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2021 Jeep Compass Review

The 2021 Jeep Compass is one of our lowest-ranked compact SUVs. While it has fantastic off-road capability, it's held back by an underpowered engine and a below-average predicted reliability rating.

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent off-roader
  • Adult-friendly seats
  • User-friendly infotainment features
  • Weak engine and so-so handling
  • Limited standard safety tech
  • Below-average cargo room
  • Subpar predicted reliability rating

New for 2021

  • Shuffled features for Limited and Trailhawk trims
  • 80th Anniversary Edition introduced
  • Manual transmission no longer available

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Jeep Compass's #14 ranking is based on its score within the Compact SUVs category. Currently the Jeep Compass has a score of 6.7 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 26 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

6.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 6.5
Performance: 5.7
Interior: 7.0
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 8.8 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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Is the Jeep Compass a Good SUV?

The Jeep Compass is not a very good compact SUV. It has significant body roll through corners, limited steering feedback, and tepid acceleration. This compact crossover also has below-average fuel economy ratings, one of the smallest cargo capacities in the class, and fewer standard safety features than many rivals. This vehicle isn’t all bad, however. It’s a strong off-roader with adult-friendly seating and an easy-to-use infotainment system.

Why You Can Trust Us: 26 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 26 Jeep Compass reviews, as well as performance specs, interior dimensions, fuel economy ratings, and more, to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

This 2021 Compass review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2017.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Jeep Compass?

If you're looking for a small off-road vehicle, the Jeep Compass merits consideration. It has a more affordable starting price than the Jeep Wrangler and more passenger space than the Jeep Renegade. However, there are more well-rounded vehicles available. For example, the Honda CR-V has a nicer interior than the Compass, while the Ford Escape delivers a more engaging ride.

Find a 2021 Jeep Compass for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Jeep Compass: What's the Difference?

For the 2021 model year, Jeep discontinues the six-speed manual transmission, shuffles some features for the Compass' Limited and Trailhawk trims, and introduces the 80th Anniversary Edition.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Compass »

Here are the key changes for the Jeep Compass over the last few years:

  • 2017: fully redesigned with updated interior, improved fuel economy, and more horsepower
  • 2018: no major changes
  • 2019: gained standard 7-inch touch screen and available adaptive cruise control; Upland limited edition joined lineup; High Altitude appearance package added to options list
  • 2020: base trim gained available advanced safety features
  • 2021: manual transmission discontinued; 80th Anniversary Edition debuts

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Compass, 2019 Compass, and 2020 Compass reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Jeep Compass Cost?

The 2021 Compass starts at $23,895, which is on par with the starting prices of several class rivals. The midlevel Latitude and Limited trims start at $26,140 and $29,540, respectively. The top-of-the-line Trailhawk trim starts at $31,040.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

Jeep Compass Versus the Competition

Jeep Compass vs. Jeep Renegade

The Jeep Renegade is a subcompact SUV that shares the same platform as the Compass. These two Jeeps have a few other things in common, including great off-road capability, similar gas mileage estimates, and low predicted reliability ratings. There are some notable differences, however. The Compass has more passenger and cargo space, but the Renegade delivers a more balanced ride and offers a stronger turbocharged engine. Those who prioritize performance will likely prefer the Renegade, while shoppers who need additional space should stick with the Compass.

Compare the Compass and Renegade »

Jeep Compass vs. Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V lacks the Compass’ off-road capability and generous list of standard infotainment features, but it does nearly everything else better. The CR-V delivers a smoother ride on the pavement, with more-responsive steering and less body lean around corners than the Compass. The Honda also boasts better gas mileage estimates, a higher predicted reliability rating, and more standard safety tech such as lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlights (all of which are optional in the Compass). Unless off-roading is a high priority, pick the CR-V over the Compass.

Compare the Compass and CR-V »

Compare the Compass, Renegade, and CR-V »

Compass Interior: Roomy Seating, but Below-Average Cargo Space

Compass Cargo Space

The Compass has 27.2 cubic feet of cargo room behind its rear seats. Folding down the rear seats expands the cargo area to 59.8 cubic feet. That's below average for a compact SUV. Still, the cargo area is wide, and there's a decent amount of small-item storage. A power liftgate is available in the Limited and Trailhawk trims.

How Many People Does the Compass Seat?

The Compass has adult-friendly seating in both rows, with room for up to five people. The seats are fairly supportive, but the cushions are on the firm side. Visibility out the front of the vehicle is good, but rear visibility is hindered by chunky roof pillars. The available panoramic sunroof may cut into headroom for taller folks.

Compass and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat.

Compass Interior Quality

The standard Compass' handsome cabin is well built, but the quality of its materials is just OK. You can spend more to add nicer cabin materials like leather upholstery.

Compass Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Jeep's Uconnect infotainment system is known for being user-friendly. Crisp graphics make it easy to see the touch screen, which is responsive and features well-arranged menus. You'll also find physical controls for audio and climate functions, which is a welcome addition for the driver. Last but not least, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, six speakers, voice recognition, Bluetooth, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto
  • Available infotainment features: an 8.4-inch touch screen, a nine-speaker Alpine audio system, navigation, and HD Radio
  • Additional standard features: remote keyless entry
  • Other available features: remote start and a panoramic sunroof

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Compass Performance: Shines Off the Pavement; Lacks On-Road Engagement

Compass Engine

This Jeep is slow to accelerate, thanks in part to its sluggish 180-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard in models with front-wheel drive, while four-wheel-drive models get a nine-speed automatic. Both transmissions tend to hunt for the correct gear.

