$14,779 - $23,685

2017 Jeep Compass Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Jeep Compass was new.


Performance: 7.0

The redesigned 2017 Jeep Compass is fine for daily driving, and its suspension handles imperfections in the road with little drama. However, its acceleration is weak and passing cars on the highway can be a challenge. The Compass' four-wheel-drive systems give it great off-roading abilities and allow it to tackle a variety of terrains. It earns average fuel economy for the class.

  • Simply put, despite its size, the Compass does not feel small, lithe or nimble as do many competitors. If planted, stable and slow are more your speed, the Compass will be more your style." -- Cars.com
  • Based on a stretched version of the Renegade platform, this new SUV is more Giuseppe than Jeep, though you may have noticed by now that most Fiat Chrysler products are getting more Italian as the years go by. That's not to say it's an unfavorable quality, but the tight ride and steering definitely feel more Fiat than anything." -- New York Daily News

Acceleration and Power

The Compass comes standard with a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic and a nine-speed automatic transmission are available. An engine stop-start system is also available

The Compass is fine for everyday driving, but it has sluggish acceleration and struggles to get up to passing and highway speeds. Additionally, the nine-speed automatic is slow to downshift, but the six-speed automatic shifts smoothly.

The front-wheel-drive Jeep Compass with the manual transmission gets 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. With the automatic transmission, it gets 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway – it gets these same estimates with four-wheel drive and the manual transmission. With the automatic transmission and four-wheel drive, it gets 22/30 mpg. These estimates are about average for the class.

  • Although the engine's weak top end and the transmission's hesitancy to downshift meant the Compass labored to pass traffic at highway speeds, the powertrain was a fine companion at slower paces. Relatively short lower gears in the nine-speed help the Compass feel eager off the line. Still, don't bank on it being particularly speedy; consider that the quickest Jeep Renegade we've tested with this engine yielded a zero-to-60-mph time of 8.8 seconds while a heavier, off-road-oriented Renegade Trailhawk needed 9.2." -- Car and Driver
  • "The problem comes when trying to gain speed for passing. With the 9-speed automatic – which is fitted to all 4WD models that don't have the 6-speed manual – there's often a long delay after flooring the throttle before the transmission downshifts to a lower gear for more power. This is something we've noticed in other Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep vehicles fitted with this transmission, so it comes as no big surprise." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Acceleration is anemic, though there's a decent amount of torque right off the bat. Power output figures of 180 horsepower and 175 lb.-ft. are enough to get the job done, but this SUV could do with some help from a turbocharger, and the 9-speed is just confused when mated to an engine with such a small power output. It shifts smoothly in relaxed driving, but when pushed, takes seemingly seconds to decide what gear to be in, and even when it's chosen, the passing power just isn't quite there." -- New York Daily News

Handling and Braking

The Compass comes standard with front-wheel drive in its base Sport model and Latitude model. Four-wheel drive is available in these models and standard in the Trailhawk and Limited models. The Trailhawk 4WD system comes with low-range mode for increased off-roading capabilities. The Compass has comfortable handling with little body lean. It takes bumps and dips in the road with only minor disturbances. It handles off-roading very well and models with 4WD come with Selec-Terrain Traction Control, which lets you choose from four different driving modes: Auto, Snow, Sport, and Sand/Mud.

  • "Although most owners will probably never come close to maxing out the off-road limits of any 4WD Compass, a rough-trail excursion in a string of Trailhawks really showcased what 'Trail Rated' means. Through mud and over rocks, hills, and wildly undulating surfaces, we went places we only ventured because the vehicle in front of us had already made it through. Jeep says the Compass has 'class-leading off-road capability,' and nothing in this demonstration made us question that claim." -- Consumer Guide
  • Steering is on par with the segment—slightly numb with little feedback, though accurate and responsive." -- Motor Trend
  • "While the Compass may not be entertaining on the road, it shines as soon as the pavement ends. I drove Latitude and Trailhawk models, and the Trailhawk is definitely the one to have. An additional inch of lift to its suspension smooths out the ride on washboard dirt roads astonishingly well, and the way the four-wheel-drive system electronically sets all aspects of the powertrain to match the terrain is likewise astonishing." -- Cars.com

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