Those interested in exploring a used Jeep Compass have a number of selections to choose from. Now in its twelfth model year, the Compass is still relatively new to its second generation (with 2017 featuring both the outgoing and incoming model).
That said, the Compass had stood out as a well-conceptualized offering since day one. A vehicle so distinctively Jeep, yet so refreshingly new in its interpretation, it was more stylized than many of its stablemates. Devoid of any trail-rated badging, the Compass held a precarious spot in Jeep’s hierarchy. Less focused on off-road performance, and more focused on looks, it carved out its own niche audience. But Jeep had bigger plans in mind, and thus it seems fitting that the 2011 model year brought about a soft reboot for the Compass.
Cosmetically, this meant refining the Compass’ aesthetic to fall more in line with that of the iconic Grand Cherokee. Making no effort to duplicate its look, or create a redundancy, the face-lifted 2011 Jeep Compass presented a near-perfect blend of classic styling and new.
There were also a number of steps taken to earn the Compass its trail-rated badging, eliminating its most divisive characteristic. While front-wheel drive came standard, there was the inclusion of the optional four-wheel drive. And with additional enhancement packages made available (such as the Freedom Drive II Offroad Package) the Compass would garner legitimate credibility with low-range gearing, all-terrain tires, increased ride height and skid plates.
With these enhancements, the 2011 Jeep Compass still found itself standing apart. But this time, it stood confidently, setting itself apart from its soft-roading competition. Easy to drive, almost car-like in its upscale amenities, fuel-efficient and affordable the Compass made for a welcome inclusion in Jeep’s 70th Anniversary line-up.
Seating five, the Compass was made available in two trim levels: base and Limited. Both trim levels were powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to either a five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission. Rated for 172 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque, the Compass, was capable of sprinting to 60 mph in 10.3 seconds and earned 24-25 mpg (combined) on average.
And for front-wheel drive configurations, there was the option a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Channeling a more modest 158 hp and 141 lb-ft of torque, this variant earned 25-26 mpg (combined) on average.
In terms of available technologies, many 2011 models may seem ‘less well-equipped’ by 2018 standards. While the 2011 Compass was no exception, it offered a confident array of features with a number of enhancement packages. Standard in the base level compass were full power accessories and a four-speaker sound system with CD player and auxiliary jack. Included among the enhancement packages were many features that help to bridge the gap to today’s expectations. These include (but are not limited to) Bluetooth connectivity, Voice Command, USB ports, digital music storage and built-in Navigation
All in all, the 2011 Jeep Compass represented a wealth of prudent decision-making. By refining a model that sat neatly within a specific gap, Jeep was able to further solidify their line-up and answer the evolving needs and demands of drivers. A case of near-perfect timing, the Compass provided an accessibly-priced SUV with confident fuel economy, and a fun, sporty take on the iconic Jeep aesthetic.
With the crossover and SUV segment well-past saturation, there has never been a shortage of competition faced by Jeep Compass. While some kept their focus fixed upon versatility, and others distracted themselves with amenities, other offerings would employ a kitchen sink mentality in order to offer something to everyone.
The 2012 Compass reflected a calculated choice to remain focused on refinement. This meant reorganization of features around three new trim levels: (base) Sport, (mid-range) Latitude and (top-of-the-line) Limited. The Sport and Latitude trim levels would be powered by the 2.0-liter four-cylinder (spec’d above) while the Limited would enjoy its 2.4-liter counterpart.
While there would be no notable introduction of technologies in 2012 or 2013, the Jeep would remain a perennial favorite.
While the continuously variable transmission was still present as an option, the most notable change for the 2014 model year was the additional option of a six-speed automatic transmission. When paired with the 2.4-liter engine, this options served to improve both fuel economy and acceleration.
Just as the segment had found itself inundated with options years earlier, 2015 represented a tentpole of an era where most every offering would experience some refinement. In this regard Jeep’s focus would be on refinement of the Jeep Cherokee, while 2015 also marked the welcome introduction of the Jeep Renegade.
Overall, few changes were made to the 2015 Jeep Compass. That said the inclusion of two new sub-trims (‘Altitude’ and ‘High Altitude’ Editions) served to expand the options for configuring the compass. The ‘Altitude’ edition of the Sport trim would add sleek features such as heated, ‘sport mesh’ upholstery, 18-inch black gloss alloy wheels and blacked-out features encouraging a hint of ‘sleeper’ aesthetic. The ‘High Altitude’ edition of the Latitude trim included a 6.5-inch touchscreen with rearview camera, satellite radio, and built-in navigation.
While niche refinements, it would lend a fresh breath of air to the enduringly popular Compass.
As the first-generation of the Jeep Compass drew to a close, it remained one of the most competitively priced offerings within the segment. The 2016 Compass would be refined to two primary trim levels: Sport (with the optional ‘Sport SE’ subtrim) and Latitude (with the optional ‘High Altitude’ subtrim). Realigning itself with expectations, standard features would be upgraded to include Bluetooth connectivity, and a variety of enhancement packages would be offered to bridge the gap to the Compass’ next generation.