• Generations

Jeep Compass Generations

By Zac Estrada | April 3, 2022

In its more than 80-year history, Jeep and its parent companies have tried to expand the brand beyond its World War II lineage, with varying degrees of success.

The Jeep Compass, introduced in 2007, was another attempt to attract new buyers. However, with standard front-wheel-drive and most versions offering limited off-road capability, the Compass seemed like an affront to enthusiasts with modified Jeep Wranglers, and early versions weren't particularly well-reviewed.

But with this expansion, Jeep had the right timing as the compact crossover SUV market quickly grew. And over the years, the Compass became more civilized and capable, better able to live up to the Jeep heritage.

2017-Present Jeep Compass (2nd Generation)


For 2022, the Compass received a significant design overhaul. Exterior revisions included a new grille, front and rear bumper designs, wheel options, and new lights.

Inside, the Compass was given a heavy upgrade, with a new design and upgraded materials. Jeep's UConnect 5 infotainment system replaced the previous offerings with a standard 8.4-inch touchscreen and two optional 10.1-inch versions. The new systems also incorporated Amazon Alexa commands. In addition, a 10.25-inch TFT display replaced physical instrument dials on some Trailhawk and Limited models, while USB-C ports were added.

Other new features for the Compass included standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, an available surround-view camera, traffic sign recognition, and an advanced driver assistance system called Highway Assist.

This second generation of Compass was first introduced in 2017 after the initial generation had been in production for a decade.

There had been substantial changes in the Jeep line since the Compass was introduced, and the new version replaced both its predecessor and the similarly-sized Patriot. And it was no longer the smallest vehicle in the brand's lineup, following the introduction of the subcompact Jeep Renegade in 2015.

The new Compass used a larger version of the Renegade's platform, also shared with many Fiat products. But the vehicle was larger than its predecessor and more squarely lined up with rivals like the Ford Escape, as well as Jeep's own Cherokee.

Sport, Latitude, and Limited models continued as before, available with either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, and all Compass models received a 180-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. In addition, a six-speed manual transmission was initially available on the Compass Sport, while all other versions got a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The Sport came standard with a six-speed manual transmission and few power amenities. Other models offered new features such as adaptive cruise control, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, a navigation system with the UConnect infotainment system, forward collision warning, a backup camera, front and rear parking sensors, and a blind-spot monitoring system.

While all-wheel-drive was an option on those three trim levels, the new Trailhawk was the only version to get the Trail Rated badge. Following the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee Trailhawk versions, the Compass model got a standard all-wheel-drive system specially tuned for low gearing and crawl speeds. The Selec-Terrain system on all all-wheel-drive versions also used presets for different terrain situations, such as for snow, rocks, and sand, in addition to an automatic setting.

The Compass Trailhawk also got redesigned bumpers, additional ground clearance, tow hooks, and skid plates. Design changes also included a black-painted roof, rugged tires and wheels, and red accents inside.

Apart from various special edition models, such as for Jeep's 80th Anniversary in 2021, there were few changes to the second-generation Compass.

View 2nd Generation Listings

2007-2016 Jeep Compass (1st Generation)


The Jeep Compass debuted for the 2007 model year. It was mechanically related to the 2006 Dodge Caliber hatchback and 2007 Jeep Patriot compact SUV, but with its distinctive exterior styling. Jeep pitched the Compass to buyers who didn't warm up to traditional blocky styling — it steered those customers to the Patriot and its 1984 Cherokee XJ-like appearance — and wanted something that looked more carlike and with better fuel economy, as it lost sales to rivals like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

Base Compass models used a 158-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and a five-speed manual transmission, but all automatic transmission-equipped versions and those with all-wheel-drive used a 172-horsepower, 2.4-liter version of that engine. The Compass used a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
While the standard setup was front-wheel-drive like the Dodge Caliber, the Compass offered an all-wheel-drive, too, known as the Freedom Drive I system. It automatically split power between the front and rear wheels, and the only override was a lock setting to divide power evenly at low speeds. As a result, the Compass was the first Jeep model not to be "Trail Rated" since that badge was introduced.

Base models were sparsely equipped with manual windows and door locks, although they did come standard with alloy wheels and cloth upholstery. Air conditioning, power windows, door locks, and side-impact airbags were options.

Better-equipped Latitude models offered power amenities as standard, along with the more powerful engine, and opened up availability for more options. And the top Compass Limited trim included larger wheels and more equipment while offering upgraded audio systems, a sunroof, and leather upholstery, among other features.
There were few changes to the Compass for the first several years as parent Chrysler Group endured a sale, financial crises, and eventual Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The interior was modestly restyled for 2009 to address criticism over poor-quality plastics.

But for 2011, the Compass received a facelift and adopted styling similar to the Jeep Grand Cherokee. In addition, popular features were made standard, including power amenities and air conditioning. And there was a new 70th Anniversary Edition in honor of Jeep's birthday. It included many features, such as leather upholstery and an upgraded Boston Acoustics audio system.

Under the skin, the suspension was revised to raise the ground clearance by an inch and offer better handling. And the Compass was finally given the Trail Rated honors as the Freedom Drive II system became an option. Already available on the Patriot, it added a low-gearing setting to the CVT. Freedom Drive II-equipped models also had all-terrain tires mounted on 17-inch aluminum wheels and skid plates.

An Altitude trim level between the Latitude and Limited models was added for 2012, and models without the Freedom Drive II package used a conventional six-speed automatic transmission from 2014. But the first-generation would live out the rest of its 10-year run mostly unchanged through 2016.

View 1st Generation Listings