Jeep wants this Compass to be a small SUV competitor, but I have a hard time seeing it as much more than a Dodge Caliber compact car. It may ride a little taller, drive all four wheels, and offer high-end features like navigation, but there's not much utility here. And as the Compass combines unparalleled levels of ho-hum and ugly, it is certifiable insanity that Jeep would build even one of these cars at a price of $30,130.
I cannot disagree with a single point that my colleague Eric Tingwall has made. We all know that the Compass was one of the least competitive efforts by Chrysler Corporation when it was still owned by the Germans, and time has only accentuated its many weaknesses, foremost among them the ridiculous asking price. I do suspect, though, that no one really pays full asking price for a Compass. But I wouldn't want one of these for even $20K, let alone the as-tested price of $30K of this example.
When they were launched several years ago, Chrysler's current bevy of mediocre small cars (Jeep Compass and Patriot; Dodge Caliber; Chrysler Sebring/Dodge Avenger) made me feel ashamed to be a self-proclaimed Mopar man. Unfortunately, I can't argue with any of the points made by Tingwall and DeMatio. Still, after driving this 2010 Compass, I at least was relieved to see that Chrysler has drastically improved the vehicle's interior, an update that took effect for the '09 model year. Sure, the cabin remains far from class leading, and there are still a lot of hard plastics, but their quality has been substantially improved. Also, there are far fewer sharp plastic edges, which were everywhere in the earlier interiors.
I'm not offended by the idea of a unibody Jeep that can't crawl its way down the Rubicon Trail, but I'm a little offended to see the Compass pitched as a compact SUV/crossover. Drive this back-to-back with its Dodge Caliber cousin, and it's really hard to sense a difference.
It's quite telling that on a day when Ann Arbor was being blanketed with snow, the Compass slipped all the way down to this humble writer. Put a Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, or any other real Jeep on the car board when the white stuff is falling, and I guarantee that an editor with a higher position on the masthead snatches the keys.
I was expecting so little when I climbed into the Jeep Compass that I was actually happy to find that it had heated seats, navigation, and satellite radio - it was a prime example of the soft bigotry of low expectations. (At the time, I wasn't aware of the Compass's $30,000 price tag. For that amount of money, the aforementioned amenities are a must.)
My colleagues have already pointed out the ample disappointments that make up a Jeep Compass so I won't rant about how offensive this vehicle is wearing a Jeep badge.
2010 Jeep Compass Limited 4x4