While Jeep has made great strides with the exterior and interior enhancement for the 2014 Compass, its overall appeal still falls short of the benchmarks set by the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Subaru Forester. Wearing the "Trail Rated" badge may impress some, but true Jeep aficionados know this little crossoverSUV can't keep up with its big brothers, the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. Riding atop an aging platform, the Compass doesn't deliver the same ride and handling found in many newer products, and although Jeep has addressed part of the performance issue with a new 6-speed automatic transmission, a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) remains on 4WD Compass models with Freedom Drive II, the most desirable of the off-road systems.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a compact and fuel-efficient small SUV with rugged looks, passable off-road credentials and a number of unique features not found on the competition, the 2014 Jeep Compass may just pull you in.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you are serious about going off-road, there are far better vehicles than the Jeep Compass, even in the compact segment. In terms of engine refinement and overall performance, the Compass falls far behind newer models like the Subaru Forester, Ford Escape and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.
The Compass receives an all-new 6-speed automatic transmission, but only on the front-drive and 4x4 Freedom Drive I models. More tweaks to the interior and exterior help somewhat, as do new safety features like standard front seat side airbags and an available rear backup camera.
Driving the Compass
The 2014 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 SUV is its on-road composure, and both the steering and suspension of the 2014 Jeep Compass provide decent connectivity to the road. There is a new 6-speed automatic and improved 5-speed manual transmission on the Sport model, both of which greatly improve the Compass performance. Unfortunately, the most desirable off-road package, Freedom Drive II, remains saddled with the somewhat lackluster CVT2 automatic transmission.
FREEDOM DRIVE II OFF-ROAD PACKAGE With Freedom Drive II the 2014 Compass achieves Jeep's "Trail Rated" moniker, a credible achievement given its car-based roots. With what Jeep describes as a 2nd-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 2014 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.
2014 Jeep Compass Details
The interior of the 2014 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.
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 2014 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 2014 Jeep Compass SUV is not without features, both standard and optional. The availability of a 5-speed manual (Sport only) is a nice surprise. 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 2014 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 – this option package may be the best way to make this "pretend" Jeep SUV feel more like the real thing.
Under the Hood
The 2014 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.
With a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of roughly $20,000, the base 2014 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 $26,000 and, with options, can easily climb past $30,000. If a 2014 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 long-term resale value falls short of virtually everything in its competitive segment.
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!"
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."
"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."