You only get the choice of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder pumping out 180hp. You can opt for a six-speed manual gearbox but that only comes with the entry-level Sport and Latitude Trim levels. Our tester car was the top of the range Limited which came with a nine-speed auto gearbox. It came with mixed reviews as many felt that it was just way too many gears for the amount of horsepower the engine produced, while others thought that the engine and trans pairing was more ‘okay’ and just not that refined. Driving around town the Compass did feel very comfortable and easy to maneuver around, while on the highway you’ll feel like you had fewer gears as the engine horsepower gets lost in all the gears. The engine is flexible when up to speed and doesn’t really make too much of a racket while at cruising speeds. The engine stop/start technology isn’t as smooth as it could be but it does a decent job and you can deactivate it if you find it annoying.
The front seats are comfortable and offer plenty of support and adjustability, while those in the second row won’t have anything to complain about as it is decent in space. The boot space is also generous too but it isn’t class leading. The infotainment system is easy to use and simple in operation, but the several menus can get quite distracting while on the go. The one area that we wish that FCA would improve on is the interior quality. It just doesn’t seem up to snuff with the rest of the competition. It’s great that Jeep has improved interior quality and also improved the Compass dynamically, but it still isn’t as great as it could be.
Our tester car (Limited) came with a sunroof, heated leather seats, navigation system with back-up camera. 4x4 system, dual-zone climate control, HID headlights and a security group package. It’s really hard trying to justify this version of the Compass as it is close to $40k and well for that amount of money there are some real heavy hitters that will give the Compass a run for its money in quality and refinement.
We enjoyed our short time with the Compass and found it to be light years better than the outgoing model. However, the nine-speed auto gearbox isn’t refined and FCA reliability record hasn’t been great. If you want the most capable compact crossover of the lot than this is your best bet, however you can buy a Subaru XV and it’s just as capable. It may not have the flexible engine but the running costs are lower and the refinement is much better.
Likes: Light years better than the previous generation, Trailhawk version has the most off-road prowl.
Dislike: Refinement of the transmission and build quality needs to be improved; otherwise this fresh new design is just a coat of primer.
Our pick: Ditch the Sport and go right for the Latitude. You get plenty of kit standard and the price isn’t too expensive like the Limited. The Trailhawk is the option for those who are going to do off-roading in this, but at the price point. You minus well consider a Subaru XV which is similarly priced, more refined and more reliable.