The Best & Worst Years Of Jeep Compass

The Jeep Compass is a compact SUV that first hit the scene as a 2007 model. Since then, there have been some winning models and a few Jeep wishes would go away. If you plan to buy a used SUV, you want to know the best and worst years of Jeep Compass models.

Our in-depth guide gives you five Compass models worth buying and five that should be avoided. We also look at the top Compass problems and answer your most important questions.

Best Jeep Compass Model Years

Newer Jeep Compass models seem to have better rankings overall. We recommend the 2022 and 2023 Jeep Compass if you can afford something newer. There are also good ratings on the 2009, 2021 and 2020 Jeep Compass SUVs.

Here are a few details about each model, highlighting the top specs.

1. 2022 Jeep Compass

2022 Jeep Compass - one of the best models

At this point, you can drive a like-new Compass for the price of a used SUV. With the 2022 Compass models, it’s easy to afford the latest, greatest technologies and equipment. Plus, these models are still covered by a factory warranty, so there’s less to worry about.

With five trim levels to choose from (Sport, Latitude, Latitude Lux, Limited and Trailhawk), you can get the SUV that best fits your lifestyle. These all come with a 2.4L inline-four and a six- or nine-speed automatic transmission, depending on whether it is equipped with FWD or AWD. 

2. 2023 Jeep Compass

As the newest model in the lineup, the 2023 Compass has a lot to offer. This 2023 SUV builds on what is already done right. That’s why there are minimal complaints from drivers.

The only big change that’s worth mentioning is the addition of the turbo engine. It makes the SUV more powerful while retaining efficiency. 

3. 2009 Jeep Compass

Taking a step into the past, the 2009 Compass is also worthy of attention. It offers a comfortable ride and superior driving dynamics. For the model year, it’s also quite efficient. 

You can find a great bargain by now on this model. Just make sure it’s been well-maintained and you should be able to get plenty of life out of it.

4. 2021 Jeep Compass 

Another newer model is the 2021 Compass. It has great reliability scores and is expected to last many years. With six trim levels, it’s easy to get exactly what you want. 

This Compass also has no recalls, proving that it is a solid build. If you can find a used one, you may be interested in the 80th Anniversary special-edition trim that was produced. 

5. 2020 Jeep Compass

2020 Jeep Compass - one of the best model years

The 2019 Jeep Compass was a disaster, but the 2020 model arrived and made everything better. It also came with some updated safety features, making it even better for families.

You can’t go wrong with the 2.4L four-cylinder engine that puts out 180 horsepower. It pairs with either a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmission, as well as FWD or AWD. 

Worst Jeep Compass Model Years

There have been some major complaints among used Jeep Compass models. The most concerning include the 2018 and 2007 Jeep Compass. We also recommend avoiding the 2012, 2017 and 2014 Compass models.

Here are the important details, including the most significant failures of each model year.

1. 2018 Jeep Compass

2018 Jeep Compass - one of the worst years

It simply can’t get much worse than the 2018 Jeep Compass model. Drivers are consistently complaining about the possibility of engine failure, which should be unheard of on a newer model such as this one.

It seems that the car will shut down while driving and require expensive repairs. There are also plenty of electrical system issues surrounding this model, with complaints starting at just 20,000 miles. 

2. 2007 Jeep Compass 

As the very first model, it’s not unusual that there are major problems with the 2007 Compass. The most reported problem is the defective control arm, which can suddenly break because of bad bushings. Even low mileage vehicles were suffering from this problem, in as little as 55,000 miles.

The electrical system is also a concern, with drivers talking about a malfunctioning Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM). On average, you could spend $1,500 or more to replace it.

3. 2012 Jeep Compass

Things were going okay for the Compass after a few years, and then the 2012 model came off the production line. This SUV has been nothing but trouble for users and should be avoided at all costs.

The most significant issue is with the transmission. The CVT fails prematurely, leaving owners with a junk vehicle. The suspension may also need extensive work, with tie-rods, bushings and control arms being replaced. Finally, there are reports of the brakes not working as they should, making this model a complete clunker.

4. 2017 Jeep Compass

During the 2017 model year, Jeep released a new Compass. Sadly, it’s highly undesirable because of the engine defects. These motors can go through too much oil and die prematurely.

Electrical issues are also common. Additionally, the tires wore out fast, but this shouldn’t be an issue now on used models. It simply is something to examine as you look at how this SUV was built. 