Compass Gas Mileage

Compass models with front-wheel drive get an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, which is marginally below the class average. Opting for a four-wheel-drive model gets you nearly identical figures: 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

Compass Ride and Handling

When it comes to ride quality on the pavement, the Compass is lacking. While its ride is mostly comfortable, this Jeep suffers from pronounced body lean and poor steering feedback.

Compass Off-Road Performance

The Compass' off-road capability is where this Jeep stands out. While most of the competition offers all-wheel drive, the Compass is one of the few compact SUVs to offer four-wheel drive. Full-time 4WD and a Selec-Terrain management system, which includes Auto, Snow, Sand, and Mud settings, are available in the first three trims. The top-of-the-line Trailhawk trim comes standard with an upgraded four-wheel-drive system that includes low-range gearing and adds a Rock traction setting. The Trackhawk trim also comes with an off-road suspension, hill descent control, extra skid plates, and two tow hooks.

Read more about performance »

Compass Reliability

Is the Jeep Compass Reliable?

The 2021 Jeep Compass has a below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five.

Jeep Compass Warranty

The Jeep Compass is covered by a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Compass Safety

Compass Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Compass an overall safety rating of four out of five stars. The Compass received five stars in the side crash test, four stars in the frontal crash test, and three stars in the rollover test.

At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2021 Compass. However, the IIHS gave the similar 2020 model the highest rating of Good in all six crash safety tests.

Compass Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

Read more about safety »

Compass Dimensions and Weight

The Compass is about 14.4 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,184 to 3,633 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Jeep Compass Built?

Jeep builds the 2021 Compass in Brazil, China, India, Italy, and Mexico.

Which Jeep Compass Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Jeep Compass comes in four main trims: Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk. The Sport is a solid pick because it comes with ample comfort and infotainment features. If you're looking for more safety tech, however, you'll have to step up to at least the Latitude trim. It's available with a Driver Assistance Group package that adds features like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.

The Limited and Trailhawk trims come with every available safety feature. You'll have to opt for the range-topping Trailhawk trim to get the most off-road components, including standard four-wheel drive. You can add 4WD to the other trims for an additional $1,500.

Jeep Compass Sport

The Jeep Compass Sport (MSRP: $23,895) comes with cloth upholstery, six-way manually adjustable front seats, a rearview camera, and remote keyless entry. A Uconnect infotainment system is also standard and includes a 7-inch touch screen, six speakers, voice recognition, Bluetooth, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

A few packages are available that add features like navigation, heated front seats, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, and remote start.

Jeep Compass Latitude

Starting at $26,140, the Latitude trim gains satellite radio, a leather-wrapped shift knob, vinyl and cloth upholstery, and proximity keyless entry.

Based on the Latitude trim, the Jeep Altitude starts at $27,560 and adds black interior and exterior accents. Also based on the Latitude trim, the new-for-2021 80th Anniversary Edition starts at $28,195 and comes with special-edition leather-trimmed seats, Light Tungsten interior stitching, and an upgraded infotainment system with an 8.4-inch touch screen.

The Driver Assistance Group package costs $1,395 and adds adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Several other packages are available. They add features like an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote start, a panoramic sunroof, and a nine-speaker Alpine premium audio system.

Jeep Compass Limited

The Limited trim starts at $29,540. It includes all the features in the Driver Assistance Group package, plus leather upholstery, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, remote start, and an 8.4-inch touch screen.

You can also add an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, driver's seat memory settings, ventilated front seats, a power liftgate, a nine-speaker Alpine premium audio system, navigation, and HD Radio.

Jeep Compass Trailhawk

The Trailhawk trim (MSRP: $31,040) has several off-road features, including the Jeep Active Drive Low four-wheel-drive system that adds low-range gearing, hill descent control, an off-road suspension, extra skid plates, and two tow hooks.

Packages are available that add things like eight-way power-adjustable front seats, heated front seats, driver's seat memory settings, ventilated front seats, a nine-speaker Alpine premium audio system, navigation, HD Radio, remote start, a panoramic sunroof, and a power liftgate.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

See 2021 Jeep Compass specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Jeep Compass boasts great off-road prowess, an easy-to-use infotainment interface, and plenty of room for adults throughout the cabin. Yet its many downsides – including a subpar predicted reliability rating, slow acceleration, and below-average cargo space – hold it back compared to the rest of the compact SUV class.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2021 Jeep Compass small SUV has a lot in its favor. It comes reasonably well equipped with a standard 7-in infotainment touchscreen and is generally pleasant to drive." -- Autotrader
  • "The Compass isn't as quick or as fuel-efficient as some other small SUVs, and interior cargo space is a little lacking. But overall we think you'll find the Compass an agreeable pick, especially if you go for the Trailhawk version. Think of the Compass as Grand Cherokee Lite." -- Edmunds
  • "When it comes to features, comfort and overall driving experience, the Compass rates about middle of the road. On a positive note, the Compass can venture off-road, offers more personalization choices than the competition and has that rugged mini-Grand Cherokee appeal. However, the Compass isn’t as reliable nor does it hold its resale value as well as the Honda HR-V, Subaru Crosstrek or Nissan Rogue Sport." -- Kelley Blue Book (2020)
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