It’s not the best vehicle in the segment, but it checks almost all the boxes quite comfortably

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Jeep Compass has been in the market for over a decade now and has become a staple moniker in the segment now. This two-row SUV is one of the rare models in this segment that can actually be taken off the roads without doubting its abilities. Of course, it’s no Cherokee, but it does a lot better than its rivals in this aspect. Although it features a heavy 2.4-liter engine, the power outputs aren’t that great and the nine-speed automatic gearbox makes the whole drive even more lethargic. However, it comes with a nice interior setup, decent tech features, and aesthetics that will please all and offend none. So, should you pick the Jeep Compass over the Honda CR-V or the Ford Escape?

Jeep Compass Drivetrain and Fuel Economy

  • 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine
  • 180 Horsepower
  • 175 pound-feet of torque
  • Six-speed manual gearbox
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Nine-speed automatic transmission
  • Four drive modes
2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Drivetrain
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All the Compass models are powered by a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 180 horses and 175 pound-feet of torque. Jeep offers two iterations of it, one is the standard MultiAir mill, whereas the other one is the same mill with an Engine Start/Stop technology. There’s no difference in the power outputs.

Three different transmissions are also available - a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic, and a nine-speed automatic. The manual gearbox is available only on the base Sport trim. The other trims with front-wheel-drive configuration are offered with the six-speed automatic, and all the four-wheel-drive models come with the nine-speed gearbox.

2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Drivetrain
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All the four-wheel-drive models come with four drive modes, too, namely – Auto, Snow, Sand, and Mud. The Trailhawk benefits from the ‘Rock’ mode in addition to these standard drive modes. It also features the Standard Jeep Active Drive Low 4x4 20:1 crawl ratio along with Hill Descent Control and better angles all around.

Jeep Compass specifications
Engine 2.4-Liter Inline-Four
Fuel Regular Unleaded
Horsepower 180 @ 6400 RPM
Torque 175 LB-FT @ 3900 RPM
Transmission 9AT
Drive 4WD
Towing Capacity 2000 LBS
Fuel Economy 22/30/25
Curb Weight 3633 LBS
Fuel Capacity 13.5 Gal

What Is The Compass’ Fuel Economy?

2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Drivetrain
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The Compass delivers 22 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined. Despite being the heaviest of the lot and having the biggest engine, the ratings are marginally better than the Escape, which delivers 22 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg combined. The Honda CR-V is the most efficient, delivering 27 miles in the city, 32 miles on the highway, and 29 miles combined for every gallon of fuel it consumes.

How Much Can The Compass Tow?

2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Exterior
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The Jeep Compass can tow up to 2,000 pounds, which is 500 pounds more than the Honda CR-V’s capacity and identical to the Ford Escape’s towing capacity.

Jeep Compass Exterior Design

  • Rugged-looking vehicle
  • Signature seven-slat grille
  • 19-inch wheels in the top trim
  • Black plastic cladding all around
  • 12 exterior color options
2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Exterior
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Jeeps are known to be the big, handsome brutes that command a strong street presence. The Compass, despite being a small vehicle in comparison, is no exception. It doesn’t have the fluidic looks of its rivals that make you go “aww” or anything. It is bulky and outright rugged. Up front, it boasts of the signature seven-slat grille with the ‘Jeep’ branding at the tip of the hood. The headlights seem to be an extension of this grille. The bumper is quite busy with the fog lamps and air dams placed there amongst other elements like the big aero at the bottom

The side profile looks muscular, thanks to the square wheel arches and the black plastic cladding running all across. The A- and B-pillars are blackened out and they give a sporty presence to the Compass. There is a namesake branding on the front doors that break the monotony on the rather simple, plain doors. Jeep offers many wheel designs and sizes on the SUV. Depending on trim, you can get anything from 16- to 19-inch wheels along with tires for different conditions.

