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2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross vs. 2021 Jeep Compass: Which Is Better?

Among compact SUVs, the 2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is an urban runabout, while the 2021 Jeep Compass shines once the pavement ends. Which is better?

Quick Facts

  • Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross offers optional all-wheel drive on all trims.
  • Jeep Compass Trailhawk brings serious boulder-bashing ability.
  • Eclipse Cross will be redesigned for the 2022 model year.

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse CrossBase price: $24,335 / Read our 2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Review  

What we like: Great warranty; optional all-wheel drive; smooth engine

What we would change: Rear visibility is poor; there’s only one engine/transmission choice; rear legroom is tight

Overview: The compact Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross comes into 2021 unchanged, with a full redesign on the horizon for the 2022 model year. The single engine choice is a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder, but its low-end torque provides enough oomph to get the Eclipse Cross around. Combine that with confident steering and a short wheelbase and the 2021 Eclipse Cross makes for a nice city vehicle. One demerit, however, is that its sloped roof and high beltline make for somewhat limited visibility, although the SEL trim offers a rear camera. That sloped roof also cuts into cargo space. Inside the Eclipse Cross is comfortable, with plenty of options that include a panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, and an optional upgraded infotainment system. Standard features include a 7-inch audio screen and a front USB port, although Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not available until you reach a higher trim. Some driver aids that are fairly standard nowadays are also not available until you reach the higher trim levels. Resale values have not typically been strong for the Eclipse Cross, but buyers may take solace in its 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty.

What’s new for 2021: With the Eclipse Cross facing a redesign for the 2022 model year, Mitsubishi skipped the 2021 model year entirely, simply continuing to offer the 2020 version. We’re hoping for better rear visibility and more driver-assist and safety features across all trims.

Features and technology: Every 2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which sends power to the front wheels via a CVT. All-wheel drive is optional on all four trim levels, however. The base ES trim comes with automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 7-inch audio screen, power windows, 16-inch wheels, and a front USB port. The next step up LE adds 18-inch wheels, heated front seats, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto as well as Sirius/XM satellite radio.

The SE brings in safety features such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and a blind-spot warning system. It also includes chrome grille accents, nicer seat fabric, push-button start, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The top-level SEL gets paddle shifters, LED headlights, leather seats, an 8-way power-adjustable driver seat, and a head-up display. A Touring package can also be added to the SEL which includes a power panoramic sunroof, an upgrade Rockford Fosgate audio system, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and roof rails.

What does the future hold: Mitsubishi is introducing a redesigned Eclipse Cross for the 2022 model year. Find a 2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross for sale near you 

2021 Jeep Compass

2021 Jeep Compass Front 3q LeftBase price: $25,390 / Read our 2021 Jeep Compass Review 

What we like: True off-road ability; cargo space; rugged looks; lots of options and packages; great rear-seat space.

What we would change: Add an upgrade engine option; offer an adjustable suspension for city use; offer an optional manual transmission.

Overview: With its rugged looks and legitimate off-road ability, the 2021 Jeep Compass is the outdoorsman of the compact crossover segment. However, that suspension that works so well outside also makes for a bit of a rough ride, with the passengers feeling every bump in the road. The Compass only includes a single engine choice whose power is adequate to move it around, but we’d still prefer an optional upgrade engine. Inside, the Jeep is quite roomy, with the rear seats offering more legroom than some midsize sedans and a usable 60 cubic feet of space for cargo with all seats folded. Standard features include a 7-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration as well as Bluetooth. Unfortunately, some driver aids are not available in the base model. The top tier Trailhawk is a boulder basher, with an off-road suspension, low-range gearing, skid plates, and the Selec-Terrain system that adapts to different surfaces.

What’s new for 2021: Changes are relatively minimal for the 2021 Jeep Compass. Most notably, there is no longer a manual transmission option. On the safety front, the Limited and Trailhawk trims now include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, and rear parking sensors among other things. Those were previously available as options only. In honor of Jeep’s history, there is also an 80th Anniversary Edition, based on the Latitude trim.

Features and technology: With a single engine choice and either front-wheel or all-wheel drive (except on the Trailhawk, which comes with all-wheel drive), the 2021 Compass is offered in five trim levels. The base Sport trim includes a 7-inch infotainment system, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, and a 6-speaker audio system. Next up is the Latitude trim, which includes keyless entry and ignition, 17-inch alloy wheels, cornering foglights, and a 6-month subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio. Based on the Latitude, the 80th Anniversary Edition adds leather upholstery, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, 19-inch alloy wheels, a power-adjustable driver seat, navigation, and a 115-volt outlet.

Above that, the more comforting Limited trim includes different driver and safety aids, 18-inch wheels, heated front seats, and rain-sensing wipers. The real off-roader is the Trailhawk, which includes an off-road suspension, Active Drive all-wheel drive with low-range gearing, Selec-Terrain with Rock mode, all-terrain tires, and front and rear skid plates.

What does the future hold: Jeep built its reputation with rugged off-roaders, but as the compact crossover class increasingly includes on-road suburban vehicles, we would like to see Jeep offer a trim with a more compliant suspension for city use. Given its weight, the engine could also use more power or an optional upgrade engine. Find a 2021 Jeep Compass for sale near you

Eclipse Cross vs. Compass: Strengths comparison

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Benefits: Fuel economy; smoother ride; higher safety rating; longer warranty

Jeep Compass Benefits: More cargo space; better head- and legroom; off-road ability; more powerful engine

2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross vs. 2021 Jeep Compass: Which is better?

There is no question that if you spend your weekends taking to dirt trails and campsites, then the 2021 Jeep Compass is the best choice here. But beware that with that off-road agility comes a much more bumpy city ride. That said, however, it’s our pick for a lot of practical reasons, mainly its plentiful room for cargo and passengers, its ample standard features, and its distinctive looks. Just make sure you test-drive one first. Find a 2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross for sale or Find a 2021 Jeep Compass for sale

2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 2021 Jeep Compass
Popular Powertrains
Engine 1.5-liter turbo I4 2.4-liter I4
Horsepower 152 hp @ 5,500 rpm 180 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque 184 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm 175 lb-ft @ 3,900 rpm
Transmission Continuously variable 6-spd automatic
Fuel Economy 27 mpg (26 city/29 highway) 25 mpg (22 city/31 highway)
Also Available n/a 9-spd automatic
Basic warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 Stars 4 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 105.1 inches 103.8 inches
Overall Length 173.4 inches 173.0 inches
Width 71.1 inches 73.8 inches
Height 66.3 inches 64.6 inches
Turning Diameter 35.0 feet 36.3 feet
Headroom, Front 39.5 inches 39.2 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.3 inches 38.5 inches
Legroom, Front 40.9 inches 41.8 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.3 inches 38.3 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.2 inches 56.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.1 inches 55.1 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 94.6 cubic feet 100 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume 48.9 cubic feet 59.8 cubic feet

Doug Lloyd
Doug Lloyd
Doug Lloyd is an author specializing in comparison tests. A veteran of the automotive press world, Doug started at Sports Car International and Vintage Motorsport magazines and has worked at both Porsche Panorama magazine and Doug is also a jazz piano player and a composer for television.

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