Someone asked a great question, so I’ll add it here. Our cross-shop list was:
1. Honda HR-V (small cargo area, no power trunk)
2. Toyota C-HR (terrible sight lines, no power trunk)
3. Mini Countryman (wife found it gimmicky and expensive)
4. Subaru Crosstrek (while I appreciated the much improved cabin space and interior design of the 2018, roofline still too low and interior is still a bit plasticky, no power trunk)
5. Fiat 500X (too small, no power trunk)
Like 1: The overall exterior design carrying many styling cues from other Jeeps. It looks much more upscale and cohesive than the previous Compass, which was neither.
Like 2: The powertrain. The new Compass gets consistently dinged for the sluggish response of the 9-speed automatic, but FWD versions like ours carry a much more responsive 6-speed. The Tigershark 2.4L features a Fiat Multiair head sitting on a Global Engine Alliance block (per Wikipedia). It’s quite refined in this application.
Like 3: The size. Slightly larger than the Fiat 500L it replaces, it sits very well in our cluttered garage and can still open the tailgate while inside. My wife finds the RAV-4 / CR-V class too large, and this is a happy medium.
Like 4: The infotainment system. The optional 8.4" screen is very friendly to use and Chrysler’s uConnect is present in all its class-leading glory. General interior design is also on point, with classy brown contrast stitching on Limited models.
Like 5: The easter eggs that Jeep have been putting in their cars for the past few years. Loch Ness Monster, gecko, grille-and-headlight patterns, I’m sure there are others.
Like 6: The gauge cluster. Jeep always has an interesting font and a different interpretation of tach “redline” for each model. The 7" driver info screen comes standard on the Limited trim and can be configured to display useful things like a giant digital speedo.
Like 7: The power tailgate is a standalone option available on Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk trims. This is hard to find in the subcompact segment and parents will really appreciate it. Instead of two active struts like on other liftgates, the Compass has an unusual single prop rod pushed by a motor located away from the door. We’ll see how this holds up over time.
Like 8: Doors swing wide open for easy access, but the rear door’s upper trim is downgraded to hard plastic. The fronts are padded and soft. The door closing/latch sound is very mechanical and shutting fully requires a bit of muscle. Exactly the sound and feel one would want in a Jeep—I like it.
Like 9: The colour. It’s labelled as “Pearl White Tri-Coat” and is only available on the Limited trim. The contrasting black roof and the chrome character line go very well with it.
Like 10: Rear seat A/C outlets, again, very rare in the subcompact segment.
Like 11: The ride feels a class above. The Koni shocks are good and wind and road noise are surprisingly well-controlled for the class. Coming from a 500L which had tire roar loud enough to drown out all the wind noise, this was a very noticeable improvement.
Not really a like or dislike, but what in the world is this nozzle sitting at the front of the engine bay? Some sort of bleed valve?
Dislike 1: The driver’s seat. Somehow I am unable to find a pleasing driving position. It’s feels a bit odd and hits some bad pressure points for me, but my wife finds no issues. As a passenger with freedom to move around, I should be fine.
Dislike 2: Active braking can only be optioned on the Limited (correction: also avail on Latitude) trim, and is bundled with LED exterior lighting. This option should be available on at least one lower trim level. Our car didn’t have it, but we would have liked to have the choice. Correction: This package can actually be had on the Latitude trim, so I was mistaken. The actual thing we disliked was the low inventory, with very little choice in colours and options. It was a miracle to have found our car that has so little of what we didn’t need. The dealer did claim that we could actually order a custom build if we really wanted it.
Dislike 3: Disappointing cabin storage space. Yes, we come from a 500L which has an unusual amount of clever storage space, but a tiny armrest bin and a modest glovebox are not enough. Door pockets are useless for carrying books and docs because Jeep decided to partition them to hold bottled drinks.
Dislike 4: Fuel economy. I have been averaging an unimpressive 20 mpg so far, and I don’t even drive it hard. Update: As I had suspected, my gridlocked commute was hurting fuel economy. My wife is currently working on increasing the average MPG with her traffic-free commutes.
Dislike 5: No cargo cover in the boot. This is actually my biggest gripe about the car so far. You can’t even buy one as there are no mounting points on North American cars. Apparently RoW Compasses do have this. What the deuce, Jeep?!
Now adding some ratings. Please note that this is relative to its class, not relative to all other cars.
Comfort & Ergonomics: 7 / 10
Cabin Space: 8 / 10
Features: 9 / 10
Performance & Fuel Consumption: 6 / 10
Smoothness, NVH: 10 / 10 (FWD model only)
Style, Feel, Vibe: 9 / 10
Total: 49 / 60