2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Exterior
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There’s nothing special about its derriere. The horizontal taillights stretch to the side of the SUV as well. There is a cut out to lift the hatch comfortably, but it sticks out bang in the middle like a sore thumb. The bottom half of the bumper is clad in black plastic that not just make it look rugged, but also protects the body when you take it on the beaten paths. Jeep offers the Compass in the following colors:

  • Billet Silver Metallic Clear Coat
  • Diamond Black Crystal Pearl Coat
  • Granite Crystal Metallic Clear Coat
  • Jazz Blue Pearl Coat
  • Laser Blue Pearl Coat
  • Olive Green
  • Pearl Coat Pearl White Tri-Coat
  • Redline Red Pearl Coat
  • Spitfire Orange Clear Coat
  • Sting-Gray Clear Coat
  • Velvet Red Pearl Coat
  • White Clear Coat

How Big Is The Compass?

2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Exterior
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When compared to its immediate rivals, the Jeep Compass has the most compact dimensions, barring the width.

It measures 173 inches in length, which is less than the Honda CR-V 182.1-inch length and the Ford Escape’s 180.5-inch length. It is 73.8 inches wide, which puts it between the CR-V and the Escape, which measure 73- and 74.1 inches respectively. It also happens to be the shortest, standing at 64.6 inches as opposed to both the other SUVs which stand at 66.1 inches.

As expected, the wheelbase is also the shortest, measuring 103.8 inches. This is an inch less than the Honda and 2.9 inches less than the Ford. In terms of ground clearance, however, things are different. The Compass rides at 8.2 inches off the ground, followed by the Escape, which sits eight inches above the ground, and finally the CR-V, sitting just 7.8 inches above the ground.

2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Exterior
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The Jeep Compass’ front and rear tracks are 60.7 inches and 60.3 inches wide, which are less than both, the CR-V’s 62.9- and 63.5-inch, and Escape’s 62.4- and 61.8-inch wide front and rear tracks, respectively. Thanks to the heavy front overhang, the approach angle is rated at 16.8 degrees, which is less than the CR-V’s 18.1-degree rating. The departure angle, however, is better, rated at 31.7 degrees as opposed to CR-V’s 25.3-degree angle.

Jeep Compass vs competition - exterior dimensions
Jeep Compass Honda CR-V Ford Escape
Length 173 182.1 180.5
Width 73.8 73 74.1
Height 64.6 66.1 66.1
Wheelbase 103.8 104.8 106.7
Front Track 60.7 62.9 62.4
Rear Track 60.3 63.5 61.8
Approach Angle 16.8 Deg 18.1 Deg TBA
Departure Angle 31.7 Deg 25.3 Deg TBA
Ground Clearance 8.2 7.8 8

How Much Does The Compass Weigh?

2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Exterior
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Considering how tough Jeeps are built, it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that it’s the heaviest of the lot. It has a curb weight of 3,633 pounds, which is almost 300 pounds more than the CR-V’s 3,337-pound weight and almost 350 pounds heavier than the Escape, which weighs 3,298 pounds.

Jeep Compass Interior Design

  • Four interior themes
  • Average quality material
  • 8.4-inch touchscreen
  • UConnect infotainment system
  • Support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 27.2 cubic feet of cargo space
2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Interior
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Step inside the cabin and you’ll find it to be not-so-spacious. This isn’t in terms of dimensions alone; it seems to be a little too packed for everyone’s liking.

While the optimists will call it a cozy cabin, we’ve heard many folks calling it claustrophobic. Everything in here feels well-screwed and laid-out, but the quality of the material isn’t too premium. When compared to the rivals, it’s average at best.

Behind the chunky steering wheel is a digital-analog instrument cluster that has two dials on either side and a screen in the middle that shows the drive-related data. The steering wheel comes with a lot of buttons but it doesn’t feel cluttered. There is a touchscreen infotainment system on the center console flanked by AC vents on its sides. The 8.4-inch touchscreen runs on FCA’s UConnect infotainment system. It supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The system is one of the best ones in the market, so it’s a good thing that Jeep has skimped on it in the Compass considering it is an entry-level model.

2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Interior
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Below this are the HVAC controls, which are, fortunately, a mix of dials and buttons and nothing too overtly sophisticated. The gear lever is aesthetically appealing, but the lack of storage spaces in this area definitely bothersome. There is no space in front of the gear lever either since Jeep decided to place the drive mode sifter here. Overall, everything is laid out well, but the cabin doesn’t seem too spacious as a whole and the lack of storage space all around makes things worse. Interestingly, only dark themes are offered inside. These include:

  • Black
  • Black and Sandstorm
  • Black and Ski Grey
  • Trailhawk Black

Is The Compass Spacious?

