New Car Review

2016 Jeep Compass: New Car Review

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Jeep Compass FWD Sport
Used 2016 Jeep Compass
$11,971
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Jeep Compass Latitude
Used 2016 Jeep Compass
$13,699
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Jeep Compass FWD Sport
Used 2016 Jeep Compass
$10,320
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Jeep Compass 4WD Sport
Used 2016 Jeep Compass
$14,500
RELATED READING
See all Jeep Compass articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2016

Surely it's time for the 2016 Jeep Compass to slip silently away. It was one of the original compact crossovers, but it has since been overtaken by virtually all of the competition -- even competition from the same marque. As an entry-level model, the 2016 Jeep Renegade is more modern, has comparable space, and can still lay claim to some Jeep-like off-road talent. As a less grand version of the Grand Cherokee (which the Compass' styling tries to emulate), we have the actual 2016 Jeep Cherokee.

This leaves the Compass in a niche that no one needs. Sure, it has Jeep's trail-rated all-wheel-drive capability with the optional Freedom Drive II package. But how many compact crossovers really go off-roading? Most enthusiasts would get a Wrangler.

What's New for 2016?

The top Limited trim is no more, leaving the Sport and Latitude trims with reorganized equipment inventories. The Sport trim gets Bluetooth and satellite radio and offers an SE cosmetic package. The Latitude trim now has automatic headlights as standard.

What We Like

Reasonable base price; respectable off-road capability with Freedom Drive II

What We Don't

Unrefined engines; old-fashioned drum brakes on lower trims; questionable resale value

How Much?

$20,590-$24,890

Fuel Economy

The base engine is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder making 158 horsepower and 141 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive is the only setup with this engine. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard, while a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optional. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel consumption for the front-drive/manual configuration at 23 miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg combined. With the CVT, it's 22 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined.

A 2.4-liter 4-cylinder is optional for front-drive versions in both trim levels but standard when all-wheel drive is specified. It develops 172 hp and 165 lb-ft of torque and is paired with a CVT transmission as standard. Or there's a conventional planetary-geared 6-speed automatic transmission available -- or there's a special CVT (with a crawl mode in place of low-range gearing) as part of the all-wheel-drive Freedom Drive II package.

Fuel consumption for the front-drive/6-speed automatic setup is 21 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined. When we get to all-wheel drive and the 6-speed automatic transmission, the upshot is 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy/22 mpg combined. With the CVT/Freedom Drive II arrangement, it's only 20 mpg city/23 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Jeep Compass is available in Sport or Latitude trim levels.

The Sport ($20,590) trim starts with 16-inch alloy wheels (with the 2.0-liter engine) or 17-in alloy wheels (with all-wheel drive), fog lights, cruise control, hill-start assist, air conditioning, a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, hand-crank windows, heated power-folding mirrors, illuminated cupholders, Bluetooth and a 4-speaker audio system with satellite radio and an auxiliary audio input.

The optional Sport SE package includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, heated cloth-mesh front seats, 18-in alloy wheels, roof rails, a chrome exhaust tip and a Sport SE badge.

The Latitude ($24,890) trim has some of the Sport SE features and adds automatic headlamps, heated cloth front seats, a driver's-seat height adjuster, 60/40 rear-seat reclining, power windows and door locks, keyless/illuminated entry, remote starting and a 115-volt power outlet.

A High Altitude package, available on the Latitude model, includes leather-trimmed seats, a power 6-way driver's seat, a power sunroof, 18-in chromed alloy wheels and all-season tires.

The Freedom Drive I all-wheel-drive system adds all-season reassurance for paved roads, while Freedom Drive II has simulated low-range gearing, skid plates, an oil cooler and other off-road-oriented driving aids.

Other options include a sunroof, a touchscreen infotainment interface with digital music storage, navigation, a USB port, a rearview camera and a Premium Sound Group 9-speaker audio system (with flip-down tailgate speakers).

Safety

Standard safety equipment includes anti-lock brakes with 4-wheel discs on all-wheel-drive models and inferior rear drums on front-wheel-drive models (except the Limited front-wheel-drive), stability control and six airbags (front, front-side and full-length side-curtain).

In government crash tests, the Compass was awarded three stars out of five stars for front impacts and four stars in the rollover test. It's not rated for the side-impact test. All the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has on record is a top score of Good for head restraints and seats and Acceptable (second-best) for child-seat anchors.

Behind the Wheel

Neither engine accelerates well; both are rather crude and loud. The 6-speed automatic is more satisfying than the CVT, but a heavy throttle still makes more noise than progress.

The steering is vague and slow to respond, with lots of play in the wheel. Ride quality is unrefined. Interior appointments are similarly unimpressive. The Compass has some neat Jeep-ish features but doesn't make you want to take the long way home. If you opt for Freedom Drive II, you might like driving the car, but that means being stuck with the CVT.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Jeep Renegade -- The Renegade is far more contemporary, but it still has Jeep attributes. If the size fits, you should give this model some serious thought.

2016 Honda CR-V -- One of the best all-rounders, the CR-V is somewhat of a conservative choice.

2016 Mazda CX-5 -- The CX-5 is one of the most rewarding compact crossovers to drive on pavement, and its fuel economy puts the Compass to shame.

2016 Subaru Forester -- For those wanting all-wheel drive to tackle bad weather, the Forester could be a great choice.

Used Jeep Grand Cherokee -- Why go for a pale imitation? Surely the Grand Cherokee was what you wanted all along.

Autotrader's Advice

The Freedom Drive II off-road package is about all there is to recommend the Compass. In all honesty, there are so many better alternatives.

Find a Jeep Compass for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Jeep Compass FWD Sport
Used 2016 Jeep Compass
$11,971
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Jeep Compass Latitude
Used 2016 Jeep Compass
$13,699
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Jeep Compass FWD Sport
Used 2016 Jeep Compass
$10,320
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Jeep Compass 4WD Sport
Used 2016 Jeep Compass
$14,500
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Jeep Compass: New Car Review - Autotrader