By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
Although it wears the Jeep name and "Trail Rated' badge, the 2013 Jeep Compass compact SUV isn't exactly born of the same metal that forges the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. Built from a platform once shared with the now-defunct Dodge Caliber, the Compass is more car than truck, more commuter than off-road warrior. Competing with such established names as the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester, the Compass has its work cut out for it, especially considering most of its newer rivals outshine it in the areas of engine technology, fuel economy and features. As a commuter vehicle sometimes tossed into foul-weather conditions, the Compass is fine. But as a serious off-roader, it just doesn't live up to the Jeep name.
If you like the look of the Grand Cherokee, but don't need its off-road ability or lofty price tag, the Jeep Compass for 2013 might be an option. Its 4-wheel drive can venture over light off-road obstacles, and its 30-mpg highway fuel economy should help ease the pain at the pump.
As a serious off-road vehicle, the Jeep Compass isn't our first (or even second) choice. As a daily driver, the Compass doesn't fare much better. Its engines are crude and underpowered, its interior outdated and its resale value is nowhere near that of the best in the field.
When equipped with the 2.0-liter engine and 5-speed manual, the 2013 Jeep Compass compact SUV earns 30-mpg highway.
Driving Impressions The 2013 Jeep Compass offers a choice of two 4-cylinder engines, neither of which strikes us as terribly refined or powerful. The larger 2.4-liter engine would be our first choice,...delivering decent acceleration and fuel economy. Of course, the beauty of a car-based crossover is its on-road composure, and both the steering and suspension of the 2013 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 2013 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 2013 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.
The interior of the 2013 Jeep Compass includes soft-touch materials on the door trim, a comfortable center armrest and a steering wheel that provides 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 Compass can easily climb into the $30,000 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 2013 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.
Offered in three trim levels – Sport, Latitude and Limited – the 2013 Jeep Compass SUV 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 offer numerous standard comfort and convenience features, including air conditioning, power door locks, power windows, cruise control, power heated outside mirrors, a removable and rechargeable flashlight and Uconnect media center.
The availability of Freedom Drive II gives the 2013 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 pleasantly surprised 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.
The 2013 Jeep Compass' base engine is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder of 158 horsepower. We recommend the optionally available 2.4-liter four, 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.
158 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
141 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/30 mpg (FWD, manual), 22/28 mpg (FWD, automatic)
172 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
165 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/28 mpg (FWD, manual), 21/27 mpg (FWD, CVT), 23/28 mpg (4WD, manual), 21/26 mpg (Freedom Drive I 4WD, CVT), 20/23 mpg (Freedom Drive II w/Off-Road package, 4WD, CVT)
With a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of roughly $20,000, the base 2013 Jeep Compass Sport occupies the only price point where a Compass purchase can begin to make sense. And, given the pricing difference between it and a comparably-equipped Patriot, you really need to appreciate the looks of the Compass to consider the additional expense. As you go up in trim levels the argument for a Compass purchase grows even more marginal; a Limited starts at just over $25,000 and, with options, can easily climb past $30,000. If a 2013 Jeep Compass is your one-and-only consideration, consult Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price for an idea of what consumers are paying in your area. And, don't regard the Compass as an investment, as the resale value falls short of virtually everything in its competitive segment.
By Carolyn (NJ) on Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price; good character"
Cons: "Need a little more room inside"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I was looking for a Jeep that wouldn't break my bank, but still had style. I'm happy with it...just wish for a little more room inside (have two boys in car seats). I feel very safe though and that's important."
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%.."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
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