2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Interior
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The Compass is not as spacious as its rivals on the inside, but if you take into account the fact that its overall length and wheelbase are also shorter, then it’s on par with them.

In the front row, the Compass comes with a headroom of 39.2 inches, which is less than the CR-V’s 40.1- and the Escape’s 40-inch headroom. In terms of legroom and shoulder room, the Jeep SUV offers 41.8- and 56.7 inches when compared to the Honda’s 41.3 and 57.9 inches and the Escape’s 42.4 and 57.6 inches, respectively. The hip room measures 54.1 inches in the Compass, 55.1 inches in the CR-V, and 55.2 inches in the Escape.

2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Interior
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Things aren’t any better at the back, either. The Compass offers a 38.5-inch headroom and 38.3-inch legroom, which is less than the CR-V and the Escape on both counts. They measure 39.2- and 40.4 inches, and 39.3- and 40.7 inches, respectively. As for the shoulder room, the Compass, CR-V, and Escape offer 55.1-, 55.6-, and 56 inches, respectively. Finally, the Jeep Compass comes with a hip room of 49.2 inches, which is marginally less than the CR-V’s 49.5 inches, and a lot less than the Escape’s 53.3 inches.

Jeep Compass vs competition - interior dimensions
Jeep Compass Honda CR-V Ford Escape
1st Row Headroom 39.2 40.1 40
1st Row Leg Room 41.8 41.3 42.4
1st Row Shoulder Room 56.7 57.9 57.6
1st Row Hip Room 54.1 55.1 55.2
2nd Row Headroom 38.5 39.2 39.3
2nd Row Leg Room 38.3 40.4 40.7
2nd Row Shoulder Room 55.1 55.6 56
2nd Row Hip Room 49.2 49.5 53.3

How Much Cargo Can The Compass Carry?

2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Interior
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With all the seats in place, the Jeep Compass offers 27.2 cubic feet of space, which is the worst of the lot. The Ford Escape has a cargo space rating of 33.5 cubic feet, whereas the CR-V takes the cake with 39.2 cubic feet of space to stow away your luggage and still seat five people.

Flip down the rear seats and the Compass gives you 59.8 cubic feet of space, the Escape offers 65.4 cubic feet, and the CR-V lets you have 75.8 cubic feet of cargo space available at your disposal.

Jeep Compass Pricing

2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Exterior
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As is with any Jeep product, the trim spread is huge. The 2020 Jeep Compass is offered in broadly nine different trims. Here’s how they’re priced:

  • Sport FWD - $22,280
  • Sport Four-wheel-drive - $23,780
  • Latitude - $25,870
  • Latitude Four-wheel-drive - $25,870
  • Sun & Wheel FWD - $26,765
  • Altitude FWD - $27,290
  • Altitude Four-wheel-drive - $28,790
  • Sun & Safety FWD - $27,320
  • Sun & Safety Four-wheel-drive - $28,820
  • North Edition Four-wheel-drive - $27,975
  • Limited FWD - $28,875
  • Limited Four-wheel-drive - $30,375
  • Trailhawk Four-wheel-drive - $29,850
  • High Altitude FWD - $31,145
  • High Altitude Four-wheel-drive - $32,645

Not all models are available in both the drive configurations and every four-wheel-drive Compass is $1,500 pricier than its FWD twin.

Is The Jeep Compass Better Than The Honda CR-V?

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The Honda CR-V has been the go-to compact SUV for families for a long time now. It comes with a practical, spacious cabin that is feature-rich. It boasts of excellent crash-test ratings which further makes a case for itself. It even offers the best cargo space when compared to its immediate rivals. But, the engine is not its strongest point. The 1.5-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine dishes out 190 ponies and 179 pound-feet of torque. While it seems better than the Compass on paper, that’s not the case in the real world, thanks to the lousy CVT mated to it. If you are a sedate driver, you’ll be happy. However, if you have a heavy foot and prefer spirited driving, look elsewhere because it’s a deal-breaker. The Honda CR-V starts a little over $25,000 and goes all the way up to $35,000.

