Compact SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $3,000 – $22,000*

2008 Jeep Compass

2008 Jeep Compass

2008 Jeep Compass

2008 Jeep Compass

2008 Jeep Compass

  • Cargo room
  • Control layout
  • Ride
  • Seat comfort (front)
  • Acceleration
  • Interior materials/details

Jeep entered uncharted territory with the Compass, its first modern SUV to lack all pretense of off-road prowess-a longtime tradition for Jeep fans. Compared with others in its league, Compass lacks the overall refinement of a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, especially in interior decor. Fuel economy is good for this class, but the four-cylinder engine feels underpowered and coarse. Compass makes sense as a functional wagon for people who crave Jeep style but don’t need go-anywhere Jeep capability. For most other shoppers, better alternatives can be found.


Jeep blazed a new trail for 2007 with its first car-type sport-utility vehicle. The brand-new Compass shared its basic design with the Caliber compact car from Dodge, which, like Jeep, was part of the Chrysler organization.

Seating five, the compact Compass came with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Like Caliber, it was a four-door wagon, but stood taller and had Jeep styling cues, 1-inch higher ground clearance, and a more sophisticated AWD system. Jeep offered Sport and Limited models. Sole engine was a 172-horsepower four-cylinder, teaming with a five-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The AWD system lacked low-range gearing, but had a console switch to lock in a 50/50 front/rear power split for better slippery-surface traction below 10 mph.

Standard were antilock braking, curtain side airbags, and traction/antiskid control with rollover sensors. Full-length roof rails and a high rear spoiler were standard. Removable, washable vinyl flooring covered the cargo area. Available features included front side airbags, heated front seats, and leather upholstery. Also available were a fold-flat front passenger seatback and reclining 60/40 split rear seatbacks. Compass competitors included the Honda CR-V, Suzuki Grand Vitara, and Toyota RAV4. Jeep also launched a new Patriot model this year, with more traditional styling.

Yearly Updates

2008 Compass
Changes were modest for the 2008 Compass. All models now had air conditioning and a tire-pressure monitor. A navigation system was available for the Limited. Jeep’s CVT added Auto Stick manual selection of virtual “gears.” On front-drive Sport models with the CVT, a 158-hp, 2.0-liter engine was a credit option.
2009 Compass
The 2009 Jeep Compass got a redesigned interior, and newly available was Chrysler’s uconnect multimedia suite, which could include a wireless cell-phone link, 30-gigabyte hard drive for storing digital music and picture files, and a navigation system with real-time traffic information. The new interior had upgrades to the instrument panel, door trim panel, and center console to go along with chrome accents, a removable carpeted load floor, and illuminated cupholders.
2010 Compass
The 2010 Jeep Compass saw no major changes.
2011 Compass
The 2011 Jeep Compass undergoes a substantial freshening, which includes freshened styling, a revised interior, new suspension tuning, and greater off-road capability.
2012 Compass
There were no changes of note to the 2012 Jeep Compass.
2013 Compass
This compact SUV saw no major changes for 2013.
2014 Compass
The Jeep Compass got a new optional 6-speed automatic transmission and slight tweaks to the exterior and interior styling. It also gained new front-side airbags and an optional rearview camera.


transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Jeep’s 172-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mates with either a five-speed manual gearbox or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). A six-speed automatic was optional in 2014. A Compass may have front-drive or all-wheel drive. Some 2WD Compass models with CVT contain a lower-powered 2.0-liter engine, which was a credit option when new.

dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 158
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 141
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
CVT automatic


dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/144
Engine HP 172
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 165
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
CVT automatic
6-speed automatic

1. EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years.

Road Test

Acceleration is adequate away from a stop and around town, but modest reserve power demands careful planning before passing or highway merging. Compasses made available for tests have periodically hesitated during acceleration, too. A test AWD Limited with manual transmission accelerated to 60 mph in a lackluster 9.3 seconds. Manual-transmission versions feel only slightly quicker than those with the CVT. One manual-shift test model suffered ragged clutch action.

Fuel economy is on par for this class. Test AWD models with CVT have averaged 17.2 mpg in mostly city driving, and 22.4 to 24.4 mpg with more highway use. An AWD model with manual transmission averaged 19.1 mpg in tests that included gas-eating performance runs. Each Compass uses regular-grade gasoline.

Comfortable and stable on the road, the Compass has a suspension that easily absorbs most imperfections. Some floatiness occurs over larger dips, as does jiggling over highway expansion joints. Little difference is evident between models with 17- and 18-inch tires.

Accurate, natural-feeling steering helps give the Compass satisfactory road behavior. Slight wander in gusty crosswinds flaws an otherwise confident straight-line composure. The body leans moderately in corners, but while the Compass rides lower than most compact SUVs, it feels no more nimble. A large turning circle hurts close-quarters maneuverability. Brakes have good pedal feel.

Somewhat quieter than the related Dodge Caliber, the Compass does emit unrefined engine growl during acceleration. Wind rush is decently squelched, but road noise is fairly prominent, especially at highway speeds.

