Jeep Compass reliability
I only thought I would chime in about long term reliability. I tend to keep vehicles until the rust in New York kills them. I've had Chevy's Fords and Mopars, and eventually they all rust into the ground. Each has its own mechanical quirks that I will hate when I fix them, but overall (and I have only once bought a Toyota for the kid, I will only buy US) powertrain reliability is pretty good for 100K to 150K miles.
The last Mopar I bought before my wife's 2007 Compass was a 1997 Dodge Intrepid. That car was an absolute tank of reliability, as far as I experienced. I just use some regular maintenance and always use synthetic oil, but I could not have been much happier with that car in terms of drivetrain (26-27 on highways) and solid construction. Very solid, good engineering. Lots of room and had superb traction in snow, best FWD drive ever bought. (3.5L)
The Compass was on paper the ideal car for my wife, who had to drive 20 or so miles and around on back roads for her work. So I opted for AWD instead of FWD. Besides, no Jeep-labeled vehicle should EVER be ordered with only 2WD. Sorry, but that should be a law somewhere.
I'm not totally unhappy with the Compass. I can give you the good points:
Rides pretty good with good tires on it. OEMs were junk. Performance with CVT is adequate on highway, not great, but OK. I personally don't like the CVT "feel" and would certainly replace with 6speed conventional today. The Compass does the 4WD in snow very well and is certainly as capable as any non-off-road driver should ever need. We own a remote cottage place that has some hills and gets bad winter snow, and the little Jeep has always made it through. It carries OK with the rear seats down. I don't like the limited volume due to the slope back. I would have rather had the Patriot. (couldn't wait for it at the time, when it first came out) Rear seat room is very good. Lighting is great I think.
And so far, at now 8years and 100K miles, no major problems, knock on wood.
And the negatives: cheap interior-no surprises to anyone. Uncomfortable seats and armrests, etc. I'm pretty disappointed with mileage on it, for its size. Mediocre I feel for the "power". I don't like winding engines up to 6000 all the time to get any oomph out of them.
Construction and build quality are poor by my standards. I would say it was designed on the cheapo, to replace the Neons and such. I had a 1983 Dodge Omni based car and I would rate it about the same quality. It will not last I think too much longer without major work. The body is rusting along all the spot welds and panel seams. Get underneath it and it has lots and lots of creeping rust. At 20 or 30K miles, I had a bad front end ball joint. No part available separately, had to buy the whole lower control arm. Very easy repair, but too darn expensive. Then the other side went out. The front suspension sway bar links are constantly wearing out. Rear brakes have a bad flex hose interference in their design. At about 90K, the entire rear suspension was junk. I had to replace every, and I really mean every, part, links trailing arms, etc. All the rubber was rotted, and they cannot be repaired. The rear axle half shafts were rusting into the hubs. I had to drill out the cotter pins. The splines are actually going bad. Both rear hubs went bad. The brake backing plates rusted straight thru. The subframe is rusting badly, and they just sent me a recall on it. I didn't have a huge problem with replacing the rear suspension, but even at online discount prices, I spent a grand or so on parts. And parts had to be cut out with the grinding wheel to remove some of them. I wrote in an earlier post about the alternator design. Its not unique to the Compass. But while removing it, I just found so many more things that were rusting to the point of service life, its scaring me.
Lots of little seat parts and trim seem to break off, and the door hinge design rusts really badly. I could not keep them lubricated enough to not squeek horribly. Problem is usually only my wife drives it, and so the other three doors don't get used much. And they freeze up. Impossible to fix w/o replacement.
I'm pretty sure in the next two years, enough stuff will be rusting away to start at the point of diminishing returns. Maybe 10 years is good enough for what is really a pretty base economy car chassis, its just not really a Jeep in my book. Unless my mind changes, I will probably get a new Patriot soon if they've nicer-ed up the interior and given it a six speed. Overall the car has kept her safe in winter, and that made me feel secure, and carried enough stuff to our cottage to be really useful. The Escape was my other option at the time. I'll have to research to see if it is built better. As I said, I'd like to keep them a long time. If its basic repairs or even more, I will do it myself and help the economics of it I just hate dealing with dealers so much. Hope this rant is helpful to someone. It's good to get it off my chest. cheers, John