2017 Jeep Compass Overview
Pros & Cons
- Low base price
- Sleepy engines and sloppy handling
- Low-rent interior with few standard features
- Cramped rear seats
- Meager cargo capacity
Notable for 2017
- No major changes
Jeep Compass Rankings and Research
The 2017 Jeep Compass ranking is based on its score within the Compact SUVs category. Currently the Jeep Compass has a score of 5.6 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 30 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.
2017 Jeep Compass Pictures
2017 Jeep Compass Review
If you don't have a lot to spend on an SUV, the 2017 Jeep Compass seems quite appealing. With its starting price of nearly $20,000, the Compass is one of the lowest-priced compact SUVs on the market. However, aside from a facelift in 2011, the model has seen very little change since its inception in 2007. In the meantime, rival automakers have redesigned their SUVs to be more modern and competitive.
According to our analysis of reviews and data, the only direction this Compass can find in our rankings is south. On the performance front, available engines are meager and handling is far from composed. Inside, hard plastic materials on the dashboard and a short list of standard features also lower the Compass' appeal. You'll have to pay extra for items like power windows and door locks, which are standard in most every other car and SUV. Also, you'll find more spacious rear seats and larger cargo holds in rival SUVs that offer more value, such as the Hyundai Tucson and Chevrolet Equinox.
Few Standard Features
It seems odd that an automaker would include standard features like a USB port, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and voice command, but not include simple conveniences like power door locks and power windows – yet that is the case with the Compass. You'll have to upgrade to one of the higher trims or add them as part of a package.
The optional infotainment system features a 6.5-inch touch screen and a hard drive. Many new Jeeps use the latest iteration of the Uconnect infotainment system, which is one of the best around. Unfortunately, this isn't an option for the Compass.
Many compact SUV rivals have upped their game when it comes to interiors. With the exception of some leather trim in pricier trims, dash materials in the Compass mostly consist of hard plastics that look and feel cheap. Compact SUV contenders like the Nissan Rogue, Kia Sportage, and GMC Terrain offer premium interiors made with high-quality materials.
Although seating is moderately comfortable and roomy up front, some will have trouble finding the best driving position. The Compass has narrow seatbacks and lacks a telescoping steering wheel, which can make it difficult to get comfortable. Additionally, more than half of the trims don't come with driver height adjustment. An optional six-way power-adjustable driver's seat makes things a little better.
Still, there are a few optional seating amenities. Upper trims get leather upholstery, which earns praise for its fine quality and detailed style. In the colder months, available heated front seats come in handy.
Legroom is tight for second-row passengers. You'll have a hard time fitting more than two back there, and it's best to keep the trips short. Rivals like the Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson earn praise for expansive rear-seat legroom.
To secure car seats, the Compass has two complete sets of LATCH anchors on both outboard rear seats and a tether-only connection for the middle seat. Installation is easy due to the exposed outboard anchors.
Limited Cargo Room
There's only 22.7 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. Once you fold the rear seats down, the Compass' cargo hold increases to 53.6 cubic feet. That's not as much space as found in other compact SUVs, including the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4. Both of these SUVs get 34.4 cubic feet with all seats in use. This expands to 74.7 and 73.4, respectively, with the seats down.
The Compass also suffers from poor rear visibility due to its sizeable rear pillars, which make reverse maneuvers a bit tricky. However, a rearview camera – available in all trims – makes backing out a little easier. Outward visibility from the front seats is also hampered because of a high seating position coupled with a short windshield and large front pillars.
Poor Acceleration, Fuel Economy
Compass shoppers have two four-cylinder engines to choose from: a 158-horsepower 2.0-liter base engine or an available 172-horsepower 2.4-liter engine. Acceleration is meager with both, and the standard engine is especially boisterous, with very little power to back up the commotion. Although the 2.4-liter engine delivers more power, it's not enough to keep the Compass from feeling slow.
There are four different transmissions featured in the Compass. The 2.0-liter engine comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission. A continuously variable transmission (CVT), a type of automatic, is optional. Compass models with the 2.4-liter engine come standard with this CVT. Critics suggest avoiding this transmission and opting for one of the other two available automatic transmissions instead. One is a six-speed automatic, which can sometimes shift late. The other is a CVT that's geared for four-wheel-drive models with the Freedom Drive II upgrade.
In the base Compass with the optional CVT, you can expect 22 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. With the larger engine, the Compass returns 20/23 mpg city/highway. These estimates are below average for the class. If fuel economy is important to you, check out the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, which earns 34 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. However, the Toyota's starting price is $3,000 more than the price of the top-of-the-line Compass.
Sloppy Ride and Handling
While some automotive journalists say the Compass' ride is smooth, others disagree, citing a springy ride on less-than-perfect pavement. You'll notice more road feel comes through than with most competitors. For a smoother ride, test out the Chevrolet Equinox, which critics praise for being comfortable even over rough surfaces.
The Compass also has excessive body roll around turns. To make matters worse, steering is loose and numb. For nimbler handling, check out the Ford Escape.
Front-wheel drive comes standard, and four-wheel drive is optional. The Compass can handle light off-roading. With the Freedom Drive II four-wheel-drive upgrade, you'll get a more capable Compass, with a CVT that's tuned for off-roading. Still, for serious off-road ability, you'll want to opt for more capable stablemates like the Jeep Renegade or Jeep Wrangler.
