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2020 Jeep Compass

Performance


#13 out of 15 in Compact SUVs

MSRP
$22,280
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Jeep Compass Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 5.9

The 2020 Jeep Compass is a strong off-roader that's available with an appealing array of trail-friendly upgrades. Its on-pavement manners are mixed. Though it has a comfortable ride, its powertrains are sluggish, and the Compass is not fuel-efficient.

  • "The Compass has a substantial feel to it, and that's a good thing. It more readily absorbs the kind of little bumps that most crossovers transmit straight to the driver." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "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 (2017)
  • "The Compass' road manners … are more mature than the Renegade's; it feels more buttoned down and not quite so playful. I wasn't crazy about the steering; as you move off center, it responds too slowly, then too quickly, like a security guard that has been caught napping." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)

Acceleration and Power

On paved roads, the Compass often feels reluctant and unrefined. It has decent acceleration around town, but getting it up to highway speeds takes an extra beat. The automatic transmissions can take their time to downshift, and fuel economy estimates are below par.

Every model comes with a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual transmission is standard. A six-speed automatic is available in models with front-wheel drive. For models equipped with four-wheel drive, a nine-speed automatic is available.

The Compass gets an estimated 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

  • "This engine is... not great. With 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque attempting to motivate this 3,600-pound SUV, acceleration is sluggish at best. What's more, the nine-speed automatic transmission used here is lazier than a Sunday afternoon. It's slow to downshift when I need power, and way too eager to upshift for the sake of fuel economy. … It'd be easier to forgive the lackluster powertrain if the Compass returned stellar fuel economy, but it doesn't." -- CNET
  • "Acceleration is marginal even if you bury the pedal, with a 0-60 mph time of 10.1 seconds. The 2.4-liter engine doesn't make pleasant sounds under these conditions either. If you go light on the gas pedal, it tends to upshift a gear or two too high, exacerbating the tepid power delivery." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "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 (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Compass has a comfortable ride and is easy to drive. It isn't as smooth as some compact SUVs, however, and its significant amount of body roll and uneven steering feel can be unsettling. Front-wheel drive is standard in every trim but the Trailhawk. Four-wheel drive is available in every trim and standard in the Trailhawk.

Performance-wise, this SUV's biggest advantages are its off-roading abilities. You'll be hard-pressed to find another proficient off-roader at this price point. It's one of the few in its class that's available with four-wheel drive. Compass models equipped with 4WD also come with Selec-Terrain traction management, which has four settings: Auto, Snow, Sand, and Mud. The Trailhawk trim adds a Rock traction setting and has low-range gearing, slightly more ground clearance, and hill descent control.

  • "Now, it's not as cushy or refined as the similarly sized Cherokee, nor as agile as some compact SUV rivals, but it's otherwise confident and secure." -- Autotrader (2019)
  • "The ride is comfortably smooth, even over rough roads, with the suspension and high-profile tires taking the edge off the bumps. The Compass feels surprisingly substantial for a compact SUV." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "Handling isn't the Compass' strong suit, either. I drove it on twisting, forested roads, and while the steering felt light for the first 30 degrees of travel, it firmed up considerably past that, resulting in overall feel that was both too light and too heavy. The Compass is also softly sprung, so while ride quality is good, the Compass tips and tilts in corners, with pronounced body roll. Handling isn't much better, with prominent understeer through corners." -- Cars.com (2017)
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Jeep Compass

MSRP: $22,280 - $30,130

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