By on September 19, 2006

j2006_343.jpg Since Chrysler acquired AMC from Renault in ‘87, the Jeep brand has been the domestic manufacturer’s canary in the coal mine. When Jeep’s done well, Chrysler’s done well. When Jeep’s languished, Chrysler’s tanked. Chrysler’s German masters are not blind to this correlation. Jeep's new corporate parent has shortened product development cycles from decades to six years. And now Doktor Z und ze Boyz are looking to grow DaimlerChrysler by expanding Jeep's model lineup. Does the Compass point the way to a bright future for "America's sports car"?

The Compass is not the Jeep brand’s first non-Trail Rated product by any means (any 4X2 won’t do), but it’s become the most notorious. In an attempt to imbue the suburban schlepper with some brand faithful (if faux) off-street cred, the Compass’ designers maintained the classic Jeep proportions and gave it the usual brand cues: bug eyes, Iron Man mouth, seven-nostril nose and trapezoidal wheel arches. It just doesn’t work. The Compass’ triangular D-pillar kink strikes the most discordant note in a distinctly off-key, Far Eastern melody.

j2006_313.jpgThe Compass’ interior consists of DCX’ all-too-familiar homage to rectangles, punctuated by the occasional round dial or gauge. A gaping maw violently interrupts the passenger side dashboard, luring a mess of unsightly and unsecured schmutz which no right-minded off-roader would allow. It’s a workmanlike (though not workingmanlike) cabin, rescued from complete vapidity by two-tone leather seat and an [optional] MP3-compatible nine-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system that pumps-out major tuneage.  

Equally strange, the Compass’ rear seats signal the vehicle’s inability to carry three adults in lateral comfort by leaving the two-tone design off the middle pew. A brace of rear passengers can recline– or you can forget the whole thing, fold the seats flat and stow the requisite mountain bikes, surfboards, golden retriever and other lifestyle gear. Oh, and the Compass’ rear cargo light is a detachable flashlight whose loss is your local Jeep dealer’s parts department’s endless gain.

j2006_331.jpgThe Compass’ 2.4-liter powerplant comes courtesy of the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA). This partnership of DaimlerChrysler, Hyundai and Mitsubishi has produced a so-called “World Engine.” Regrettably, this east-meets-west design– a Hyundai-designed block topped by a Mercedes-Benz-derived head — fails to deliver a first-rate competitor.

Though thrifty (estimated EPA economy 24/27 mpg), the transverse-mounted, 172hp DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine is completely intimidated by the Compass’ 3,153 pound curb weight (front wheel-drive model). Peak horsepower and torque arrive at 6000 and 4400 rpm respectively. Translation: a Compass driver must whip the snot out of the engine to liberate anything even remotely resembling hustle. Drop the hammer and the Compass moseys to 60mph in nine point five seconds. It takes an additional twenty three seconds to increase that velocity by 40mph. By then you’re bored witless and more or less finished.

j2006_296.jpgThe Compass’ Continuously Variable Transaxle (CVT) utilizes six preset gear ratios to simulate toothed cogs. During normal driving, the driver can manually input a “gear” by toggling the shift knob. Under hard acceleration, the computer controlled CVT jumps abruptly to a lower gear ratio, simulating a downshift. Under full throttle, the engine climbs to 6000 revs. And there it stays, while the Compass [slowly] accelerates. Now how much would you pay? The CVT costs $1150 and saps three mpg from maximum fuel efficiency. The Compass' standard five-speed manual gearbox is the better [non] option, but one suspects the Not Ready for Prime Time CVT will get the lion’s share of the business– and brickbats.

Never mind the TV ads. The Compass is far too tall, heavy and slow to offer sporty handling, or even the idea of sporty handling. If you have enough patience (and road) to attain speeds sufficient to generate lateral G’s, the Compass’ body motions are generally well controlled by its four-wheel independent suspension. The four-wheel discs haul the baby Jeep down from speed with admirable alacrity. The ride quality is acceptable: a cut above Jeep Liberty harshness, but not quite up to Grand Cherokee standards.

j2006_344.jpg As far as off-roading is concerned, this Jeep doesn’t jeep. The Compass’ 8.1” ground clearance is competitive for a crossover ‘Ute. But a 20-degree approach angle will keep the Compass on the pavement or well maintained dirt roads. Even with the optional Freedom Drive I pack– a single-speed, electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system– the Rubicon would eat the Compass for breakfast.

