My wife and I bought our '08 Compass Sport back in October. At the time, we traded in both our 2000 Ford Focus SE and 2003 Chevy Tracker, and went down to being a one car family.
We now have 22k miles on it and no problems as of yet. Which is very good, because we'd be pretty pissed if a brand new car had any issues what-so-ever.
We would buy another one in a heart beat. With our Compass, we have a car that gets decent mileage, has plenty of room, does great in the snow, has AWD, came with a factory roof rack w/150 lbs rating, and we got the dealer to throw in a matching factory rim and tire... all for around $20k. And, despite what people say, we actually love the CVT tranny.
When we were shopping for a car, we realized that a lot of things we wanted were contradictory... AWD and good mileage, small but lots of room, etc.
The Compass is very utilitarian, as it fills many rolls well but I also think this is why the reviews have been so negative. Because it is a bit of a niche vehicle, it often gets compared somewhat dissimilar vehicles. Like SUVs that cost $5-$10k more, where it then gets panned for not being an off-road vehicle, lacking space, or cheap plastics. It'll also get compared against very small cars, and then gets trashed for getting mileage in the mid-20's.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think the Compass does a lot of things well, at the expensive of not being amazing at anything. I should say that I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing.
Would we buy one again, yes :-)