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2020 Jeep Compass: What You Need to Know

US News & World Report - Cars logo US News & World Report - Cars 7/24/2020 U.S. News & World Report
a blue car parked in a field: 2020 Jeep Compass © Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 2020 Jeep Compass

The 2020 Jeep Compass is a comfortable, capable off-road vehicle that comes with an outstanding infotainment system. However, its sluggish engine, poor fuel economy, and small cargo area drag it toward the bottom of our compact SUV rankings.

The 2020 Jeep Compass is ranked:

Is the Jeep Compass a Good SUV?

The 2020 Jeep Compass is OK. It’s a compact SUV that’s built for fun. Few rivals outside the Jeep brand can match its off-road prowess, and inside, you’ll find a fantastic infotainment system. However, its below-average predicted reliability rating, so-so handling, and small cargo area diminish its charm for those in search of a practical everyday vehicle.

Should I Buy the Jeep Compass?

You should consider a Compass if you want a trail-rated SUV that is less expensive than the Jeep Wrangler and/or has more interior space than the Jeep Renegade. For most everyone else, there are better options. The Subaru Forester is also an attractive choice for adventurers. It’s more expensive than the Compass, but it has a higher ground clearance and comes standard with all-wheel drive. The Forester also has a larger cargo area and comes with an impressive suite of standard safety features. The Toyota RAV4 and Kia Sportage are good options for those seeking a solid SUV for everyday use.

Should I Buy a New or Used Jeep Compass?

The 2020 Compass is part of a generation that launched for the 2017 model year. For 2019, Jeep made a 7-inch touch screen standard, and for 2020, Jeep makes its optional Safety and Security and Advanced Safety packages available in the base trim. A used Compass from this generation will likely cost less than a new Compass, and it's nearly identical. A model from the previous generation will cost even less, but you'd miss out on the updates from the 2017 redesign, which brought improved off-roading ability, a nicer interior, and up-to-date technology like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 Compass, 2018 Compass, and 2019 Compass reviews to help make your decision. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used cars.

We Did the Research for You: 23 Reviews Analyzed

Our 2020 Jeep Compass review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from more than 23 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety scores, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

This 2020 Jeep Compass review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which runs from 2017 to 2020.

Why You Can Trust Us

The Best Cars team – a division of U.S. News & World Report – has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from carmakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Jeep Compass Cost?

Jeep has not yet released pricing for the 2020 Compass, but we expect it to cost about the same as the 2019 model. Starting prices for the 2019 Compass range from about $22,000 to $32,000. For more information on trim levels and estimated prices, see our Which Jeep Compass Model Is Right for Me? section below.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

Jeep Compass Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Jeep Compass or Honda CR-V?

For exploring off-road trails, the Jeep Compass has few equals in the compact SUV class. However, if you spend most of your time exploring urban environments, the Honda CR-V is a better pick. It outdoes the Jeep in most areas, with better handling, better fuel economy, and a higher predicted reliability rating.

Which Is Better: Jeep Compass or Jeep Renegade?

The Jeep Renegade and Compass have quite a few similarities, but these are not interchangeable vehicles. As a subcompact SUV, the Renegade has a smaller back seat and less cargo room. The upside is that it's more agile. It also handles better than the Jeep Compass and is available with a peppier turbocharged engine. For the most part, choosing between these two comes down to what you favor more: the cabin space of the Compass or the better performance of the Renegade.

Compass Interior

How Many People Does the Compass Seat?

The Compass is a two-row SUV with five seats. Its spacious interior provides enough room for four tall adults. The front seats offer a commanding view of the road. The seats aren't as comfortable as those in some rivals, though, and only a few upgrades are available.  

Compass and Child Car Seats

This compact SUV has the typical collection of LATCH connectors: two complete sets of hardware for the rear outboard seats and an upper tether anchor for the rear middle seat. An ease-of-use rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is still pending for the 2020 model, but the nearly identical 2019 Compass received the lowest rating of Poor because its lower anchors are so challenging to use.

Compass Interior Quality

This SUV's cabin has handsome styling and a good build quality. The selection of materials is unexceptional, though the top trims have some nicer touches.

Compass Cargo Space

The Compass has 27.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 59.8 cubic feet with the rear seat folded. Both measurements are among the lowest in the compact SUV segment. What this Jeep lacks in space, however, it makes up for in convenience. The cargo area is wide, tie-downs are mounted in the rear, and numerous cubbies can be found throughout the cabin and under the cargo floor. You can fold the front passenger seat forward to carry long items (in models with manually adjustable front seats). A power liftgate is optional.

Compass Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Jeep has one of the best infotainment systems among affordable automakers. Its user-friendly Uconnect interface is the same system you'll find in corporate cousins such as the Dodge Journey and Chrysler Pacifica. The system's straightforward menus are easy to learn, you can pick your favorite hot buttons for the customizable screen, and its adjacent buttons and knobs are conveniently placed. A 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto come standard. Upgrades worth considering include a nine-speaker Alpine premium audio system and an 8.4-inch touch screen that comes with a navigation system.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Compass Performance

Compass Engine: Reluctant

Among the Compass’ biggest weaknesses are its powertrains. This SUV is timid under acceleration, and both available automatic transmissions can struggle to find the right gear in a timely manner.