And? The Jeep Compass will find plenty of budget-minded consumers looking to buy a piece of the Jeep mystique for peanuts (under $16k base); buyers who’d no more drive the Rubicon than raft down the Zambezi. Sure, Jeep will sell loads of Compasses, but at what price? In the long term, this is exactly the kind of half-hearted down market brand extension that dragged Mercedes’ image into the gutter.

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59 Comments on “Jeep Compass Review...”

  • avatar

    “Does the Compass point the way to a bright future for “America’s sports car”?”


    “The Rubicon would eat the Compass for breakfast.”


  • avatar

    Enzo Ferrari famously called the Jeep (there was but one model back in the day) “America’s sports car.”

    OK, maybe not so famously, but at least accurately. I mean, all we had back then was a foul-handling Vette.

  • avatar

    Hmmm… Well I guess… Perhaps the comments that inspired the GT40?

    Anyway, the compass is not what “Jeep” typically stands for, it’s just a car. Perhaps Jeep invented the “trail rating” just so they could “un-trail rate” stuff that was never meant to do more than a dirt road.

  • avatar


    I can’t remember ‘the day’ when there was ‘but one model.’

    Even going back to the forties and fifties, there were Jeep (Willy’s) pickup trucks and even sedans – not ‘trail-rated,’ I’m sure.

  • avatar

    As an owner of many Jeeps, this seems like a cynical attempt by DCX to imbue a mediocre offering with a legendary pedigree. To paraphrase the late Lloyd Bentsen, “Compass, you’re no Jeep”

  • avatar

    “The Compass’ interior consists of DCX’ all-too-familiar homage to rectangles, punctuated by the occasional round dial or gauge. ”

    lol .. thats just classic!

  • avatar

    Is it just me or does this bucket look a lot like a Dodge Caliber?

    I am SO tired of badge engineering.

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    To me it looks like the unholy spawn of an AMC Gremlin humping a Jeep Liberty.

  • avatar

    …and it will get worse. The geniuses at DCX created a raft of concept cars, of which the Compass was one, based on the Dodge Caliber platform. They also floated a “Patriot” concept, based on the same Dodge underpinnings. Both got reasonably favorable responses, so rather than pick one, DCX has decided to release BOTH to the market. So let’s see…in the space of a year, we’ve gone from three vehicles – the immortal Wrangler, the Grand Cherokee, and the Liberty, to six (including the Commander) and really seven, if you include the new 4-door Wrangler. That’s nuts.

    Jeep needs an “entry-level” vehicle like GM needs to buy Ford to save themselves. TWO entry level rides? Fuggedabboudit.

    The weird thing is that the two other concept vehicles to which DCX gave a pass – a Wrangler-based pickup and the Hummer-killer “Rescue” concept – looked (to me, anyway) like much better bets. From a strategic point of view, Jeep franchises are usually paired with Chrysler. a Pickup truck would have made sense. And the Rescue looked a whole lot more interesting than the Commander.

    I’m just hoping that they don’t screw things up too badly for the Wrangler. I drive a 97, and the new ones are looking pretty good. Please, somebody save DCX from themeselves before we get a DCX Death Watch!

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    Finally, a car company that understands the benefit of having a cargo light that could pass as a stun gun.

  • avatar

    Why oh why does _every_ brand need to try and cater to _every_ customer? Jeep was one of the last brands that had a concise mission: Off-road ability.

    If <50% of the product is going to be trail rated, then how is Jeep any different than Dodge or Chrysler? Why not just kill the Jeep name and sell the Wrangler with a Dodge badge?

    How’s this for a non-trail rated Jeep: Take a Magnum AWD, slap on a lift kit, and sell it as the second coming of the AMC Eagle. That would at least be an interesting alternative to a Subaru Outback.

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    Captain D said: The weird thing is that the two other concept vehicles to which DCX gave a pass – a Wrangler-based pickup and the Hummer-killer “Rescue” concept – looked (to me, anyway) like much better bets.

