeling of not being in control. Tfuel mileage is right on with the window sticker at 28 MPGs. One does have to drive like a sane person to obtain that number. Otherwise, you'll get mid-20s MPG highway all day long. The ride is a bit stiff and the handling is predictible and average. A couple downfalls are it's boring to drive and it does have some of the worst blind spots in any vehicle I've ever driven. This IS A BIG NEGATIVE for this vehicle! Especially the front A-Pillars. I've had a few close calls for NOT being able to see cross-traffic. The reliability has be outstanding and I've had ZERO quality issues with it in (16) months of ownership. BTW, an equally equipped Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V will cost at least $5,000 MORE than my Compass. Believe you me, I shopped them all. Overall and an awesome value for the money!"

6 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Very good vehicle with great mileage for price

By on Saturday, May 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,520

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Very comfortable ride even for my disabled husband"

Cons: "The noisy CVT"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this car new. I think it drives well, handles well in good and bad weather, the hatchback area will carry almost anything I need to carry. My biggest complain about it is the CVT. It seems very noisy to me as this is the first I have had and my son's car is not near as noisy with it's CVT. The four wheel drive works great in fairly deep snow. I do wish the mileage was better but 26-27 is good with it having four wheel drive."

4 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Save and reliabie

By on Friday, May 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,840

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This is my first jeeb.Like it so far;the special 4x4 system saved me from a brutal accident in the just past winter.I was negotiating a curve at a little too high speed and the car slided but i heard and felt a shift of the front axle to side the car tilted and this just brought the whole car back to a mormal positoin.Icould not believe that just happened automatically;only jeep does that-owesome."

1 person out of 5 found this review helpful

Love my Jeep!!

By on Thursday, April 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,400

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Drives well in all weather types"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is my second Jeep Compass. I liked it so much, I bought another one! I highly recommend this vehicle. I live in Minnesota, this vehicle has gotten me through many snow storms. 4 wheel drive really comes in handy here."

16 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Very comfortable, smooth riding vehicle; nice size

By on Friday, April 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Compact size, good handling, very smooth riding"

Cons: "Poor visibility, low gas mileage, heat a/c control"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I have enjoyed this small Jeep--it's size is good and it handles well on the road, very smooth riding (some of my passengers have commented on that). Drawbacks would include the continuously variable transmission (it can sometimes be uneven), the "stick shift" feature that can be activated by my dogs when I don't want it, limited driver's visibility, and low gas mileage. Very good on wet, slushy roads. Heating and air conditioning controls sometimes stick, and some rust has appeared inside one of the doors."

5 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Asolutely trouble-free since April, 2011.

By on Friday, March 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Appreciate short turning radius, compared to my PT"

Cons: "Could use more rear storage with second row seats"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"No problems at all since purchase. 44000 miles, 60-70% highway. Comfortable ride, reasonably quiet. Gas mileage could be better, but ok at 24-26mpg at 70 mph. Don't care for CVT transmission, but resolved in newer models."

7 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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