2021 Jeep Compass vs. 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Comparison

Small crossover SUVs offer a blend of utility, style, and affordability that similarly priced sedans just can't match. Consumers love them.

The Jeep Compass and Subaru Crosstrek are strong sellers within their respective lineups, and are among the best-selling small SUVs in America. Both have an outdoorsy image that's undeniably appealing, and each offers more off-roading capability than nearly all other vehicles in the segment. 

If you're trying to decide between these two small SUVs, this 2021 Jeep Compass vs. 2021 Subaru Crosstrek comparison should help.

Price and Value - Find the best car deals!

2021 Jeep Compass Silver Front Quarter

2021 Jeep Compass

Consumers shopping for a 2021 Jeep Compass will find that this small SUV ranges in price from $24,095 to $31,340, not including a $1,495 destination charge.

The basic trim levels are Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk. When shopping, you'll encounter option packages that appear to be additional trim levels: The Freedom Edition package is based on the Sport trim level, while the Altitude and 80th Anniversary packages branch off from the Latitude trim.

Most versions of the Compass have standard front-wheel drive. Budget an additional $1,500 if you want all-wheel drive (AWD).

Jeep offers connected services as an option on all trim levels, except the Sport. Your 1-year trial subscription to SiriusXM Guardian includes remote locking and engine start via the UConnect app, Amazon Alexa, or Google Assistant. In addition, you get automatic collision notification, live emergency assistance, and rapid access to roadside services. 

There's also a vehicle finder feature for unfamiliar parking facilities and both theft alarm notification and stolen vehicle assistance. 

A 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is available on most versions of the 2021 Jeep Compass. The 3-month trial subscription allows you to use 1 GB of data.

Jeep also provides free scheduled maintenance for the first three years or 36,000 miles that you own a 2021 Compass. 

Consumers researching the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek will find that it ranges in price from $22,245 to $27,995, not including a $1,050 destination charge. Trim levels are base, Premium, Sport, and Limited. All-wheel drive is standard across the board.

You might also consider the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, which comes in a single trim level and costs $35,345. It's a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) with AWD. For 2021, the hybrid Crosstrek is eligible for a $4,500 federal tax credit.

Subaru's Starlink connected services are standard starting on the Premium trim. Your 3-year trial subscription includes collision notification, live emergency assistance, and rapid access to roadside help. You also get a 6-month trial with features like remote locking and engine start, a vehicle locator feature, stolen vehicle assistance, and geofencing (so you can set limits for less experienced drivers).

Most 2021 Crosstreks also have a Wi-Fi hotspot. The trial subscription lasts one month (1 GB of data).

Subaru dealerships in certain states offer complimentary scheduled maintenance for the first two years or 24,000 miles that you own a Crosstrek. The program varies by region, so you'll need to check with your dealer.

Advantage: Subaru Crosstrek

Reliability and Quality - Find the best car deals!

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Blue Front Quarter in Snow

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

The Jeep Compass did not rank in the J.D. Power 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study or the 2020 Initial Quality Study. The 2021 Jeep Compass comes with the following warranty and roadside assistance coverage:

  • Standard warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Roadside assistance: 5 years or 60,000 miles

The Subaru Crosstrek also did not rank in the J.D. Power 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study or the 2020 Initial Quality Study. The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek comes with the following warranty and roadside assistance coverage:

  • Standard warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Hybrid system warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles
  • Hybrid battery warranty: 8 years or 100,000 miles (10 years or 150,000 miles in California emissions states)
  • Roadside assistance: 3 years or 36,000 miles

As a brand, Jeep ranks lower than Subaru for dependability, according to J.D. Power. The reverse is true when it comes to initial quality, with Jeep ranking higher than Subaru.

Advantage: Jeep Compass

Performance and Efficiency - Find the best car deals!

2021 Jeep Compass Interior Dashboard

2021 Jeep Compass

Every 2021 Jeep Compass comes with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel-drive models have a 6-speed automatic transmission, while AWD versions use a 9-speed automatic.

The AWD system includes a center differential lock feature, hill descent control, and Jeep's SelecTerrain traction management system with Auto, Mud, Sand, and Snow terrain modes. Only the Compass Trailhawk can get the optional Active Drive Low system, which is more like true four-wheel drive. It has a 4-Low mode that locks the differential and provides a 20:1 crawl ratio, along with an additional Rock terrain setting.

The 2021 Jeep Compass rates 25 mpg in combined city and highway driving regardless of drivetrain, though front-wheel-drive models have a slightly higher EPA highway fuel economy rating.

Base and Premium trim versions of the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek have a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that generates 152 hp and 145 pound-feet of torque. The Sport and Limited upgrade to a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder rated at 182 hp and 176 pound-feet of torque.

With the 2.0-liter engine, you can have either a 6-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that functions like an automatic transmission. The CVT is standard with the 2.5-liter engine.

The Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid has a hybrid-specific version of the 2.0-liter engine rated at 137 hp and 134 pound-feet of torque, an 8.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, two electric motors, and a standard CVT. Total system power on the Crosstrek PHEV is 148 hp.

Starting at the Premium trim level, CVT-equipped Crosstreks get X-Mode, which upgrades the standard AWD system with hill descent control and selectable terrain modes. X-mode is standard on the plug-in hybrid Crosstrek.

The Sport model alone gets a more deluxe version of X-Mode with a Deep Snow/Mud setting that allows more wheel spin in situations where forward momentum is crucial.

When equipped with the 2.0-liter engine, the 2021 Crosstrek rates 30 mpg in combined driving with the CVT and 25 mpg with the 6-speed manual. With the 2.5-liter engine, the Crosstrek earns a 29 mpg combined rating.