    I was in the toy section of Wally World last week and saw a large RC toy called the “Jeep Gladiator.” It appeared to be a Wrangler with an extended bed and an “extra cab” pickup design. Although I don’t follow Jeep religiously, it made me wonder if this was foreshadowing a new model jeep. I liked it. If they could put an economical grunty engine in it (I’d say small diesel, but then again, I’m diesel-obsessed) I think it could be a big seller.

    As for the name, those of us old enough to remember (and sadly, I am) know that that Jeep’s original “modern” pickup (i.e. the pickup with a full, wide bed and interior fenders) was called the Gladiator. So it seemed reasonable to think this might be a new Jeep model. Sad to hear they cancelled it in favor of another bland crossover.

    As for what DCX is doing with Jeep, they really seem to be trying to create a brand identity that will live on its own outside the vehicle itself – basically the way Harley-Davidson did, creating a whole sub-market of branded paraphernalia and the requisite “lifestyle” it symbolizes. Anyone who has been into a Harley-Davidson Boutique, er, I mean “shop”, knows what I’m talking about.

    Incidentally, some columnist, I can’t remember who, several years ago lamented the fact that the Jeep, that great icon of the liberation of the free world in WWII, is now owned by the same people who made Hitler’s Mercedes.

  • avatar

    is now owned by the same people who made Hitler’s Mercedes.

    ….and made with parts from the fine folks who developed the aircraft that bombed Pearl Harbor…

  • avatar

    The Jeep Gladiator was a Jeep concept for the 2006 NAIAS…. and yes, I think it had a diesel IIRC.

  • avatar
    C. Alan

    Good Lord, that thing looks like some one bitch slapped a Toyota Matrix.

  • avatar

    As an Off-road enthusiasts i can’t say i am happy for the new Jeep Models, But i think its DCX’s way just distributing cars to americans that they never knew they wanted, a hatchback. Americans have always avoided hatchs like the plaque, but with fuel costs a big ‘?’ people want economy and utility. and buy utility i mean going to best buy and putting a small TV in the back, then going to the mall and buying a dapper new outfit, then back to home.

    But i don’t understand why they had to make it so damn ugly

  • avatar

    SloStang notes,
    Why oh why does _every_ brand need to try and cater to _every_ customer?


    Some of this is just the delusion of “protecting” the larger brand by offering multiple versions of the same car, but is certainly doesn’t sell more vehicles in total. And while it may keep some customers under the same roof it does nothing to control costs for manufacturing, marketing, training, advertising, parts, and all else, things the Big 2.5 should probably be paying attention to. And when these “new” models are rolled out, how long do they stay in the market? I haven’t tracked this, but it seems like new domestic models are rolled out and then die in just 3 or 4 years a lot more often than ever before. Meanwhile the Asians and Euros just roll out new versions of their main car lines.

    The Compass is just another example of “brand extension” and trading on an established image. Jeep has an image that appeals to lots of people who would never go off road, but like to tell people they have a Jeep. My neighbor, for example, whose idea of off-road is where our street turns to dirt a mile past his house.

  • avatar

    The profile doesn’t look completely horrendous (just anonymous) but the 3/4 views look… …well like prototypes. Slabby and unfinished!

  • avatar

    It’s an abomination.

    I love my Cherokee. My Jeep has taken me places I would not have been able to get to otherwise.

    Why in the world is this half-assed attempt at badge engineering and brand extension allowed to wear the Jeep name?

    It is hideous, slow, has an unimpressive carrying capacity, and zero off-road ability. But the real kicker is that it’s a steaming pile o’ crap on-road, too!

    How badly does one have to hate themselves to buy this thing?

  • avatar

    In case it isn’t glaringly obvious, this is a caliber with a jeep grill. i think the caliber is pretty ugly, but combining the curves of the jeep snout with the angularity of the caliber is a design nightmare.

  • avatar

    Just another sorry and lame crossbadged/crossplatformed vehicle.

    Another attempt, from another car maker to be “Hip”, “Cool” and “Youthful”

    Toyota tried this, then they gave birth to a bastard child called Scion.

  • avatar

    There are hatches and hot hatches and then there is the dodgy caliber derivitive known as the compass. Cloned ,torpid and ugly is no way to go through life IMO.

