$9,155 - $12,353

2013 Jeep Compass Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Jeep Compass was new.


Performance: 6.0

Reviewers agree that the 2013 Jeep Compass isn’t powerful or refined enough to compete with top-ranked affordable compact SUVs. Critics note that the Compass’ mediocre handling and ride quality do little to enhance the driving experience. While a choice of available four-wheel drive systems can make the Compass more capable than most crossovers in treacherous conditions, most test drivers agree that other off-road SUVs perform better when the pavement ends.

  • "As a serious off-road vehicle, the Jeep Compass isn't our first (or even second) choice. As a daily driver, the Compass doesn't fare much better." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "Despite improvements for 2011, Compass remains one of the louder vehicles in its class. Wind rush is decently squelched, but road noise is fairly prominent, especially at highway speeds. An unrefined engine growl intrudes during acceleration." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "Notable weaknesses remain, including lackluster powertrains that fall short in terms of acceleration, fuel economy and overall refinement." -- Edmunds (2012) 

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Jeep Compass comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 158 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive come standard, while a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and four-wheel drive are optional. A 172-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is optional on lower trims and standard on all 4WD and Limited models. The EPA reports that the 2013 Compass gets up to 23/30 mpg city/highway, which is comparable to the fuel economy of SUVs like the GMC Terrain and Subaru XV Crosstrek.

When it comes to power and acceleration, most test drivers agree that the 2013 Compass falls short of their expectations. They say that the Compass could use more power, even with the larger engine, and that highway passing and merging can be a daunting task. One reviewer also writes that the CVT is noisy and that acceleration is even worse with it.

  • "The 2013 Jeep Compass offers a choice of two 4-cylinder engines, neither of which strikes us as terribly refined or powerful. The larger 2.4-liter engine would be our first choice delivering decent acceleration and fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "Only CVT-equipped AWD versions have been available for us to test so far. Those Compasses have adequate power away from a stop and around town, but modest reserve power demands careful planning before passing or highway merging." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "When it comes to drivability, the 2012 Jeep Compass' performance is hampered by its powertrains. Even the larger 2.4-liter four-cylinder delivers lackluster acceleration, especially when mated to the noisy CVT." -- Edmunds (2012) 
  • "There's still not much acceleration to be had, but the 0-60 mph time did drop a half a second for 2011 and now takes about 10.5 seconds." -- Automobile Magazine (2011)

Handling and Braking

One reviewer writes that the 2013 Compass offers composed handling, as well as steering that feels connected to the road, but others say that the Compass’ ride and handling are only adequate. Additionally, one critic notes that a large turning radius makes the Compass less maneuverable than he would like.

  • "Of course, the beauty of a car-based crossover is its on-road composure, and both the steering and suspension of the 2013 Jeep Compass provide decent connectivity to the road." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "While Compass rides slightly lower than most compact SUVs, it feels no more nimble. A large turning circle hurts close-quarters maneuverability." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "The suspension gives the trucklette ride and handling qualities that are just passable." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "We were very surprised by how much more responsive the Compass is on a twisting road -- don't expect driving dynamics anywhere near a Grand Cherokee, but the Compass now inspires confidence instead of fear when you turn the wheel." -- Automobile Magazine (2011)


The 2013 Compass is available with two four-wheel drive systems that can enhance its off-road ability. Freedom Drive I operates much like the all-wheel drive systems found in affordable crossovers, while Freedom Drive II adds low-range gearing, as well as all-terrain tires, skid plates and tow hooks. Most reviewers agree that while models equipped with Freedom Drive II are the most trail-worthy, other off-road SUVs offer better capability.

  • "As a commuter vehicle sometimes tossed into foul-weather conditions, the Compass is fine. But as a serious off-roader, it just doesn't live up to the Jeep name." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "Should you be looking for some off-roading potential, the Nissan Xterra would be a more capable choice." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "The result is a surprisingly capable Compass. On a test drive outside Jackson, Wyoming, the Compass was able to keep up with the rest of the Jeep lineup on moderately difficult snow-covered trails that saw steep descents, rocky riverbeds, and muddy hill climbs, even if it had to make a few runs at some obstacles." -- Motor Trend (2011)

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