Gauges are easy to read. Large, simple audio and climate controls are within easy reach, though the manual transmission’s shift lever can block access to climate dials. Available rear-facing fold-down speakers in the liftgate are a picnic bonus. Compass has not offered the Caliber’s chilled glovebox compartment. Cabin decor is a tinge higher-grade than Caliber’s, but still imparts a cut-rate feel with lots of hard plastic surfaces.

Front headroom is generous. Seats are mounted higher in the Compass than the Caliber, expanding ample legroom. The available height-adjustable seat (if installed) is a boon for driver comfort, but still has not created ideal positioning for all test-drivers. Mounting a fold-out cell phone/MP3 player holder in the center console is a thoughtful touch, but it obscures the armrest and interferes with manual shifter use. Visibility to front corners and over-the-shoulder is impeded by thick roof pillars, and to the rear by headrests.

Adult-size headroom and legroom should please backseat riders. However, the flat, soft seat lacks support and may prove uncomfortable on longer trips. Low step-in height is appealing, but narrow door openings hinder entry/exit.

Cargo space is enhanced by the flat-folding front-passenger seat. Unlike Dodge’s Caliber, rear seatbacks fold completely flat. When open, the hatch barely clears the head of six-footers. The handy load-floor liner removes for easy cleaning. Decent interior storage is helpful, though door map pockets are too small to be really useful.


Model Tested: 2008 Compass AWD Limited w/CVT

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 3
Fuel Economy - 5
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 5
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 6
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
Cargo Room - 8


Value - 4

Total: 52


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.7 173.4 69.3 65.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
60.7 13.6 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.7 39.9 40.6 39.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Compass 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: A/C compressor may rattle due to slugging with liquid refrigerant during spirited driving requiring improved compressor, condenser, accumulator, lines, etc. (2007)
Description: Squeak from clutch pedal requires special grease in the master cylinder pushrod socket. (2007)
Engine noise
Description: The engine camshaft cap bolts might not have been adequately tightened and could cause damage to camshaft or camshaft bearings. (2007)
Keyless entry
Description: The remote start feature may not work intermittently and commands from the remote keyless entry may work intermittently vehicles fitted with a remote start kit at the dealership. (2007)
Keyless entry
Description: The engine may not crank (nor start) and the remote keyless entry may not work due to a damaged wireless control module in the vehicle caused by static electricity discharge when the key is inserted into the ignition. (2007-08)
Manual transmission
Description: Gears that are difficult to shift may require replacing synchronizer rings. (2008)
Description: The odometer/trip switch may not work due to a problem with the network requiring reflashing the instrument cluster module. (2007)
Suspension problems
Description: Some vehicles have a hub flange that does not match specifications. The steering knuckle assembly might require replacement. (2010)
Description: Noises when the blower is running caused by debris require cleaning the blower and installing a screen on the air intake duct. (2007)
Description: In dry conditions (winter) static discharge can damage the wireless control module causing intermittent no-crank or no-start. (2007-08)
Description: In salt-belt regions, corroded front or rear crossmembers might need replacement. (2007)
Transmission problems
Description: Some vehicles with the CVT transmission may suffer spark knock (pinging) under light acceleration when the ambient temperature is above 60 degrees requiring reprogramming the engine control module. (2007)

Recall History

2007 Compass
Description: ABS control module software on some vehicles may cause rear brakes to lock up during certain braking conditions.
2007 Compass 4×4 w/rear disc brakes
Description: Length of rear wheel hub mounting bolts on some vehicles may prevent actuation of parking brake.
2007 Compass
Description: Owner’s manual may not contain required higher rollover risk warning information.
2007 Compass
Description: The pivot bushings in vehicles with oversized accelerator pedal bearing pockets may become dislodged and potentially cause the accelerator pedal to bind or stick. Should the pedal bind or become stuck, it can be overcome by smart brakes which override the accelerator pedal in certain conditions. Chrysler will notify owners and dealers will inspect and replace all affected accelerator pedal assemblies free of charge.
2009 Compass
Description: A new adhesive used in the power train control module (PCM) manufacturing process can cause the printed circuit board to break. This can cause the engine to stall and cause a crash without warning. Dealers will replace the PCM free of charge.
2009-10 Compass with aftermarket Marathon seat covers
Description: Marathon aftermarket seat covers may prevent the side airbags from deploying properly in a crash. (2009)
2010-12 Compass
Description: Faulty software may cause delayed or non-deployment of seatbelt pretensioners or side airbags in a rollover.
2011 Compass
Description: Vehicles may have been built with a missing or incorrectly installed steering column pivot rivet. This could compromise the ability of the steering column to support the occupant loads in the event of a frontal crash, decreasing the effectiveness of the frontal impact safety system. As a result, the condition may increase the potential for injury in a frontal crash. Dealers will inspect for rivet presence and alignment and repair the steering column pivot as required, free of charge.
2012 Compass
Description: Some vehicles may have a damaged rollover valve in the fuel-tank assembly, which can cause a leak and possibly a fire.
2012 Compass
Description: Incorrectly manufactures transfer tube could interrupt fuel flow from the secondary side to the primary side of the fuel tank and could cause the engine to stall.
2014 Compass with 2.4-liter engine
Description: Debris in balance shafts may cause loss of oil pressure and result in engine stalling or failure.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


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