When its battery pack has a full charge, the Crosstrek Hybrid is rated for 17 miles of all-electric driving range. This PHEV SUV has a 90 MPGe rating in electric mode and a 35 mpg combined fuel economy rating.

Advantage: Subaru Crosstrek

Safety and Driving Assistance - Find the best car deals!

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport Interior Dashboard

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport

Jeep makes advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) available starting at the Compass Latitude trim level. A major option group includes a forward-collision warning system, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high-beam headlight control. These items are standard on higher trims.

The 2021 Jeep Compass has an overall safety rating of four stars (out of five) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In the rollover resistance category, it earned only three stars – a sub-par rating for a modern crossover SUV.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the 2021 Compass "Good" in most categories, but it received low ratings for headlight performance.

Subaru offers its EyeSight collection of ADAS as standard on all Crosstreks and Crosstrek Hybrids, so long as your vehicle has the CVT. EyeSight is not available with the manual transmission.

The standard EyeSight package includes all the features you can get on the Jeep, except blind-spot warning and automatic high-beams. It adds lane-centering assistance.

With both the adaptive cruise and lane centering activated, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek provides Level 2 semi-autonomous driving assistance. You must keep your hands on the steering wheel, though.

You can get blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic warning as an option on the Crosstrek Premium and Sport trim levels. It's standard on the Limited and Crosstrek Hybrid models. Automatic high-beams and rear automatic emergency braking are standard on the Limited and Hybrid and not available on other trims.

All Subaru Crosstreks equipped with a CVT have a rear-seat reminder system.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek earned a 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for overall crash protection. It received four stars for front-passenger safety.

The IIHS named the regular Crosstrek a Top Safety Pick, while the Crosstrek Hybrid earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating (the Institute's highest designation for safety) thanks to its additional standard safety equipment.

As a brand, Subaru performed better than Jeep in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Tech Experience Study

Advantage: Subaru Crosstrek

Infotainment and Technology - Find the best car deals!

2021 Jeep Compass Silver Rear Quarter

2021 Jeep Compass

The standard infotainment interface in the 2021 Jeep Compass includes a 7-inch touchscreen display and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. You also get two USB inputs (one in the backseat), an auxiliary audio jack, and six audio speakers. The Compass Latitude adds a 6-month trial subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio.

An 8.4-inch touchscreen display is optional on the Latitude and standard on the higher trim levels. You can get it with or without factory navigation. If you opt for the nav system, Jeep includes a 5-year subscription to SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link services.

An upgraded Alpine audio system with nine speakers is optional on all trim levels, except the Compass Sport.

You'll find a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment display in most 2021 Subaru Crosstreks. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration is standard.

The base model has a single USB input, the Premium has two inputs (both up front), and all other trims have four (two in the backseat). The base Crosstrek has four audio speakers. All other trims come with six, and you can upgrade to an 8-speaker Harman Kardon system.

If you still listen to CDs in the car, the Premium model adds a single-disc player along with a 4-month trial satellite radio trial subscription.

You can also get an 8-inch touchscreen display starting on the Sport trim level. It's available with or without factory navigation and comes with both HD radio and a 3-year subscription to SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. It also allows over-the-air updates and uses near field communication (NFC) to speed up phone pairing.

Advantage: Neither. The Subaru has a couple unique features, but otherwise these two are so closely matched that you'll want to try out both and decide which is easier to use.

Comfort and Utility - Find the best car deals!

2021 Subaru Crosstrek Blue Rear Quarter Kayaks on Roof

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

Standard amenities on the 2021 Jeep Compass include dual-zone automatic climate control, 6-way manual adjustment (including seat height) for both the driver and front-passenger seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and rear air-conditioning vents.

The Latitude adds a keyless access system (the remote can stay in your pocket or purse). An 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel are optional. 

You can equip the Limited and Trailhawk with an 8-way power passenger seat, ventilated front seats, and driver memory settings. These models also come with leather upholstery.

When its rear seats are occupied, the Jeep Compass provides 27.2 cubic feet of luggage space. Folding down its 60/40-split rear seat yields a maximum cargo capacity of 59.8 cubic feet. A power liftgate is optional on the Limited and Trailhawk.

Standard equipment on the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek includes single-zone automatic climate control, a height-adjustable driver seat, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Subaru's small SUV does not have rear air-conditioning vents.

Heated front seats are standard starting on the Premium trim, while keyless access is optional. You can get a power driver seat on most trims (not the Sport), while height adjustment for the front-passenger seat isn't available at all.

The Sport trim has upgraded water-repellent upholstery, while the Limited and Crosstrek Hybrid have traditional leather. A heated steering wheel is a hybrid-exclusive option.

The regular Crosstrek has 20.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats. Folding its 60/40 rear seats down opens up a maximum volume of 55.3 cubic feet.

The Crosstrek Hybrid has its battery pack under the cargo floor, and this reduces both capacity and vertical clearance in the cargo bay. With the rear seats in use, this PHEV SUV offers just 15.9 cubic feet of space. Folding the seats provides 43.1 cubic feet of space.

Advantage: Jeep Compass

Learn More About the Jeep Compass and Subaru Crosstrek - Find the best car deals!

If you’d like to learn more about these compact SUVs, be sure to read our expert reviews of the 2021 Jeep Compass and 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, including the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid. To find out how people like you rate vehicles in this segment, be sure to check out our ratings from verified vehicle owners.

Also, please keep in mind that while the information in this article was accurate and valid on April 27, 2021, it may have changed since that date. Always confirm product details and availability with the automaker’s website or your local dealership.