KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 3/8/2013
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 crossover SUV 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.
What's New for 2014
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.
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.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…