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Jeep Compass vs Honda CR-V
Jeep Compass Honda CR-V
Engine 2.4-Liter Inline-Four 1.5-Liter Turbo-Four
Fuel Regular Unleaded Regular Unleaded
Horsepower 180 @ 6400 RPM 190 @ 5600 RPM
Torque 175 LB-FT @ 3900 RPM 179 LB-FT @ 2000 RPM
Transmission 9AT CVT
Drive 4WD FWD \ AWD
Towing Capacity 2000 LBS 1500 LBS
Fuel Economy 22/30/25 27/32/29
Curb Weight 3633 LBS 3337 LBS
Fuel Capacity 13.5 Gal 14.0 Gal

Read our full review on the Honda CR-V

Is The Jeep Compass Better Than The Ford Escape?

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The Escape is the frugal crossover that ticks all the boxes well, but is not an enthusiast’s vehicle. While it isn’t a beautiful vehicle per se, it will age gracefully. It comes with a host of drive-assistance system, too. It has all the creature comforts you can ask for and the cabin and cargo area is quite spacious. But, just like the CR-V, things go down the hill when you start driving it. I’m someone who doesn’t believe that a turbocharged makes up for a missing cylinder. The three-pot engine displaces at 1.5 liters and makes 181 horses and 190 pound-feet of twist. Power is sent to the front wheel as standard via an eight-speed auto gearbox, but you can opt for the all-wheel-drive model too. The Ford Escape was built from the ground up for the 2020 model, sharing no parts whatsoever with its predecessor, and it ranges between $25,000 and $36,000.

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Jeep Compass vs Ford Escape
Jeep Compass Ford Escape
Engine 2.4-Liter Inline-Four 1.5-Liter Turbo-Three
Fuel Regular Unleaded Regular Unleaded
Horsepower 180 @ 6400 RPM 181 @ 6000 RPM
Torque 175 LB-FT @ 3900 RPM 190 LB-FT @ 3000 RPM
Transmission 9AT 8AT
Drive 4WD FWD \ AWD
Towing Capacity 2000 LBS 2000 LBS
Fuel Economy 22/30/25 22/28/24
Curb Weight 3633 LBS 3298 LBS
Fuel Capacity 13.5 Gal 15.7 Gal

Read our full review on the Ford Escape

Jeep Compass Optional Packages and Accessories

2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Exterior
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Sport Appearance Plus ($1,095)

  • 16-Inch Silver-Painted Aluminum Wheels
  • Black Side Roof Rails
  • Bright Day Light Opening Moldings
  • Deep Tint Sunscreen Glass

Safety and Security Group ($945)

  • Black / Body-Color Exterior Mirrors
  • Blind-Spot and Cross-Path Detection
  • ParkSense Rear Park-Assist System
  • Rain-Sensitive / Intermittent Wipers
  • Security Alarm

Advanced Safety Group ($945)

  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go
  • Advanced Brake Assist
  • Automatic High Beam Headlamp Control
  • Full-Speed Forward Collision Warn Plus
  • Lane Departure Warning Plus
  • Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
  • Rear View Auto-Dimming Mirror

Tech Group ($745)

  • One-Year SiriusXM Radio Service
  • Body-Color Door Handles
  • Cluster Seven-Inch Color Driver Information Display
  • Remote Proximity Keyless Entry
  • SiriusXM with 1-Year Radio Subscription
2020 Jeep Compass - Driven Exterior
- image 962300

Cold Weather Group ($895)

  • All-Season Floor Mats
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
  • Reversible Carpet / Vinyl Cargo Mat
  • Windshield Wiper De-Icer
  • Remote-Start System

Mopar Interior Premium Package ($345)

  • Carpet Cargo Mat
  • Pedal Kit
  • Premium Carpet Floor Mats

Interior Protection ($345)

  • All-Weather Floor Mats
  • Molded Cargo Tray

Graphics Package ($495)

  • Bodyside Graphic
  • Hood Graphic
  • Leave it
    • Not a very spacious cabin
    • Nothing here makes a strong case for itself
Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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