Avg. Price Paid:$6,545 - $9,225
Original MSRP: $15,550 - $22,050
MPG: 24 City / 27 Hwy
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2007 Jeep Compass Performance

This performance review was written when the 2007 Jeep Compass was new.

Designed for the road and not for trails, the 2007 Compass receives mixed reviews for its engine performance and handling. As for off-roading, the Sacramento Bee reports, "Suffice it to say that the Compass does not shape up as a rock-crushing trail rider."

CNET, which describes the Compass' performance as "anemic," says, "The Compass feels conspicuously underpowered, and while the continuously variable transmission (CVT) is a commendably advanced transmission system, it makes for reduced throttle responsiveness." Yet others, such as Cars.com, feel that "for an entry-level product, the Compass handles a lot better than it should." The Compass is available in two trims: the Sport and the Limited. The 2007 Jeep Compass is equipped with a 2.4-liter 16-valve I-4 World engine, and a 2.0-liter 16-valve I-4 World engine is available on the 4x2 Sport.

The Compass' driving experience gets mixed reviews. U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman says that "maneuverability is great, and the smooth ride and solid workmanship leave competitors like the Ford Escape and the Chevy Equinox looking a bit out of shape." The Washington Post writes, "The Compass has excellent urban maneuverability. It's an easy commuter. City parking is a cinch." And the Detroit Free Press also approves of the ride, explaining, "It also corners well and is comfortable and quiet in long highway runs. Brake feel and stopping power are good." However, some have complained about tire noise, including Car and Driver, which says, "At times the booming tire roar made the Compass no quieter than the cargo hold of a 747."

On the minus side, Cars.com asks, "Want a thrilling driving experience? This Jeep doesn't have one, but that's OK; you don't need to peel out at traffic lights if you're driving a Compass." And About.com describes the ride as "frustrating" and "uncomfortable." Automotive.com also explains, "Those who seek softness will find it in the Compass, which usually deals with bumps in the manner of a comfort-oriented car. But even here, a fair amount of quick jolts and side-to-side rocking keep true resiliency out of reach."

Acceleration and Power

The Compass is available in two trims: the Sport and the Limited. The 2007 Jeep Compass is equipped with a 2.4-liter 16-valve I-4 World engine (creating 172 horsepower), and the Sport has a 2.0-liter 16-valve I-4 World engine with 158 horsepower.

Engine power receives mixed reviews. While the Chicago Tribune gives the Compass' 2.4-liter engine a thumbs up, saying that "it boasts plenty of power to keep up with or lead the pack. Even steep inclines didn't give it a case of the droops," the Detroit Free Press warns that "the Compass' 172-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine has its hands full. Acceleration is adequate, but unexciting. Like its stable mate, the Caliber, the Compass would benefit from an extra 20 horsepower."

The 2007 Jeep Compass comes with a five-speed manual transmission; the Sport has a Continuously Variable Transaxle (CVT2), and the Limited has a CVT2 with AutoStick. According to Jeep, the CVT2 uses "a steel-belt push and pulleys instead of gears." According to Consumer Guide, "Manual-transmission versions feel only slightly quicker than those with CVT. One manual-transmission test model suffered ragged clutch action." The Detroit News finds that the "slushy-feeling CVT is not pleasant to use." And Edmunds explains, "Unfortunately, the CVT in the Compass is not one of the better applications of this technology: It frequently holds the engine at high rpm, at which point the four-cylinder's power band has already begun to taper off. The result is sluggish highway acceleration and lots of noise." But New Car Test Drive, already pleased with the engine, notes, "The combination of CVT with six-speed AutoStick is the best of both worlds, and works more precisely than the manual/automatic transmissions in many expensive sports sedans."

According to the EPA, gas mileage for the Jeep Compass 2.4-liter automatic (CVT) 2WD is estimated at 24 mpg (city) and 27 mpg (highway); for the Jeep Compass 4WD automatic (CVT), it's 23 mpg (city) and 26 mpg (highway); for the 4WD (manual), it's 25 mpg (city) and 29 mpg (highway); and for the 2L automatic (CVT), it's 26 mpg (city) and 30 mpg (highway). The Detroit Free Press finds that "the Compass' fuel economy is about the same as comparably equipped versions of the Hyundai Tucson and Ford Escape," and Consumer Guide explains that "fuel economy is good for the class, but the 4-cyl engine feels underpowered and coarse."

Handling and Braking

The Compass' handling capabilities get very mixed reviews. Edmunds notes that "the Compass can be pleasant to drive in town, as its fully independent suspension provides a smooth ride and stable handling around corners," and Cars.com explains that "the Compass handles a lot better than it should." But AutoWeek suggests "unrefined manners to a degree not seen since the unlamented Pontiac Aztek."

Reviewers generally approve of the Compass' braking. Consumer Guide says, "Brakes have good pedal feel," and USA TODAY adds, "Brakes and steering felt about the way you'd want, responsive without being touchy." However, the Cars.com reviewer found that "during one real-life emergency braking maneuver there was significant shudder from the brakes that had me a bit tense. Brake feel in day-to-day driving, however, was solid."


The Compass is the first Jeep not designed for off-roading (not trail-rated). While the Associated Press reports that "this SUV can handle dirt roads and driveways without worry of bottoming out or scraping something underneath," it doesn't appear to get much further. Edmunds notes that this particular Jeep differs from the rest: "It doesn't look rugged, it's not trail-rated, and as far as we know, it doesn't even like dirt." MSN sums it up best by saying, "It's not that you can't take the Compass off-road. It's just that it's not built to be taken too far off-road. The reason for this is a lack of low-range gearing."

Review Last Updated: 5/2/08

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