    Which jeep customer is DCX going to retain with this little marvel of badge engineering. Feels like SAAB making an SUV to me… only the garbage flow is running the other way.

    Why can’t companies just be content with sticking to what they do well rather than making embarassing attempts at degrading their percieved core values (off- road capability for jeep). Yeah I’m sure that if they all did just that we’d never see anything new but haven’t we done pretty much everything over the last 100+ years?

    Nearly forgot to mention I once had an XJ 4.0 4×4 Laredo 5spd.

  • avatar

    Jeep already has an entry-level model…it’s called the Wrangler. The Compass doesn’t fit the brand, it’s essentially a the Dodge Caliber for those who hate the Ram-wannabe front-end treatment. On that note, I prefer the Jeep’s exterior styling…thus the conundrum caused by badge-engineering: watered-down clones that essentially generate sales by price spreads and aesthetic preferences. To prevent eating eachother’s competition, one car’s offers value while the other’s a cash-cow (if it sells).

    I would have much preferred the Wrangler-derived pickup (the Gladiator), its dimensions would suit the urban-handyman (think contractor in NYC), and would be great for weekend getaways on the trail.

    And why the hell did DCX abandon the venerable I-6? I mean, if any brand screams for a dirt-simple bulletproof engine, it’s Jeep. Now there’s nothing to distinguish Jeep powertrains from the rest of the global mix.

  • avatar

    Entry level? The absolute striped down Wrangler has an MSRP of 20K!

    There is a big difference between “badge engineering” and brand identity. Jeeps can look like Jeeps even if the Jeep in question is a car.

  • avatar

    I know everyone reading this forum is a self proclaimed expert on marketing and aesthetic taste but… the sales numbers do not lie.

    I do not particularly care for the looks of the Compass but if DCX is selling the sh*t out of them who am I to say their strategies are wrong? Obviously something is right with the Caliber/Compass.

  • avatar

    What are the sales numbers? Is DCX really moving these atrocities?

    It’s like the Aztek has been resurrected! Only the Aztek was more attractive and utilitarian.

    I can’t believe I just said the Aztek was more attractive than something…


  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    It looks like the Jeep grille was heated, melted and then thrown on the nose of a Caliber. Reminds me of how an egg yolk stretches out if you make the egg slide around the pan.

    Mercedes derived head? That’s pathetic. On the other hand, if it worked for the Datsun 240Z…

  • avatar

    Yea, I can’t believe you said that either. I don’t care for the Compass but they Aztek was waaaay uglier.

  • avatar

    is now owned by the same people who made Hitler’s Mercedes.

    ….and made with parts from the fine folks who developed the aircraft that bombed Pearl Harbor…

    Man, must be some really OLD people in the auto industry these days.

  • avatar

    Gary Dilts, the Chrysler Group’s senior vice president of sales, said the Calibers were “virtually coming off the trucks and going out the door” as fast they reach dealer lots.

  • avatar

    I didn’t see where Jeep or the Compass is mentioned anywhere in that article.

    I know that the Caliber is doing well. I don’t have as big of a problem with that car because it isn’t antithetical to Dodge and it is more attractive than the Compass. I still wouldn’t buy one unless it had a lot more power, but I would buy a Caliber WAY before I would even consider buying a Compass, which would likely be just after I am committed.

  • avatar

    Just as the sun surely rises in the east, you can count on DCX to bring forth yet another (sometimes more) Jeep concept each auto show season. They’ve been doing it for seemingly ever. These “Jeeps” tend to be fun and frivolous (the twin-engine Hurricane), so we give them that. Hey, they’re show cars, right?

    But nothing screamed, “Manufacture me, you tools!” like the recent Gladiator Concept. So simple, so right, so Jeep. Talk about a near perfect way to add a dollop of luster and lust to the vaunted Jeep lineage, all while retaining the dignity and glory of the brand.

    But no, they give us the Compass.

    I’m the type of boy who can see many sides to most any issue. So I want to believe that there were numerous cost/feasibility studies conducted by teams of lab coat-wearing custodians of the legend. Oodles of consumer clinics, too. And in the end they saw a half of a percentage point of juicy market share to be consumed. Look, it’s a business. I understand.

