Trucks & SUVs

Only Buy a 2020 Jeep Compass If You Get the Most Basic Trims

Jeeps are known to be tough off-road vehicles, but some are built with more love and affection than others. The Jeep Wrangler and the Jeep Cherokee not only cost significantly more than other Jeep models, but they also drive better. 

In comparison, the Compass might be a bit of a teaser. It offers just enough so that consumers who can’t afford one of the more expensive Jeeps still feel like they’re a part of the Jeep family. But is that actually the case? Is the Jeep Compass worth the money you pay for it? CNET has all the answers.

The 2020 Jeep Compass 

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The 2020 Jeep Compass starts $22,280. As the cheapest Jeep available, it’s not much to brag about. Each trim level comes with the same 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that gets 180 hp. If you’re expecting a powerful engine, this one isn’t it. 

Front-wheel drive is standard, but you can always upgrade to AWD. It also comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, which might have some drivers who have never driven a stick shift before quaking in their shoes. Thankfully, Jeep offers a six-speed automatic, so you have a few options. 

Don’t expect a ton of tech on the Compass, however. It comes standard with 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, and two USB ports for charging your smart devices, Apple Android, and Android Auto. If you decide to upgrade, you’ll get a bigger touchscreen, a premium audio system, and satellite radio.

There also isn’t much in the way of standard safety features. In fact, the only thing you get is a rearview camera. That’s it. If you want features like lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control, you’ll have to upgrade.

The 2020 Jeep Compass is a little lackluster

Jeeps aren’t known for their reliability, and the Compass is no exception. In fact, it’s considered to be the worst Jeep available on the market. The 2007 is probably the worst model, but the 2020 has its own share of problems. 

Critics like J.D. Power and Consumer Reports weren’t exactly impressed, and gave the 2020 Jeep Compass low reliability scores. This was due in large part to the lack of decent materials. Most of the interior, even at the higher trim levels, is made of hard plastic. 

It also has a very distinct lack of power in the engine. Push the pedal as hard as you like, but you aren’t going anywhere in a hurry. The off-road capability is decent, but the Compass can’t keep up with it’s older siblings the Wrangler or the Cherokee when you start hitting the rough trails.

The fuel economy is also not so great. The 2020 Jeep Compass only gets 22 miles per gallon city, 30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined.

It does get decent safety scores, so that’s one thing it has going for it. But still, is that really enough to tempt consumers into buying a Compass? And which trim level should you actually get?

CNET recommends the Compass, but only one trim level

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CNET actually sort of likes the 2020 Jeep Compass, but only the base trim level. Well, they like the higher trim levels, especially the Trailhawk, but feel as if they’re not worth the money you’d pay.

The Compass has that typical rugged Jeep look that has defined the automaker since WWII, and that earns it a lot of affection. That’s where the love ended, however.

According to CNET,

“On the low end of the spectrum, the 2020 Compass makes a strong case for itself as a budget-minded buy. But as the price climbs up into the mid-$30,000 range, the Compass is much harder to justify, attractive as it may be.”

In other words, one thing the Compass has going for it compared to rivals like the Honda CR-V, Subaru Crosstrek, and Toyota RAV4 is the cheap starting price. As the expense begins to rise, though, you might be better off going with another SUV.