2021 Jeep Compass Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Powertrain and structure issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Jeep is known for making capable, sporty SUVs, so how does the 2021 Jeep Compass stack up? According to the manufacturer, it’s going to help “make an impression,” but that might not be a good thing. In fact, this defective powertrain and shoddy structure are what is causing a stir, but not for favorable reasons.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2021 Jeep Compass

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Fuel/propulsion System
Electrical System
Vehicle Speed Control
Lane Departure: Warning
Power Train

Problems with the Powertrain

For a vehicle to be reliable and dependable, the transmission must work as expected. However, Jeep Compass owners are flooding the internet with complaints about the powertrain.

Here’s one from Edmunds. “The problem is the transmission – leave it in automatic mode and you’ll never see that power, it shifts into high gears early and STAYS THERE… Oh, if the problem ended there. While this technique works (I use it every time I go out), the engineers have designed a delay in the downshifting to prevent numbskulled drivers from downshifting too fast into a gear that’s too low.  Wish they wouldn’t do that, I’m not an idiot.  At the very least, they could make this delay settable in the Settings on the info screen.  Would also help if it had shifter paddles flanking the steering wheel but I suspect the built in radio buttons are in the way of that idea.”

The powertrain is a basic component of any vehicle. With that in mind, any decent automaker should know how to make one. However, Jeep can’t seem to get any basic systems right. Just look at a recent class action lawsuit that involved the previous Compass model. It appears that oil was burning far faster than it should have, resulting in critically low levels. Not only was this defect causing the Compass to stall, but it would also lose power without warning in the middle of the road. It’s unclear if the 2021 Compass suffers from the same defect, but it shows how incompetent the brand is. A stalled Compass is sure to “make an impression,” one that causes the driver deep embarrassment.

Problems with the Structure

The criticism goes beyond the consumer but overflows to the automotive publications. No one seems impressed with the build quality of the new Compass.

Here’s what Car and Driver had to say. “Its ride and interior quality are less refined than many of its direct rivals…it’s one of the least desirable compact crossovers.”

At this point, one has to wonder if Jeep knows how to build vehicles at all. Just look at Service Bulletin #S2008000176. It shows that the heated seats can’t be used in any level but High. To resolve the situation, drivers have to physically shut down the SUV and turn it back on. It’s like rebooting a computer when it’s not working right, except the driver might be in the middle of the highway when their rear-end is being burned. It would be difficult to do a “reboot” right then. What kind of impression does Jeep hope this Compass will make? Because right now, most people agree it belongs in the junkyard.