    It’s hardly a secret that what our German friends wanted to acquire most of all during the time leading up to the merger/purchase was Jeep. But what built Jeep into “Jeep” in the first place, and made it such a valued company, was not ugly, watered down, incompetent pretend-o-cars.

    This “compass” points south.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    As nothing “sacred” lasts forever, I really have no problem with the Compass as a product as long as it doesn’t effect the other Jeep brands (Specifically the Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee — the Liberty… not so much).

    HOWEVER, Jeep is and always has been a leader in design.

    The WW2 Jeep that Ike said was one of three vehicles that won the war is past a classic design — it is an icon and an archetype.

    The Cherokee stilll looks modern and is the basis for 3 out of 4 contemporary SUVS — a stunning knockout.

    And while the current version isn’t the best, the Grand Cherokee ignighted the luxury SUV fire. And not because it could handle the Rubicon.

    But this mutant is so tragically, horribly, irredeemably ugly… truly pathetic.

    I got to wonder if secretly Die Germans are getting back at Jeep…

  • avatar


    The Jeep Compass sales figues are due to be reported for September.

    However, this is the statement made by DCX:

    The Jeep Compass is beginning to arrive at Jeep dealers nationwide and feedback is positive from dealers and customers. Sales of the Jeep Compass totaled 2,061 units this month despite limited availability, as dealers are still receiving shipments.

  • avatar

    So 2,061 Aztek owners traded in their cars …

  • avatar

    It’s hard to really get too excited about the watering down of the Jeep brand when the Liberty has been out for several years now… but the Compass still irks me. Maybe just becasue it is so ugly… maybe because it looks like a badge engineered Dodge Caliber (which it is).

    But perhaps you have to consider the target audience… based on the price, it is competing with the Honda Fit, Dodge Caliber, Toyota Matrix/Vibe, PT Cruiser, Nissan Versa, Chevy HHR?…. all fairly generic little 4 cylinder boxes with little to distinguish them but branding… for the teens and early 20 somethings that will be buying these cars, perhaps bug eye headlights and a jeep grille is exactly what they need to distinguish their generic 4 cylinder box from all their friend’s generic 4 cylinder boxes.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman


    Leave the Honda Fit out of that grouping — it is a superb car in almost every respect.

  • avatar

    I drove by one of these in a dealer lot a few weeks ago. It really is uglier than the Aztek, easily the most hiseous vehicle I have ever laid eyes on.

  • avatar

    JL – No offense meant to the Fit… if I were shopping for a generic 4 cyl box, the Fit would be my choice for sure.

  • avatar


    is now owned by the same people who made Hitler’s Mercedes.

    ….and made with parts from the fine folks who developed the aircraft that bombed Pearl Harbor…

    …who furthermore operate the largest fleet of 747s, despite the fact that they are made by the same company that built a certain type of WWII bomber which may not evoke the best memories for them.

  • avatar

    The Fit is a sub-compact so it’s not even comparable anyway.

  • avatar
    Joe C.

    I’ve got to believe the Patriot will sell 2 or 3 to 1 over this POS. Bring it on! I think many suburban poseurs will easily opt for a Cherokee lookalike, made by Jeep, costing much less than a Grand Cherokee.

    Leave this f’ugly thing in a dark corner of the back lot and make customers beg to see one until the excess inventory knocks some sense into Dr. Z’s noggin.

    And, YES, since they have the extended platform already, make the Gladiator from the Unlimited. I saw one of the old CJ-based short pickups still in active duty on a ranch in Montana last month, going strong.

  • avatar

    it looks like a cross between a liberty and a mazda 3 hatchback.

  • avatar

    I slammed this one in my own review a few weeks ago. Huge mistake in just about every way.

    This isn’t the first non-“Trail Rated” product, but it is the first model without a Trail Rated variant.

    And, yes Gearhead, I do think they created “Trail Rated” a few years ago to clearly which future models were true Jeeps, and which weren’t.

  • avatar

    I own a Commander and this thing is BUTT-UGLY, so that tells you something. The dealer had just gotten their first Compass two months ago when I got the Commando. I had been curious to see if it was better looking in person than the photos (like the Commander). It was actually more ugly in person. Why would anyone buy this over it’s better-looking (not by much) sister the Dodge Caliber?

