2012 Jeep Compass
An affordable crossover SUV; fuel efficiency comparable to hybrids; spacious interior for passengers or cargo; top government ratings in crash tests
For 2012, there are three trims available: the base Sport, Latitude and Limited. Four-wheel drive versions come with a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine that offers 172 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque. All Compasses come standard with a 5-speed manual transmission. An automatic continuously variable transmission with manual shift override control is optional. Front wheel drive is standard on both trims while 4-wheel drive is optional. A 2.0L 4-cylinder engine making 158 horsepower and 141 pound-feet of torque is available only on the Sport with front-wheel drive.
The Compass offers a ground clearance of 8.5 inches, along with a 21-degree approach angle and 32-degree departure angle, both good for negotiating steep inclines. The rear seats split 60/40 and fold forward to expand cargo space. The front passenger seat folds forward to create a table-like surface or expanded cargo space for long items. Also, the center armrest slides forward three inches for shorter drivers, and it includes a cell phone flip pocket.
Freedom Drive I returns for 2012, with its active all-wheel drive that can be locked into 4-wheel drive at the push of a button. The optional Freedom Drive II system features low-range gears, tow hooks, skid plates and a one-inch suspension lift for more serious off-roading.
Active front head restraints are standard across the lineup, as are side curtain front and rear air bags, antilock 4-wheel disc brakes with brake assist, electronic stability control with roll mitigation, traction control and hill start assist. Supplemental front seat-mounted side air bags and rear passenger air bags are optional.
Standard equipment on all trims includes 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, air conditioning and auxiliary audio jacks. Accessories such as a power driver-seat height adjustment, reclining rear seats and stain-repellent upholstery are available. All of these features are standard on the Limited, which adds 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, satellite radio and a 6-CD changer as standard.
There are a number of other packages available for both trims. Items that are available as options include heated seats, cargo cover, Bluetooth, remote start, flip-down tailgate speakers, subwoofer, sunroof, navigation system, digital music storage and a USB audio jack.
The 70th Anniversary, a special-edition one-off for 2011, is no longer available. Otherwise, the Compass is virtually identical to last year's model.
The car-like 2012 Jeep Compass is the only crossover vehicle in the Jeep family, and shares a platform with the boxy Jeep Patriot. The Compass combines the utility of a compact SUV and the maneuverability and crisp handling of a small hatchback, with some added rugged Jeep character.
Inside, there is plenty of room for 4 passengers-5 in a pinch. The roof is tall, giving the interior an even-more spacious feel. Unique to the Compass are optional flip-down tailgate speakers, which many reviewers see as a big plus for the vehicle.
Its competitors include the Hyundai Tucson and the Suzuki Grand Vitara, but the Jeep brings with it some off-road prowess that others in this segment don't feature. Price is perhaps the Compass' strongest selling point, offering SUV practicality with four-wheel drive starting as low as $20,612.
* EPA mileage estimates and EPA fuel economy methods based on models beginning with
the indicated model year. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models
before the indicated model year. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how
you drive and maintain your vehicle.