Go

2012 Jeep Compass

Overview
Share this page
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

Buying this car?

2012 Jeep Compass Review

By

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)

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

Buying this car?

2012 Jeep Compass Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.6
Out of 10

Based on 38 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    7.7/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    7.1/10
  • Comfort
    7.7/10
    Styling
    7.7/10

You get what you pay for

By on Saturday, July 9, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,060

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great looking exterior and cost"

Cons: "Break issues, cheap interior, no USB ports"

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

"I love the exterior, everything else is basically just functional and looks a little cheaply made. For a day to day family car, the price seems fair. Experienced immediate break issues, but luckily I had the warranty to still get it fixed. I have slight buyers remorse, but again, you get what you paid for."

A comfortable ride, good mileage and decent power.

By on Monday, June 20, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "ride and handling make it a pleasure to drive."

Cons: "The rear posts which obstruct your view."

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

"My overall rating is a 9 because the rear posts obstruct your view and IMO make a back-up camera a must."

Capable but crude

By on Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I don't own this car

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "Decent drivetrain, decent mileage, nice size."

Cons: "Poor visibility, crude interior, rather noisy"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"We rented a Sport for a week of vacationing in New England. While handling and acceleration are quite good, and fuel economy decent, this model falls short of the competition in comfort. The side sills and cowl are high, the window pillars wide, the side mirrors huge, the rear window tiny, and the driver has to sit way too low. I had to check three times to keep from mowing down pedestrians and bicyclists in Provincetown's crowded streets. Really, while I like the size and style off the compact crossover, the fit and feel of this one is huge."

Dark Horse SUV Crossover

By on Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,100

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

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

"Being at the lower end of the crossover SUV market, the Compass takes a bit of flak from the gearhead youtube sensations who decide on what constitutes a good car these days. However, those guys are letting their testosterone get the better of them and they're totally wrong about the Compass. It's smooth, it's comfortable and it's efficient with gas. Not to mention being very reasonably priced compared to its peers. If you're looking for huge amounts of torque then you may be better off looking elsewhere but if you need a solid family car that has some basic off road ability and good amounts of space and features then the Compass is a great choice especially given the low price tag for a second hand model. Buy with confidence."

20 people out of 21 found this review helpful

Just OK

By on Sunday, April 3, 2016

I don't own this car

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Gets you around"

Cons: "rough idle - not a great deal of space"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"I had one of these as a rental in Florida with about 30K miles on it. The brakes squealed like a newborn piglet and the idle in drive with the A/C on was so rough it was nauseating. I'm looking forward to trying an Escape or Explorer."

10 people out of 14 found this review helpful

I can't believe Jeep made such a lousy SUV :(

By on Sunday, January 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,200

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "good price, but you get what you pay for"

Cons: "too much to list"

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

"I have always had a Jeep product. This was my first Compass. I hate this vehicle! I have the High Altitude version, which is such a joke. It has a loud and very weak engine. If you need to accelerate quickly, this is NOT the vehicle for you! It's useless in the snow, even with winter tires. For the people who like this vehicle, Jeep is very lucky to have you."

14 people out of 21 found this review helpful

Share this page
Advertisement
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

Buying this car?

Advertisement