Compared to the previous-generation Jeep Compass, the 2018 Compass is vastly improved. Introduced midway through the 2017 model year, the newest Compass is more comfortable to drive and can be fitted with Jeep's latest in-car technology features such as the easy-to-operate Uconnect infotainment system.
The Compass occupies an interesting spot in Jeep's lineup. It's smaller and more affordable than Jeep's Cherokee crossover SUV but bigger and more capable than the Renegade. This could be the sweet spot for a lot of shoppers. The Compass offers a decent 27 cubic feet of rear luggage space. Fold down the 60/40-split rear seats to reveal almost 60 cubic feet of space. Room in the second row is enough to keep even tall passengers comfortable.
Most Compasses will be purchased with front-wheel drive, but it wouldn't be a Jeep unless it could handle off-road trails. And while most owners will never need the off-roading hardware available on the Trailhawk trim, it's nice to know it's there if you want to do some overlanding, just get down a muddy road, or climb out of a snowed-in parking lot.
Overall, we like the Compass. If you're looking for a comfortable and affordable crossover SUV that can also get you out and into nature, the new Compass works well.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Compass is available in four trim levels: Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk. All come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (180 horsepower, 175 pound-feet of torque). A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the Sport, and a six-speed (FWD) or a nine-speed (AWD) automatic transmission is optional. All other Compass trims have the automatic as standard equipment. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional on all Compasses except the Trailhawk, which comes standard with AWD.
Starting things out is the Sport trim. Standard equipment highlights include 16-inch wheels, air-conditioning, the smaller Uconnect system (with 5-inch touchscreen display), Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port and a six-speaker sound system.
Compared to the Sport, the Compass Latitude has larger wheels, upgraded cloth and simulated leather seat upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless ignition and entry, and more choices for options packages.
The Compass Limited is the most comprehensively equipped. Standout features include 18-inch wheels, remote start, upgraded exterior trim, a 8.5-inch Uconnect touchscreen (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration), satellite radio, automatic dual-zone climate control, an upgraded driver information display, a power driver seat, heated front seats and leather upholstery.
Though the Trailhawk sits below the Limited in price, it differs greatly in function and features. Only available in AWD with the nine-speed automatic, it rides on 17-inch wheels with off-road-oriented tires, a raised suspension, and a unique front fascia to maximize approach and breakover angles. Further mechanical changes include its own Selec-Terrain system to help it crawl over steep climbs and rocky surfaces. Red tow hooks front and rear and a matte-black hood accent further differentiate the Trailhawk from the rest of the Compass line, while a hidden set of underbody protection shields keep the engine, oil pan and gas tank from harm's way.
Other popular options, depending on the trim level, include a navigation system, a sunroof, a premium Beats audio system, a power liftgate, a Cold Weather package, and an Advanced Safety and Lighting package that includes xenon headlights, forward collision warning and mitigation, and lane departure warning and intervention.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.