Compass Pricing, Options, and Trims
The 2017 Jeep Compass comes in five trim levels: Sport, Sport SE, 75th Anniversary, Latitude, and High Altitude. Starting at $19,795, the Sport comes standard with a four-speaker audio system, a USB port, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and voice command. The standard engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is available for $545. You can also upgrade to a CVT transmission ($1,350) or a six-speed automatic transmission ($1,450), but the latter requires an upgrade to the larger engine. Front-wheel drive comes standard, but four-wheel drive is available for anywhere from $1,400 to $2,100, depending on trim.
Upgrade to the Sport SE ($22,040), and you'll get heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, and 18-inch wheels (up from 16 inches). The 75th Anniversary Compass ($25,520) loses the heated front seats and gains the larger 2.4-liter engine, a CVT transmission, a sunroof, remote start, and interior and exterior style enhancements. Latitude models ($24,195) drop the larger engine, CVT transmission, and sunroof. However, it adds power windows, power door locks, heated front seats, a 115-volt household power outlet, and power-adjustable and heated sideview mirrors. Building on the Latitude, the High Altitude trim ($25,400) adds a sunroof, leather upholstery, and a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat to its standard offerings.
There are some optional packages to further customize your Compass. The Power Value Group adds automatic headlights, power locks and windows, power-adjustable and heated sideview mirrors, and body-colored exterior accents for $2,245. This package is available for the Sport, Sport SE, and 75th Anniversary trims. For the rest of the trims, a Premium Sound Group ($650) adds a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics audio system with a subwoofer and two flip-down liftgate speakers. This standout feature is great for fishing trips, pre-game tailgating, or just hanging in the garage and cleaning out your Jeep.
Standalone options include a rearview camera ($1,095) and automatic climate control ($300). Also, a 6.5-inch touch-screen infotainment system with a hard drive is available for $695 without navigation and $1,435 with navigation.
Compass Safety and Reliability
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tested the 2017 Jeep Compass for its crashworthiness in frontal and rollover tests. For the frontal test, it scores three out of a possible five stars. In the rollover test, the Compass fared better, earning four out of five stars. However, other than a rearview camera, there are no available driver assistance features for the 2017 Compass.
Jeep covers the Compass with a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Other SUVs to Consider
While its price is about $3,300 more than the Jeep Compass, the Chevrolet Equinox offers better performance and a more practical interior. The Equinox favors ride comfort over handling. In fact, its ride quality is one of the best in the class. With the base four-cylinder engine, the Equinox's acceleration is lackluster, but with the available V6, it's much better. It has plenty of space in both front and rear seats. It also has more cargo room than the Compass: 31.5 cubic feet with the seats in use and 63.7 cubic feet with them folded.
Another compact SUV with a spacious and quiet cabin is the Hyundai Tucson. Its starting price of $22,700 is higher than what you'll pay for the Compass, but the Tucson is a better choice for a few reasons. Unlike the Compass, it has ample room in the back seats for adults. Cargo space is also plentiful, with 31 cubic feet of space that expands to 61.9 with the rear seats collapsed. The Tucson's high safety ratings also make it a great choice for families.
Details: 2017 Jeep Compass
The 2017 Jeep Compass comes in five trim levels: Sport, Sport SE, 75th Anniversary, Latitude, and High Altitude. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine comes standard, and a 2.4-liter four-cylinder is available. If you want to upgrade from the standard five-speed manual transmission, you have three choices of automatic transmission: a CVT, a six-speed automatic, and a CVT specifically designed for use with Freedom Drive II, an upgraded four-wheel-drive system. Front-wheel drive is the standard setup. The Compass saw a refresh in 2011, but it hasn't had any major changes since then. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 through 2017 model years.
Standard features include a four-speaker audio system, a USB port, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and voice command. Available options include power windows and door locks, remote start, a power sunroof, a 115-volt household power outlet, power-adjustable heated sideview mirrors, automatic climate control, a rearview camera, a 6.5-inch touch-screen infotainment system with a hard drive, navigation, and a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics audio system with a subwoofer and two flip-down liftgate speakers.
- "Aside from its low price tag, there's little reason to consider the 2016 Jeep Compass given the excellence of its competitors." -- Edmunds (2016)
- "There are numerous compact SUVs and crossover SUVs that offer generational leaps in refinement, style, features, comfort and driving pleasure compared to the Compass. Some of them cost more money, and they're probably worth it." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
- "The 2015 Jeep Compass may not be as well-regarded as its big brothers, but it still has the heart and soul of a Jeep, albeit in a smaller, more fuel-efficient package. When it comes to overall refinement, however, Jeep's compact SUV lags behind almost every crossover on the market. To be fair, the Compass model's recently upgraded exterior and interior designs help smooth over some of its more glaring shortcomings, while the available 6-speed automatic transmission is an improvement over the disappointing continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT)." -- Autotrader (2015)
Research Prices: 2017 Jeep Compass
Over 75,000 car shoppers have purchased a car through the U.S. News Best Price Program. Our pricing beats the national average 86% of the time with shoppers receiving average savings of $3,279 off MSRP across vehicles. See what others paid for the Jeep Compass and get upfront pricing to make sure you don't overpay. Learn More »