Classic Jeep grill

The Compass features the classic vertical-barred grill and round headlamps that are iconic of the Jeep brand.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CNET

Odd design choices

The Compass' designers made some odd choices when styling the crossover, such as the odd floating corner indicators that don't seem to line up with anything, or the bulbous front and rear fenders.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CNET

Squishy suspension

While the sloppy suspension and uncommunicative steering don't give the driver any valuable information about the vehicle's grip, they do transmit quite a bit of noise and harshness into the cabin.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CNET

More engine, please.

The 2.4-liter engine feels underpowered in the Compass, straining and whining when the accelerator is pressed, but not actually hustling the vehicle with any sense of urgency.

And this is the larger of the two engines offered! A 2-liter engine is also available.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CNET

Fuel economy

As tested, our Compass Sport 4X4 with CVT transaxle is rated at 21 city/24 highway mpg.

The thriftiest Compass configuration is the 2.4-liter engine paired with a 4X2 manual transmission, which nets 23 city/28 highway, which causes us to question why Jeep even offers a 2-liter configuration.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CNET

MusicGate speakers

Part of a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics audio package, the MusicGate speakers flip down from the raised lift gate to provide music to tailgaters and picnickers.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CNET

Budget interior

The Compass' interior feels a grade below it's $19,465 base price, which is saying a lot. Cheap plastics and coarse fabrics are the rule in the Jeep's cabin.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CNET

Steering wheel controls

The Compass features steering wheel controls for the audio system, but they're on the back of the wheel and unlabeled.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CNET

Continuously Variable Transmission with Autostick

The continuously variable transmission can be controlled, to a degree, with the Autostick shifter.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CNET

Base stereo

The base stereo features a single-disc CD-player with MP3 playback. AM/FM radio is standard with Sirius satellite radio being optional.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Corinne Schulze/CNET
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