Every trim comes with a 180-horsepower four-cylinder engine. Depending on the model, this 2.4-liter engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission, a six-speed automatic (in front-wheel-drive editions), or a nine-speed automatic (in four-wheel-drive models). 

Compass Gas Mileage: Not Great

The Compass gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. These fuel economy ratings are a little below average for the class, and numerous competitors cost less to fuel. For example, you'll save about $250 a year at the gas station if you drive a Toyota RAV4 instead.

Compass Ride and Handling: Comfortable but Imperfect

On the plus side, the Compass provides a comfortable ride and feels mostly composed. Other elements, however, have a hard time matching what its top-ranking rivals provide. Shortcomings include excessive body roll and an inconsistent steering feel.

Compass Off-Road Performance

The Compass really stands out when it's four-wheeling. Few SUVs in this price range are as adept as this Jeep, and while most competitors are available with all-wheel drive, hardly any come with four-wheel-drive options. In contrast, the Compass is available with full-time four-wheel drive, an upgraded 4x4 system that includes low-range gearing, and the Selec-Terrain traction management system with Snow, Sand, and Mud settings. Ground clearance ranges from 7.8 inches (in 4x2 models) to 8.5 inches (in the Trailhawk).

Compass Towing Capacity

A properly equipped Compass with four-wheel drive can tow up to 2,000 pounds. Shoppers with heavier boats and trailers should consider a Toyota RAV4 or Jeep Wrangler, both of which have a 3,500-pound maximum towing capacity.

Compass Reliability

Is the Jeep Compass Reliable?

The 2020 Jeep Compass has a below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Jeep Compass Warranty

Jeep covers its SUVs with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Compass Safety

Compass Crash Test Results

The 2020 Compass has a four out of five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This SUV earned five stars in the side crash test, four stars in the frontal crash test, and three stars in the rollover evaluation.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not evaluated the 2020 Compass as of this writing.

Compass Safety Features

Standard safety features include a rearview camera. Many of the Compass' top-ranking compact SUV rivals come with more standard features, though for 2020, Jeep extended its list of safety upgrades to every trim. Available safety options include full-speed forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and rear parking sensors.

Compass Dimensions and Weight

The Compass is 14.4 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,184 to 3,633 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Jeep Compass Built?

Jeep builds the Compass in Mexico.

Which Jeep Compass Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 Compass comes in four trims: Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk. The main differences between these trims involve styling and interior amenities, though the Trailhawk also has additional off-road components that you can't get in other trims. Powering every model is a 180-horsepower four-cylinder engine. This can be paired with either a manual or an automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard in almost every trim. Four-wheel drive is available in every model and standard in the Trailhawk. While prices are not yet available for 2020, an educated guess is possible by looking at 2019 prices.

Jeep offers a generous selection of packages for the Compass. For 2020, the Advanced Safety Group is now available for every trim. It adds adaptive cruise control, full-speed forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and automatic high-beam headlights. Other add-ons include the Altitude and High Altitude appearance packages and several Mopar-themed packages.

To get the best value, we recommend starting with the Sport trim and then adding the packages that appeal most to you. This often keeps your overall costs lower than if you go with a higher trim level yet still adds a few niceties beyond the standard fare. Available upgrades include four-wheel drive, an automatic transmission, high-tech safety features, and cold weather amenities such as heated seats and a remote start.

Jeep Compass Sport

The base trim level is the Sport. It comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, 16-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, and push-button start. Seating features include cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, a forward-folding front passenger seat, and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat. Its collection of standard technology includes the Uconnect infotainment system, a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and a six-speaker sound system. It's MSRP will likely start at around $22,100.

Jeep Compass Latitude

The midlevel Latitude comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch wheels, and a combination of cloth and vinyl seat upholstery. In addition to the Sport's list of features, the Latitude also gets proximity keyless entry and satellite radio. Based on 2019 prices, expect to see a sticker price of around $25,400 on the Latitude, with no cost difference between front-wheel- and four-wheel-drive models.

Jeep Compass Limited

Luxury levels reach their peak with the Jeep Compass Limited. It gets leather seats, a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, an 8.4-inch touch screen, and 18-inch wheels. Its MSRP will likely be around $29,000.

Jeep Compass Trailhawk

The Trailhawk comes with more off-road components (including a few that are trim-exclusive) than any Compass model. These upgrades include the Jeep Active Drive Low four-wheel-drive system (which includes low-range gearing), all-season on/off-road tires with 17-inch wheels, an off-road suspension system, two tow hooks, and additional skid plates. Other notable features include leather seats, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and unique badging. Its prices will probably start at around $30,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

The Final Call

The 2020 Jeep Compass boasts an excellent infotainment system, an adult-friendly back seat, and outstanding off-road abilities. It has several weaknesses, however, some of which make it an unpleasant compact SUV for everyday driving. In such a competitive class, it's tough to recommend an SUV with so many shortcomings. Sample a Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, or even the Jeep Cherokee – a compact SUV – for a more well-rounded vehicle.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2020 Jeep Compass review on U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.


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