The Compass was one of Jeep’s first crossover SUVs when it was introduced in 2007, and it was slotted as an entry-level SUV, even below the Jeep Wrangler. Now in its sixth year of production, the 2013 Jeep Compass still remains very different from other vehicles in the company’s lineup. While most people think of Jeeps and tough offroad vehicles, the Jeep Compass seems like a softie that would much prefer the paved driveways of suburbia over the mud and dirt of offroad tracks. Thankfully, the Compass kept improving over time to come closer to the ruggedness that is expected out of a real Jeep. Despite its low price tag, it still has its share of problems and faces a lot of competition from car-based, compact SUVs.
New For 2013
Two new exterior colors are available: winter chill and black forest green. Compasses equipped with the 2.0-liter in-line four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission are now rated at 30 mpg on the highway.
The 2013 Jeep Compass shares some exterior elements with the Grand Cherokee SUV, and it gets some classic Jeep styling cues with the round headlights, vertical body colored grille, and front bumper design. Other standard exterior features include 16-inch wheels, fog lights, remote keyless entry, and heated power side mirrors. Optional features include a power sunroof, and 17-inch or 18-inch wheels.
Interior & Cargo
The cabin of the 2013 Jeep Compass has a good, solid feel to it. It is much better than the cabin two years ago, and the materials used everywhere are of good quality. Nevertheless, there are some areas where hard plastics and cheap materials are used, making the Compass feel a little downgraded as compared to the cabins of its rivals. Moreover, the 2013 Jeep Compass still has the same interior complaints that were present since it was introduced, namely the uncomfortable front seats and the lack of legroom for the rear bench passengers. Despite the negatives, the 2013 Jeep Compass does have some nifty features like a rechargeable LED cargo light that can be removed for using a flashlight and speakers at the rear that can be flipped down and raised up from the lift-gate.
With around 23 cubic feet of space, the 2013 Jeep Compass has a less than average cargo hold among its rivals. However, the 60/40-split rear bench can be folded down to bring the cargo space up to 53.6 cubic feet. It is quite an impressive increase, but it is still less than the maximum cargo space of the Kia Sportage and other smaller compact crossovers. Bigger rivals like the Forester and Honda CR-V offer as much as 70 cubic feet with the seats folded down. An additional option allows the front passenger seat to be folded down as well, but the resultant increase in cargo space is not that much. The seats get cloth upholstery as standard, with leather upholstery as an option. Other standard features include cruise control and air conditioning. Optional features include heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling, Boston Acoustics speaker system, and a navigation system.
Full length side curtain airbags, traction and stability control with rollover sensor, and anti-lock brakes are standard safety features for the 2013 Jeep Compass. The front-wheel drive models- Compass Latitude and Sport- come with drum brakes at the rear. Side impact airbags for the front seats are optional. Braking performance is just about average, with a stopping distance of 120 feet from 60 mph.
The 2013 Jeep Compass gets two engine options. The Sport and Latitude get a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 158 horsepower and 141 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels. The engine is mated with a five-speed, manual transmission as standard. The Sport gets a continuously variable transmission or CVT as an option, while the Latitude gets it as a standard. The higher-end models of the Compass with all-wheel drive have a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 172 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque. The choice of transmission remains the same, although the Limited gets the CVT as standard. A front-wheel drive is clearly the standard for the whole 2013 Jeep Compass lineup, with only two available four-wheel drive options- Freedom Drive I and II. Freedom Drive I is a combination of front-wheel drive for normal conditions and all-wheel drive under conditions where extra traction is required. The Freedom Drive II is an off-road package which includes low-range CVT mode for better offroad performance.
Neither the 2.0-liter engine nor the 2.4-liter one offers a whole lot in terms of performance. A four-wheel drive model with the best 2.4-liter engine still takes 10.3 seconds to go from standstill to 60 mph. Acceleration is weak with both engines, and the CVT brings down performance even further. The high noise level of the CVT isn’t welcome either. Suspension is on the firm side, but handling characteristics are strictly okay. All these problems bring the drivability of the Compass down to substandard levels, and it becomes very clear what customers are getting for the low price tag.
Potential buyers would be better off looking for crossovers that are more car-like, even though the price may be a little high. Even for those looking for an offroad experience, there are better options available. The 2013 Jeep Compass offers poor drivability, cargo space, and even with all the equipment in place, it can tow only up to 2000 pounds.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Jeep Compass
- Kia Sportage
- Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
- Suzuki SX4