As for Jeep brand.. they have had their issues with reliability in the past, and as recently as yesterday I read an article that for customer perception, the lowest ranking marques for reliability include Jeep (also landrover, suzuki and some other). Is it deserved? I personally don't think so - 5 or 6 years ago things may have been different. Historically Jeep has had the rugged image
Now in terms of the compass, obviously this was a departure from what a traditional Jeep is, which is a good thing for some, and a bad thing for many jeep purists. Obviously the compass is on the same platform and is essentially the same vehicle as the caliber and the patriot and is more "light duty" than the traditional jeeps.
For reliability, we've had no issues so far, albeit the thing is new. 2 recalls for the compass, one of which was just to supplememnt the owners manual for some literature.
I'm sure there will be horror stories out there as there are with every manufacturer (for example I almost met my maker when the transmission in my acura TL decided to blow on the highway).
Your comment about it getting decent reviews on msn autos is interesting. I noticed the same thing. Magazine reviews were often lukewarm due to the styling, but actual owners seem to be resoundingly happy with the vehicle which is what matters.
My 2 cents (you can read my personal review in the "everything else" section of the forum) regarding the compass is, it does what it is meant to do, and it does it well.
For value, especially in the realm of canadian pricing it is almost unmatched - although you do have some sacrifices (seat is not power e.g) along with it, which to me are fine.
On a sticker of about 28,750 canadian for a very well appointed limited 4x4, I negotiated 1500 off so our price going in was 27,250ish plus the admin fees. So this is the top of the heap optionwise for that price.
Looking at others in the market,
BASE 2wd CRV with freight and PDI $29,205. The EX-L with a more appropriate level of optioning, with AWD is 36105. I found a similar thing when looking at a RAV4.
So for us it came down to this, for 8-10k MORE in price, did the other small utes make sense? They didn't for us. Peole will say resale on the imports will be better, but I was not looking for a 650-700 a month car payment or to carry 8-10k extra debt for 5 years just so it was worth more in the end of its life. I would hope it would be worth more lol..
We looked at the Escape, and although it was OK, it was unspectacular, and even with deep discounting from Ford, it was barely at par pricewise.
the pontiac torrent and chevy equinox were more expensive and to me less satisfying.
Looking at the Korean offerings, the santa fe was pricier although not bad, the tucson wasn't quite what I wanted and optioned well was pricier.
So overall that is what I found. I wanted the caliber originally, but found it seemingly too cramped from a roofline point of view.