    For that matter there will be a lot of mad Caliber buyers when the Patriot comes out. At least the Patriot looks decent, and should have a little more room inside just like the Commander has more room than the Grand Cherokee. I’ll gladly take a Patriot but ONLY with a 5-speed.

    What is it with CVTs now anyway? Why are they popping up in everything? It just makes no sense, since every review goes on and on about how they suck. After all these years they finally begin to perfect the automatic tranny and now are abandoning it for something that most people have no idea what it is? The 5 speed auto trans I have driven are far superior to the 4 speeds. Is it cost? Are the CVTs that much cheaper to build?

  • avatar
    Lesley Wimbush

    Ew, looks like it was chopped off at the knees.

  • avatar

    I guess Jeep wanted to get a piece of the small all-wheel-drive crossover market and have something to compete more directly with the likes of the Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and other vehicles like that.

    The original Compass concept car was a 2-door model with bigger wheels and a higher ground-clearance. Although the production model keeps a lot of the same styling cues, somehow they just don’t carry over very well.

    My understanding is that the Compass rated highly in marketing surveys with women, while the upcoming Jeep Patriot (much better-looking), built on the same platform, rated highly with men. (I think the Patriot looks a lot like a Subaru Forester with a Jeep grill stuck on.) So, apparently, the Compass is a “chick car.”

    Still, I really don’t get what Jeep is thinking in offering the similarly-sized and priced Liberty, Compass, Patriot and now a 4-door Wrangler (not to mention the AWD Dodge Caliber and Nitro). It seems like they are primarily cannibalizing Jeep Liberty sales.

  • avatar

    Here’s a litmus test for whether or not the Compass fits the brand:

    Would it be worth developping a “trail-rated” option? To do this, you’d probably have to give the car adjustable suspension that raises the ground clearance, on top of all the other off-road goodies you get in a real Jeep. What you’d end up with is a franken-ute with limited appeal and an hefty sticker price, but with next-to-no competiton (maybe Subaru Outback). It would be an extremely versitaile novelty item; at home in the city, suburbs and on the trail, and might be worth doing if it wasn’t so ugly.

    Crossover vehicles and hatchbacks are marketable these days. It’s too bad DCX released this as a Jeep without giving it a thorough comb-over.

  • avatar

    Far from the first non 4×4 jeep. The ’50s Jeepster couldn’t be had with 4×4 and the first Wagoneers I believe had 4×4 optional.

    Still this seems wrong headed in lots of ways. If they just wanted something economical and ‘entry level’ it seems like they could have offered a stripped down Wrangler with skinny tires, a 4cylinder and dirt-cheap beam front axle – maybe even a unit body version but with the same fenders if fuel economy is the concern. Those things look cheap as hell to make – there’s not all that much to them.

    I too don’t understand why the Compass AND Patriot. I guess so they can charge more for the Patriot.

  • avatar

    Someone sure did hit this poor car with the ugly stick

  • avatar

    Thing looks like a Manto Hee Hee…
    Mr. Designer… start looking for a new job.
    Who approved the design? Same executives as the Pontiac Aztek? I’ve owned three Jeeps in the past. Won’t be soon if this is the kind of stuff coming out of their design studios. (Do they have design studio?)

  • avatar

    lots of criticism … but few have bothered to drive a Compass it seems.
    those who want the traditional off-road 4X4 will still purchase a Wrangler. that’s what it’s built for.
    the Compass is NOT directed at the Wrangler buyer.
    and many people cannot afford the Grand Cherokee. and exactly how many Grand Cherokee buyers actually take their Cherokees four wheeling??? I bet it’s a small percentage.
    I have owned Wranglers … I love them.
    But now I own a Compass. and I love it too.
    As far as the comment about offering a stripped down Wrangler … remember they have been … the SE model. 4 cyl, back seat optional, fairly bare bones. did it sell? don’t think so ’cause there isn’t an ’07 Wrangler like that being offered.

