If you’re looking for information on a newer Jeep Compass, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Jeep Compass Review
This all-new generation of Compass is actually built on the same platform as the pint-size Renegade, but is stretched so that rear legroom and cargo space are both greater. Look at the Compass with squinted eyes and you might even find that it’s reminiscent of the larger Grand Cherokee. The roof line, however, is lower than the Renegade’s, although headroom is still acceptable.
The 2017 Compass replaces both the previous Compass and the Patriot models. Some first-generation versions are still available (also as 2017 models). These are no different from the 2016 iterations. It was difficult to recommend those earlier vehicles on any grounds other than price, but the new Compass has a lot more working in its favor. Not least of which is a more upscale cabin, along with generally pleasing driving manners.
What’s New for 2017?
An all-new generation for this model year See the 2017 Jeep Compass models for sale near you
What We Like
Unmistakeable Jeep styling; smart packaging; off-road-ready Trailhawk version
What We Don’t
The standard engine is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder unit developing 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. It has a stop/start feature to save a little gas when idling. The default transmission is a 6-speed manual in the lower trims, while a 6-speed automatic is the alternative for front-drive versions. All-wheel-drive models offer a 9-speed automatic transmission (making the Compass the only small crossover with that many ratios).
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption for a front-drive/manual setup at 23 miles per gallon in the city, 32 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in combined driving. The front-drive/automatic configuration returns 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined.
All-wheel-drive versions achieve 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined with the manual transmission, or 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined when using the automatic.
Standard Features & Options
The 2017 Jeep Compass small 5-seater crossover comes in Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk trim levels. Limited and Trailhawk have all-wheel drive and the 9-speed automatic transmission as standard.
The all-wheel-drive variants of Sport, Latitude and Limited come with a basic terrain response system, while the Trailhawk version has a more sophisticated version, plus low-range gearing for its transmission and a crawl mode.
Sport ($21,035) comes with 16-inch steel wheels, push-button start, cruise control, black door handles, heated side mirrors, air conditioning, USB port, auxiliary audio input, 6-way manually adjustable front seats, tilt/telescope steering wheel, 6-speaker audio system, 5-in touchscreen, hill-start assist, rearview camera and trailer sway control.
Latitude ($25,435) brings 17-in alloy wheels, body color door handles, automatic headlamps, fog lamps, roof rails, ambient LED cabin lighting, leather-wrapped steering wheel and cloth/simulated leather upholstery. There’s no front-drive/manual transmission version of this trim level.
Trailhawk ($29,690) has a more off-road-appropriate suspension with greater travel, higher ride height, dedicated front and rear fascia, hill descent control, 17-in alloy wheels, skid plates (to protect the undersides of various components), tow hooks (two at the front, one at the back) and all-season on/off-road tires, dual-zone automatic climate control, 115-volt power outlet, satellite radio and an 8.5-in touchscreen.
Limited ($30,090) is back to the more usual road-going setup, adding 18-in alloy wheels, self-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, heated front seats, 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and a heated steering wheel.
Options include a powered tailgate, high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, sunroof (not eligible in Sport trim), 19-in alloy wheels (Limited trim only), rain-sensing wipers, 9-speaker Beats audio system, navigation, 8.5-in touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision mitigation, lane-departure warning, parking sensors and remote start. Some equipment in the Limited trim may also be ordered for lower trim levels.
Cargo capacity runs to 27.2 cu ft. with the rear seats in place, or 59.8 cu ft. when they’re folded down. The front passenger seat also folds down for some extra hauling versatility.
Towing capacity is 2,000 pounds when fitted with a Trailer Tow package, for which only the all-wheel-drive versions — in Latitude trim or upward — are eligible.
Standard safety features anti-lock disc brakes, traction/stability control with rollover protection and seven airbags (including one for the driver’s knees). More money must be spent to have things such as a rearview camera and forward-collision mitigation.
This generation of Compass has yet to be crash tested by any agencies in the United States.
Behind the Wheel
The engine’s output of 180 hp could be described as "modest." The whole experience is pleasant and fairly hushed, rather than thrilling or cosseting. But that’s still a big improvement over the old Compass and should work for most potential buyers. And it has that all-important elevated driving position.
Thanks to the Jeep approach, where every vehicle that bears its name should go at least some way into the wild, the Compass — in its most extreme Trailhawk form — enjoys ground clearance of 8.5 inches, an approach angle of 30.3 degrees, a breakover angle of 24.4 degrees and a departure angle of 33.6 degrees. These are pretty good figures for something that still works well on the street.
Other Cars to Consider
2017 Subaru Forester — All-wheel drive comes as standard, and the Forester is tough, spacious and practical.
2017 Jeep Renegade — If the extra space of the Compass is not required, the less expensive Renegade is still attractive in its own way.
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport — Interesting from a cost/space/equipment perspective, but relatively ancient.
2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack — Essentially, a Golf wagon with a raised suspension and all-wheel drive. It also has a pleasant interior and refined driving manners.
Used Honda CR-V — Admittedly, there’s no rugged, Jeep-like coolness to the CR-V. But if anyone is looking for a good, reliable, used compact crossover, this does the job. A certified pre-owned (CPO) version comes with a decent warranty.
A logical choice would be the Latitude trim, perhaps with a few options. Going for something more expensive brings us closer to Jeep Cherokee territory.