The Jeep Compass was all-new for the 2017 model year. It replaced the outgoing Compass, but it was far more than just an updated version of the existing model. Today’s Compass is a whole new vehicle with big improvements.
Styling is updated to reflect the current Jeep lineup with the Compass looking a lot like the Grand Cherokee. It has that familiar seven-slot grille with a bold front end, just in slightly smaller dimensions. Even with it’s compact size, there’s still up to 59.8 cubic feet for cargo.
Size-wise, this sits between the larger Cherokee and smaller Renegade as a just-right alternative that’s ideal for city and rural areas. The Compass is at home on a crowded side street as it is a dirt road and it has genuine off-road capability. At it’s heart, this is, after all, a Jeep.
If you want the most off-road worthy of the lot, then take a look at the Compass Trailhawk, which will have no problem taking you wherever you want to go. That trail-rated version of the Compass sits alongside three additional trim levels. The Limited is your more luxury-oriented choice while the Sport is your base model. We drove the Latitude, which sits in the middle of the range just below the Altitude.
Power for the entire range comes from a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. This is paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission, six-speed manual, or six-speed automatic all depending on the trim and whether you opt for front-wheel or four-wheel drive. Our Compass Latitude 4×4 had the nine-speed automatic and it shifted smoothly and efficiently.
The challenge for some with the Compass will be that low horsepower. It moves the Compass along nicely when it gets to speed, but it works to get there in the first place. This can make merging into highway traffic something of a challenge. If you need extra speed for highway passing, then plan ahead.
The ride itself is quiet and comfortable with room for five passengers. The second row, however, is tight for three adults. It’s best suited to two except for short trips. Tall passengers will find plenty of headroom, but legroom is tight. Sitting two tall people in front of each other is going to leave someone feeling squished.
The 2018 Jeep Compass gets high safety marks. It’s an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 2017 Top Safety Pick with a top rating of Good in all crash tests and Superior for front crash prevention technologies.
Along with its just-right size comes a just-right price with the Sport starting at $20,995 for 4×2 models or $22,495 for 4×4 models. Even the top Limited 4×4 comes in at a modest $29,095 putting Jeep capability and crossover flexibility in your driveway for a reasonable price.
The 2018 Jeep Compass takes the renowned capability of the Jeep brand and puts it in a smaller, more urban-friendly package. Combined with strong safety ratings and affordable pricing, the Jeep Compass is an attractive crossover option.