Jeep Compass rental review

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Apr 13, 2013
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We are in a 2020 (or 21?) Jeep Compass while our Jetta is in the shop for body work, so here is a short review for those who may be interested.

Bare in mind both my wife and I are sedan drivers, so this is coming from that point of view.

I went to Enterprise on Monday to pick up our rental and was presented with the Jeep. While not the most exciting option I was interested in driving it and seeing what the SUV craze is all about.

Immediately upon driving off the lot I was unimpressed with this powertrain. Based off of how it was performing I figured it had a 2.0 N/A engine paired with the 9 speed auto everyone complaints about. I later discovered that it comes with the 2.4 Tigershark and a 6 speed auto. For 180 hp I would expect this to perform much better. Off the line you get an unrefined stumble (not start/stop) followed by a short delay then a burst of "power". This causes acceleration to be nonlinear and unpleasant. It is not uncommon for the transmission to shift around 3.5-4K driving around in small town southern traffic. Transmission shifts are slow and clunky in normal driving, and transmission response via throttle input is unpredictable. If you need to do any sort of quick aggressive acceleration you don't know if it will bog or shoot up to 5K and still give you little power.

The ride is quite acceptable. It strikes a nice balance of compliance and control which is what this segment needs. It's not too sporty and not too soft.

Steering feel is non-existent. We have one car with EPS and it is tuned very well, I'm not sure why Jeep can't figure this out. On center feel is poor and it doesn't respond to small steering inputs.

Braking is...interesting. Simply tapping the brake pedal can send you through the windshield. It is extremely over boosted and un-natural feeling. Even once you get the hang of it it just isn't enjoyable as even the weight of simply resting your foot on the pedal will seemingly lock the brakes up. I'm being a bit dramatic here, but you get the idea. It really is way over boosted. Braking should involve some level of force when pushing down on the pedal, not trying to hold your foot up as any more pressure will stop the vehicle more quickly than you desire.

I can't leave out features. This is the limited model and includes what I consider a large touch screen, heated seats and steering wheel, remote start, lane keep / blind spot, distance pacing cruise, leather trimmed seats and keyless entry among others I'm sure.

After nearly a week of driving this vehicle I have adapted and learned how to drive it to achieve the the smoothest driving experience possible, but if it were my money I'd be looking for something more refined. Having said that, if you are just a person who loafs around town and doesn't care much about performance this would get the job done.

Any questions? Ask away! I'll be glad to answer.
 

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gregk24

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No surprise, no way you'd like that. Your statement "if you are just a person who loafs around town and doesn't care much about performance " describes 99% of the driving public. Curious where you unleash all of the performance your Accord and Jetta provide? ;)
None of our vehicles are remotely close to sport sedans, but hop in either one and compare to the competition of the time in which they were made and you will appreciate their road manors compared to the competition. They are just enjoyable to drive, you can't say that about every car.
 

Nick1994

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I don't like how low the A/C and radio controls are. A family member has a Renegade and everything is just so low and awkward. Like an electric wheelchair and reaching down for the buttons.
 

gregk24

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I don't like how low the A/C and radio controls are. A family member has a Renegade and everything is just so low and awkward. Like an electric wheelchair and reaching down for the buttons.
You are spot on. It is distracting to change radio / ac / other settings due to the design. When my wife got in, she said..."why"?

Here is our VW for comparison, only a few buttons and dials. This is good design.
 

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You are spot on. It is distracting to change radio / ac / other settings due to the design. When my wife got in, she said..."why"?

Here is our VW for comparison, only a few buttons and dials. This is good design.
Interesting how the buttons to turn off parking sensors/lane departure are higher up than all the climate buttons.
How often are people really messing with those settings?
 
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The best thing I have to say about the 2.4 Tigershark is that it is an engine.

For the steering, try digging into the settings on the radio and see if you can change it… I’m not sure if the Compass has that feature but my 300 did. On our test drive I noticed the steering was absolutely numb, one pinky at parking lot speeds numb, someone had set it to “comfort” mode… setting it to sport sharpened it up SIGNIFICANTLY.
 
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drive a wrangler for a week and that compass will seem like a cream puff. and yet, for reasons i cannot explain, after a few days back in the compass you will want to go back to the wrangler!
 

gregk24

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Huh....must be a USA thing. all 9 spd here
I wish the US models all came with the 9 speed. Even though I have read mixed reviews on the 9 speed, it would likely make better use of what power the 2.4 has. This 6 speed just doesn't cut it with todays competition.
 
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The 1.3T in the Renegade is much better than the 2.4, especially with the 9 speed. Having a 19 Jetta in the family, the 1.3T and the 9 speed is better combo than the Jetta IMO. The 1.3T makes noticeably more power than the 1.4T in the Jetta. The Jetta is a decent vehicle for what it is.
 
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