Smaller and more fuel-efficient than your average Jeep, the Compass is a compact SUV that’s powered by an efficient four-cylinder engine. However, while it would seem that a more compact, economical Jeep would be a good idea on paper, the 2009 Jeep Compass suffers from some seriously poor execution. In spite it receiving a significant interior upgrade, the 2009 Compass remains a difficult vehicle to truly recommend.
A five-passenger compact SUV, the 2009 Jeep Compass is available in two trim levels: Sport and Limited. The base model Sport comes with standard features that include 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, foglamps, air-conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, and a stereo system that’s equipped with four speakers, a CD player, and an auxiliary audio jack. There is also an ""E"" package available that sees the addition of full power accessories, cruise control, keyless entry, driver-seat height adjustment, reclining rear seats, a removable flashlight, passenger assist handles and stain-resistant upholstery.
The Limited version includes all of the ""E"" package features along with 18-inch alloys, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a leather-bound steering wheel, satellite radio, and a dash-mounted six-CD changer.
Body Styles: compact SUV
Engines: 2.4-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, continuously variable transmission (CVT)
Models: Jeep Compass Sport, Jeep Compass Limited
For 2009, Jeep gave the Compass a significant interior redesign that includes a revised dashboard and better quality materials. Additional sound dampening was also added, and the exhaust tuning was also revised. Newly-optional features such as the hard-drive-based digital music storage system, and the USB audio jack were also revised for 2009.
Smaller and less boxy than the Jeep Patriot, the Jeep Compass nonetheless maintains the exterior patina of a traditionally macho Jeep off-road vehicle. As tall as a conventional SUV, the 2009 Jeep Compass also has good ground clearance.
The interior of the Jeep Compass received a major overhaul for 2009. The new interior design is comprised of smooth surfaces made from non-abrasive plastic materials. The armrest was also modified to be more ergonomic. The vehicle’s cargo area is on the small side, but this can be mitigated thanks to fold-flat capabilities for both the rear seats and front-passenger seats.
However, in spite of the redesign, the 2009 Jeep Compass’ interior still suffers due to poor quality materials and below average construction. The seats are flat and shapeless, the head restraints are hard, and the steering wheel has an odd feel to it. The switchgear consists of stock Chrysler components that are anything but impressive, the front head restraints are hard as rocks, and the rear head restraints are fixed and rigid. The 2009 Jeep Compass' interior also features huge D-pillars that cause an obstruction to rear visibility.
On the bright side, there are a number of storage slots that are useful as well as an open bin on the passenger side of the dashboard.
Performance & Handling
Despite its reasonably powerful four-cylinder engine, the 2009 Jeep Compass is sluggish in terms of merging and passing. This is especially true of 4WD versions and those equipped with the CVT. Stepping on the gas can also result in the CVT maintaining rpms at redline. Unfortunately, the cabin still lets in a certain amount of road, wind, and engine noise. Where the Compass truly excels is in around town driving. Thanks to large wheels and tires, as well as the vehicle’s direct steering and compact size, it’s quite maneuverable on city streets.
Standard safety features for the 2009 Jeep Compass include stability control, rollover sensor, full-length side curtain airbags, and traction control. Front-seat side airbags are available as an optional feature. The 2009 Jeep Compass received a four-out-of-five-star rating for frontal crash protection and a perfect five star rating for side impacts. Models equipped with side airbags received a top rating of ""good"" in tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on side impacts. However, versions without side airbags received the second-worst rating of ""marginal"" in the same tests.
EPA Fuel Economy
Jeep Compass 2.4-liter four-cylinder: 23/28 mpg city/highway
- Highly maneuverable
- Compact size
- Direct Steering
- Chrysler entertainment system options
- Plenty of convenient storage inside cabin
You Won't Like
- Sluggish acceleration
- Excess of cabin noise
- Poor quality interior
- Seriously underpowered
A highly maneuverable compact size SUV.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Toyota RAV4
- Honda CR-V
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- Subaru Forester