The American brand’s new compact SUV brings plenty of desirable features, but one area is a big letdown.
After a tough few years, Jeep is having a mini sales resurgence, and its new Compass SUV should help that continue.
Here is everything you need to know about the new Jeep Compass.
This is the cheap Jeep.
The compact Jeep Renegade is no longer offered here, so the upgraded Compass is the brand’s most affordable option.
It’s priced from about $42,000 to $56,000 drive-away, and the model we tested was the mid-range S-Limited, available from about $51,000.
Closer in size to the Toyota C-HR than the larger RAV4, the Compass is more expensive than many mainstream rivals.
To compensate, Jeep has loaded the S-Limited with an enticing array of equipment.
The impressive-looking cabin is designed around a digital driver display and giant 10.1-inch central touchscreen with satnav, Android Auto, wireless Apple CarPlay, and inductive smartphone charging, along with a seriously punchy nine-speaker Alpine stereo.
Some of the cabin plastics are a little hard to the touch, though.
It’s powered by a 2.4-liter petrol engine linked to a nine-speed auto and all-wheel-drive.
The warranty covers you for five years or 100,000 kilometers.
An urban-focused machine that’s much easier to live with than the truck-like Wrangler, the Compass S-Limited is packed with creature comforts. Plump for a $2950 premium package, and you get a huge sunroof, heated and cooled leather seats, a heated steering wheel, and a handy 360-degree camera.
We’re happy to report there are physical buttons and knobs for the dual-zone climate control and electric adjustment for the driver’s seat that accommodates a wide variety of bodies.
The seats lack support on windy roads, though, and there’s more cabin noise than class leaders.
Jeep upgraded the Compass for 2021, adding safety features such as auto emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, traffic-sign recognition, intelligent speed assistance, and drowsy driver alerts. Other driver assistance tech includes radar cruise control, lane-keeping service, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. As with many systems in new cars, those features can feel overbearing at times. The lane-keep assistance tugs annoyingly at the steering wheel on roads with narrow lanes.
Impressive on paper, the Compass lacks driving polish.
Its steering is short on weight and feel, the brakes on our test example were grabby, and the nine-speed auto-delivered the occasionally jerky shift. The 2.4-liter, 129kW/224Nm petrol engine is noisy and scarily thirsty compared to sophisticated turbo rivals (it uses 9.7L/100km of petrol), and the soft suspension’s roly-poly nature lacks precision.
That said, the Compass is a good pick for folks who want to go off-road. All-paw traction, terrain-specific driving modes, and a spare tire give it an advantage over most rivals.
The Compass’ new cabin is impressive, making the baby Jeep easier to live with, but it’s expensive, and the engine is thirsty.
Subaru Forester 2.5i-S, from about $49,000 drive-away
Just as capable off-road, the Forester is a practical pick that can be loaded up with features such as leather, a Harman-Kardon stereo, and a sunroof.
Mini Countryman Cooper S, from about $51,000 drive-away
The Mini matches Jeep’s cool factor while being much better to drive – at least on sealed roads. We wouldn’t go exploring with it.
Jeep Wrangler, from about $58,000 drive-away
Is this the Jeep you really want? Iconic looks and actual go-anywhere ability meet compromised refinement and safety credentials.
JEEP COMPASS S-LIMITED
Price: From about $51,000 drive-away
Engine: 2.4-liter 4-cyl petrol, 129kW, and 224Nm
Warranty/servicing: 5-yr/100,000km, $1995 for 5 years
Safety: 7 airbags, auto emergency braking, active cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert.
Cargo: 438 liters
Spare: Full-size steel wheel