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Complaint Data

CategoryElectrical System
DateFeb 06, 2023
It's happened 3 times now. I'll be driving and everything is fine, and suddenly an error will pop up on the dash that will read “coolant temp too high” and the entire car will power down while driving. It's almost caused me to wreck all 3 times. The coolant had been at a normal temperature all 3 times. 2 of the times it has been able to turn right back on and continue driving, 1 time I had to sit and let the car cool down for 30 minutes before it would turn back on (it was the middle of summer)
CategoryVehicle Speed Control
DateOct 24, 2022
Turn on cruise control, press +, hold until the rental car begins to accelerate, and release. Car continues to accelerate. This is not the same as my 2014 ford fusion hybrid that accelerates only as long as the button is being depressed. The mileage of the rental vehicle is unknown. I do not wish to receive safety recall alerts from nhtsa because the vehicle is a rental from enterprise in lake park, fl.
CategoryEngine, Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
DateMay 19, 2022
My 2021 jeep compass transmission and front camera has been causing me problems. My car for months has been jumping out of gear and jerking forward. The jerk get to a point where it feels as if someone just hit me from behind. These jerks almost caused me to get into about 3 accidents where I almost hit the person in front of me. In addition one time when I was at a red light and switched from brakes to gas as I was in drive my car did not go forward but reversed instead. My car has been in the shop for over 150 days with 7 different service orders. They tried to fix the jerking but was unsuccessful since it would go away for a short period and then get worse each day. Now for the front camera when I first bought the car about brand new I turned on the lane departure warning and a light popped on saying that it was not working. They replaced the camera and now I had a forward crash collision light and crusie control light turn on which has to do with the front camera and was just switched out again. My car is still in the shop after being there for over 2 months and the jerking still needs to looked at and addressed as well as the car driving in reverse.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateApr 16, 2022
The 2021 jeep compass has been taken to the local jeep dealer more than 5 times due to vehicle constantly blowing hot air during hot summer days. Ac still doesnt work an with hot air blowing it starts to fog up front door windows.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings, Lane Departure: Warning
DateDec 11, 2021
Lane assist and front collision camera ceased functioning... Yes available for inspection lane assist and traffic collision camera went out while driving in the rain on the freeway. Traffic came to a quick stop and was able to stop without assistance by sliding off to shoulder, was able to miss the other cars but it sure was close. Took to dealer (leased dec. 2021) with 3,100 miles on it. Told I would have to leave for 72 hours while they figured out what the issue is. (no rental provided). Have not taken in yet. Drives okay without the lane assist and front camera but you cannot rely on these components. Especially when needed. No one has inspected yet. Warning lights are still on dashboard. The warning message came on as the components quit working.
DateNov 29, 2021
When driving this car, the steering wheel sometimes pulls strongly to the left or the right, making it more difficult to control the direction of the vehicle. This is particularly problematic when on a freeway with narrow lanes and lots of traffic. Sometimes it simply pulls left or right for a brief moment. Other times, such as when going around a tight curve at a high speed, it pulls strongly for a protracted time. It didn't cause an accident. I was able to overcome the pulling forces exerted on the steering wheel by the car, but it made it much more difficult to keep close control of the vehicle location at high speeds. It is intermittent, but happens typically a few times an hour.
DateNov 18, 2021
A noise, coming front the front end of my 2021 jeep compass is generated while is driving at low velocity (15 mph or slower). The noise intensity increases when the jeep is driven for over an hour. I took the jeep to dealer on nov 3, 2021, with 701 miles to have it checked and repaired. At that moment, the service manager indicated me that the noise is coming from the rack and pinion and the manufacturer has indicated that this noise is normal, but they are consulting this with their engineers. See attached service invoice dated. Nov 3, 2021. On nov-17, 2021 I went back to the dealer I was able to talk with the service manager and he informed me that their instruction is not to perform any repair until receive a final decision from the manufacturer. At that moment the jeep had 1000 miles. He told me that other 2021 jeep compass and cherokee clients have the same problem. He did not provide me a repair or invoice receive of this visit he told me to use previous service invoice if needed for future reference. If this steering component breaks or got locks, I will lose control and could have an accident. In addition, this is a new car and the front-end sound like an old car. Please help. Thanks
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateNov 08, 2021
On friday, november 5th I was driving my 2021 jeep compass when it suddenly stopped in the middle of the road and the message came on 'vehicle not in park' and 'key fib not found.' I pulled into a shopping complex and called the dealer napleton chrysler in clermont, fl and was advised to call chrysler roadside assistant. I called and a tow truck came and took the vehicle to the dealership. On 11/06 greg serviced my vehicle and he said that the battery was faulty and he changed it and he also changed a part in the glove compartment. I asked him why should a 2021 vehicle has this problem and he said he did not know and he was sending the battery to chrysler. I took possession on 11/06. On 11/07 I drove to work and on coming home the same incident happened. This time I had to wait about 3 hours for a tow truck to come and then since I had to go to work the next day went to get a rental. Did not get home until after 10:45pm. I am still waiting to get a call from the dealership. This is unacceptable and a serious accident can happen. I do not want to keep this vehicle.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System, Power Train
DateAug 27, 2021
I purchased this vehicle in july 2021. I drive it 2-3 times per week. Each week I put in between - in gas to bring the fuel level back up to the full mark. The jeeps does not have good fuel economy. It definitely does not reach 22-25mpg. I drive it about 30minutes each way; with a few stops in between at about 40mph. Also, the jeep makes a lot of noise to climb steep hills. The noise almost sounds like when you put the car in a lower gear and the car is trying to rev up to the next gear.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateApr 14, 2021
Tl* the contact owns a 2021 jeep compass. The contact stated while driving at 40 mph in the rain, the vehicle spun out of control and crashed into a side barrier. The contact stated that she had the tires rotated a month prior and was relating the crash to the tires balding. The contact stated no warning light was illuminated. The air bags failed to deploy. A police report was filed. There were no injuries sustained. The vehicle was not drivable and was towed to steve landers toyota (10825 colonel glenn rd, little rock, ar 72204). The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The vehicle had not been repaired as of yet. The manufacturer had been informed of the failure and had somebody inspect the vehicle to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer stated that the failure was related to the parking brake being engaged. The failure mileage was approximately 12,000.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System, Unknown Or Other
DateApr 08, 2021
My husband and I buy two jeeps. The reason I choose mine and he choose his, was fuel economy. But the jeep compass is not performing at all to the standards. I did contact customer service and they were very nice setting an appointment for the compass to have a check and see what was wrong. Please find attached the results of the check-up. As you can see in the report from the mechanics, not even the car lies in regards to this situation clearly says that only does 13. 5 miles per gallon. The advertising also attached says an average of 25 mpg 22 mpg on city and 31 mpg on highway. I will understand if perhaps the car does 20 mpg in hwy and 18 mpg in the city since people have different styles of driving and that will reflect in their gasoline consumption. But this little beautiful car does not have a v8 engine to do only 13. 5 and it says so on the dashboard. Placing a car in a computer system to check it is also a bit tricky because the computer will analyze if there is a bad part in the car, the computer will not be able to detect a poorly construct part that causes that huge amount of gas use per gallon.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateOct 08, 2020
Vin not existing. This vehicle is listed for

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a dealer incentive of ,...... I asked to purchase an make delivery. Is there any reason vin not found. Is this a real car.?

Who are we? We are Lemberg Law, a Consumer Law Firm

Lemberg Law is a consumer law firm helping victims of bad manufacturing and run-arounds from auto companies. We are ranked A+ by the BBB. Call our Helpline today!  There is no charge unless we win.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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  • Bengt H

    Kjøpt demo Compass S 2021 modell. 22′ km. Bilen lever sitt eget liv om natten. Parklysene kommer på el motoren summer og speilene kommer ut. Noen som har opplevd lignende.

    Translation: Purchased demo Compass S 2021 model. 22′ km. The car lives its own life at night. The parking lights come on, the engine buzzes and the mirrors come out. Anybody who has experienced similar?

  • Grace V

    I purchased 2021 jeep compass 12 miles on when purchased its 2022 check engine light is on warranty 60000 a course i have 64000 it never fails. It’s getting harder to start I have the oil change religiously a censor went out a month ago What next, I’m single I thought I had a good car so many problems.

  • samantha

    my compass started to leak oil early on. it has stalled on me once when turning. it has a 60000 mile powertrain warranty. i have it scheduled for the dealership at 9 am monday. i get nervous about this bc i didnt buy it at this dealership and i have struggled with dealerships not wanting to work on a vehicle and then making it out that it is my fault. i really wish i could get out of this compass. i need something dependable as i drive often.

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