    It’s not a Wrangler, nor does it even try to be.
    IMHO the Compass has more passenger room than the Liberty … and it’s a lot easier to get in and out of the back seat as well. As far as the back seat goes, it’ll fit two comfortably, three in a pinch.
    My Compass has a really solid feel … just like my Wranglers have felt.
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I like the style of the Compass.
    Like many other cars out there these days, parts are shared among various brands … live with it guys. That’s the way it is, and that’s the way it’s gonna be. Car companies have to do it, it makes economic sense. Are the Compass and Caliber similar? yup. But I drove a Caliber and it’s not the same as a Compass. There is definitely a Jeep feel to the Compass … and there are features unique to the Compass as well. And no, my Compass isn’t a pocket rocket. I didn’t expect it to be. Don’t want it to be. The ride quality isn’t up to Grand Cherokee standards? For a $20K car, the Compass’ ride is damn good … and how can you compare it to a $30K car??
    Is the interior plasticky? yup it is. So was my Wrangler’s. So will the new Wranglers.

  • avatar

    I own a Compass as well, I owned a Jeep Cherokee Sport with a lift kit and it had a 4.0 litre gas guzzler. I was spending 50 bucks evry five days on gas, I wanted somehthing more economical. True, the 2.4 litre engine isn’t as fierce as the four litre, but most of my time is spent commuting. Filling my tank for 24 bucks gives me sound piece of mine in my purchase. Though it isn’t terribly fast, I have the auto stick and have no problem passing other cars or climbing hills and most times I look down to find I am going 80 miles per hour. I live in Colorado and go to the mountains at least once a week and if you watch the news, we have recieved tons of snow here and my Compass does just fine in it. No, it isn’t a hard core off road vehicle, not does it claim to be. The Compass up at the top is really ugly because it has some after market wheels and body kit. I have a black limited and gets nothing but compliments any where I go, so, true, it isn’t for everyone but it just seems like people on here like to bash stuff without really knowing what they are talking about…

  • avatar

    Compass owner now for four months and over 8500kms and loving every moment…After driving BMW 3series for 25years have no regrets with the change. Mind you I stuck with the stick shift, but the car is great!!!

  • avatar

    We bought a 2007 Jeep Compass Sport AWD 2.4 L and CVT trans. The Compass is no Jeep in the true meaning of what a Jeep is. Frankly the Compass is a misfit! Take the grill out and change it and call it a Dodge Compass, as an upgrade for the Caliber. That would better fit in the Compass’s odd ball styling.
    The fuel mileage was remarkable poor. 21 mpg was often the results on the open road, especially if it was a hilly road. The CVT is constantly working up and down, and add the lack luster power of the loud 2.4L World Engine and the results are poor. The engine coupled with the CVT is gutless, and lacks lower torque to get up even to a Yugo’s pep.
    The insides have the cheapest looking plastic, the texture feels hard and fit is poor with sharp edges and wide gaps and overlaps where the fit is sloppy. The Yes seats were easy to clean but offered short leg support. Lumber support was flat and made driving for more than 3 hours miserable!
    Chrysler needs to rethink how the insides need more padding, like arm rests, and door pannels.
    The Compass has the same interior as the Patriot. Why have a different bodys and the same interiors and call one a call one a Compass and the other a Patroit? Seems if Chrysler wants to trim down the different lines that the Compass would be # one on the list.
    With the CVT when you take your foot off the gas teh vehicle acts like you put on the brakes, there is very little coasting. The CVT is a bad answer to saving money. Ford learned this last year and discontinued the CVT.
    If Chrysler LLC. wants to become a sales leader once again, then vehicles like the Compass need to be brought up to the standards of other vehicles in the same cost range.
    How is it that Chrysler used to produce a Neon that got 33 mpg and the Caliber is good to get 28 mpg? These are issues that relly need attention ASAP is Jeep is to stay a leader in OFF ROAD vehicles, which the Compass is NOT.

  • avatar

    Wish it had four doors.

  • avatar

    I’m a Jeep guy so when I was looking for something that would allow me to retire my TJ from use as a daily driver (to build it up for what it’s meant for), I test drove an ’08 Compass. I didn’t mind the interior and overall I liked the style, except for the front end. But then as the salesman told me, “You’ll never see it when driving it.” He had a point.

    It was a manual transmission and was fun to drive. I might have bought it as it was a decent deal. But my senses got to me for one that I’ll never own a black car as a daily driver and it was their only manual which I would want, and two that it’s built by the UAW, which I have sworn off for the socialist politicians that they support.

    Sorry Jeep! So I bought a five-speed ’09 Civic Coupe instead.

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