5. 2014 Jeep Compass

2014 Jeep Compass - one of the worst models

We put the 2014 Compass at the bottom of our list because the issues aren’t quite as extensive. There are several complaints, but the majority of them aren’t too worrisome.

The most common is a loud noise from the brakes. There’s also a possibility of a defective wireless control module (WCM), causing the vehicle not to start. Some drivers also say that the remote keyless entry system stops working if this module fails. 

Most Common Jeep Compass Problems

Based on consumer information and RepairPal data, we’ve been able to figure out the most common problems with the Jeep Compass. This SUV can suffer from a no-start situation, grinding brakes and an overheating transmission. It also has control arm failure complaints and TIPM defects. 

Here are some more details about each of these issues.

No-Start Situation

For one reason or another, many Compass models struggle to start because of defects. In some situations, it’s due to a module defect that prevents the key fob from working.

Other times, there are engine problems that keep the Compass from running. Either way, it’s possible to see the Check Engine Light with any issue preventing the motor from running properly.

Grinding Brakes

mechanic check brakes

Customers are often horrified that their brakes sound so terrible when trying to stop. The annoying grinding sound can bring a lot of unwanted attention. Thankfully, there isn’t usually an issue with stopping the SUV, which is a plus.

However, Jeep does recommend having anti-vibration brackets installed on the brake calipers to stop the vibration. It’s just one more thing that Compass owners need to take their SUV to the dealership for.

Overheating Transmission

Automatic Transmission Won't Shift into the Third Gear

The Jeep Compass has a CVT installed for some years. As with many cars that have switched over to CVTs, there have been some problems. 

Certain models tend to overheat, which is expensive to repair. If drivers have a faulty transmission that goes out while on the road, it can also lead to a safety concern. 

Control Arm Failure

bad control arm bushing

As previously discussed, several Compass models are equipped with faulty control arm bushings or tie rods. Either issue can lead to unusual suspension noises, especially when traveling over a bump. These problems also cause premature wear to the tires.

To work on the suspension and replace parts can be expensive. Add in the cost of tires, and it’s becoming too much to own some Compass SUVs. 

TIPM Defects

car light switch on

The very first Compass (2007) is particularly known for its TIPM troubles. When the TIPM fails, it can lead to several different electrical concerns. Some owners noticed that the door locks don’t work correctly, while others complained about erratic windshield wiper operation. There are also stories of the headlights, dash lights, fuel pump and other vital components acting up, leading technicians on a wild goose chase to figure out what’s wrong. 

Once the TIPM is determined to be faulty, there’s an expensive repair waiting. On average, it costs $1,500 or more to replace. 

Which year is the Jeep Compass most reliable?

Consumer reviews suggest that several of the new models have a lot to offer. We recommend the 2020-2023 Jeep Compass if you are hunting for something newer. Otherwise, you can get a great deal on a 2009 Jeep Compass and still enjoy decent reliability scores. 

Is the Jeep Compass a good car to buy?

The Jeep Compass earns a score of 4.0 out of 5.0 from RepairPal. That score places it 11th out of 26th vehicles, so it’s just above average among compact SUVs. It also features average repair and maintenance costs ($526 yearly), so you shouldn’t spend too much on it unless you choose one that’s riddled with defects.

At what mileage does a Jeep Compass start having problems?

Some problems occur shortly after ownership, such as complaints about the suspension that wears out tires straight from the factory. However, most of the bigger problems may not reveal themselves until 75,000 miles or longer. That’s why it’s important to look at the service and maintenance history of any used vehicle you want to purchase.

Is the Compass or Cherokee more reliable?

According to RepairPal data, the Cherokee scores slightly higher than the Compass for reliability. The Cherokee takes the 9th spot out of 26 compact SUVs, while the Compass is rated 11th. Both have reasonable ownership costs, but you need to research them to ensure you choose a reliable model year.

It’s not difficult to find a good Jeep Compass if you remember to read through existing customer reviews. No one is going to be as honest as those who drive the SUV. It’s also important to check the recalls to make sure there aren’t any serious safety hazards to be concerned with.

While there are some Jeep Compass models you should stay clear of, there are also some that could provide many years of travel. Find a reliable model within your budget so you don’t get stuck paying for unnecessary repairs. 


Categories: General

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