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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2010 Jeep Compass Review

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2010 Jeep Compass

See Also: Jeep Buyers Guide
See Also: E-Carmony: Is The 2010 Jeep Compass Your Perfect Match?


By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

The Compass made waves when it entered the auto market three years ago as the first Jeep not meant (meaning not equipped with Jeep’s trail-rated 4WD systems) to tackle serious off-road adventure. The real focus on his 5-passenger compact crossover it is that it features two-fuel saving engines, the cargo functionality of a utility vehicle and costs a lot less than most class competitors. I drove a 2010 Jeep Compass in the top-of-the-line Limited trim with 4WD and the 172-horsepower 2.4-liter DOCH World Engine with 165 lb-ft of torque. The Limited adds bigger 18-inch wheels, leather-trimmed seats and a 6-disc CD player with a 9-speaker Boston Acoustics system and steering wheel audio control for a total price of $24,015. The Compass Sport X trim, which has modest standards like cloth-covered bucket seats, roof rails and a radio/CD player, starts at $15,995.You’ll get better-than-most 4WD fuel estimates at 23-city/28-highway driving MPG with the manual 5-speed transmission and the 2.4-liter engine.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: You’ll find a lot of little things to like about the Compass: precise interior air flow, easy to use audio system, well-placed control dials and nicely crafted seats. The CD player is tucked neatly behind the navigation screen that slides into a horizontal position in order to insert a disc. When gripping the steering wheel, finger tips are directly on the audio controls located behind the wheel. The cargo space is sufficient and the liftgate has an optional remote open-and-close feature. The problem with the Compass is that next to more exciting segment vehicles like the Subaru Forester or the VW Tiguan, it gets overshadowed.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Compass earned the highest or 5-star crash ratings from the NHTSA in side driver and rear passenger performance. Frontal driver and passenger along with rollover earned 4-stars. The Jeep Compass has not been tested by the IIHS. Standard safety features on the Compass include: Side-curtain air bags; Electronic Stability Control (ESC); Brake Assist; Hill-start Assist (HSA) with manual transmission; Electronic-roll Mitigation (ERM); Brake-traction Control System (BTCS); and Driver and front-passenger active head restraints.

Cost Issues: One of the major highlights of the Compass is its base price of $15,995. And $24,015 doesn’t seem that high for a Limited trim either. As with all vehicles, those enticing additional packages (Sun and Sound Group, Security and Convenience Group or the Trailer Tow Prep Group) can start to add up for a Compass that can cost a consumer up to $29,275.

Activity & Performance Ability: The Compass does deliver a car-like feel in a crossover design – meaning the fully independent suspension design is much better for the on-road conditions like tight curves. The CVT2 with AutoStick ups the ante on back road driving fun by allowing the driver to manually shift the transmission. The engine and overall performance won’t knock your doors off; yet road noise aside the Compass displays steady highway acceleration, enough throttle response and optimal pickup. The 4WD’s Freedom Drive I system has a simple locking feature located in the full-length center console with enough traction to take on minor rough terrain or foul-weather conditions. The vehicle is not meant for major off-road trails or the obstacles typically found on the fun ones.

The Green Concern: The Compass has another shining moment with 4WD fuel estimates at 23-city/28-highway driving MPG with the manual 5-speed transmission and the 2.4-liter engine. I find it strange Jeep offers a new and smaller 158-horsepower 2.0-liter engine that isn’t capable of offering better fuel economy numbers at 23-city/29-highway driving with 2WD and the manual transmission.

A starting price of $15,995 and 4WD fuel estimates at 25-mpg are what makes the Jeep Compass enticing. However, next to class competitors with more character and power, the Compass starts to lose any compact crossover appeal and sits pretty low on the list with most critics. Best for Jeep loyalists that don’t want to do a lot of off-roading.

2010 Katrina Ramser