The Jeep Compass is built like a car and drives like a car, but it has the kind of versatility and capability associated with a small SUV. It's available in two trim levels and with two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and delivers commendable fuel economy.
The Compass is available with a choice of two engines. The standard engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 16 valves, electronic variable valve timing that continually optimizes the torque curve, and balance shafts. It delivers 172 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque. With two-wheel drive it is EPA-rated at 23 mpg City, 28 mpg Highway with the manual transmission and 21/25 with the CVT automatic. New is a 2.0-liter 16-valve four-cylinder, also with variable valve timing and balance shafts, with 158 horsepower and 141 pound-feet of torque. With two-wheel drive it is EPA-rated at 23/29 mpg with the manual transmission and 23/27 with the CVT automatic.
The Jeep Compass offers an optional continuously variable transaxle, or CVT, which performs like an automatic transmission. The CVT comes with the Auto Stick manual shiftgate feature. The Auto Stick enables the driver to shift up and down over six preset gear ratios, making it feel like a six-speed gearbox without a clutch pedal.
The Compass rides and handles more like a car than an SUV and it offers plenty of safety features. It has a strong steel structure and a well-planned subframe. Side-curtain airbags and electronic stability control with anti-rollover sensors are standard.
Inside, the instruments and controls are well placed and easy to use. There's good interior space all around, with rear seats that fold flat to make about 54 cubic feet of cargo space. Options for added versatility include reclining rear seats and a passenger front seat that also folds flat, creating either a table or eight-foot-long space for storage. While the interior design is nice, it is largely plastic and doesn't offer a rich or warm feel. Power windows and power door locks are optional.
The few changes for 2010 are active head restraints for the front seats and a couple of changes to some options packages.