2018 Jeep Compass

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2018 Jeep Compass Review

The 2018 Jeep Compass offers the solid off-roading ability you'd expect from a Jeep, along with a nice cabin that belies its price. However, the Compass still sits low in our rankings because of it lethargic engine, small cargo hold, and low predicted reliability score.

7.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.9
Performance: 7.2
Interior: 7.9
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Good value for an off-road SUV
  • Cargo storage is convenient and versatile

 

  • Low predicted reliability rating
  • Below-average cargo room
  • Lethargic engine 

Is the Jeep Compass a Good SUV?

Overall, the Jeep Compass isn't that good of an SUV. It has an underpowered engine and unimpressive handling. Add to that its subpar predicted reliability rating and low cargo volume, and it's easy to see why a lot of other compact SUVs beat out the Compass.

Should I Buy the Jeep Compass?

There are still a few reasons to consider a Jeep Compass. It's one of the least expensive vehicles in its class, but you might not believe that once you check out its high-quality interior materials. The Compass is also a decent choice if you want to go off-roading on a budget.

However, for an everyday driver, there are much better options out there, even though they cost more. The highly ranked Honda CR-V has an expansive cargo bay and plenty of passenger space. Also, its optional turbocharged engine gets you moving more quickly. The Toyota RAV4 is also pretty spacious inside, boasting a long list of standard driver assistance features. Finally, the Ford Escape has sportier handling than the Compass, and it’s expected to be one of the most reliable in our compact SUV rankings.

Compare the Compass, RAV4, and CR-V »

Should I Buy a New or Used Jeep Compass?

Jeep made no major changes to the Compass for 2018, following a full redesign for the 2017 model year. If you're open to driving a used SUV and you want to save some money, consider shopping for a nearly identical 2017 Compass. You could also shop for an older model in the prior generation to save even more, but you won't get the benefits of the 2017 redesign. These include an updated interior, improved off-road ability, more modern and intuitive features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and engines with more horsepower. 

To research the other model in this generation, check out our review of the 2017 Jeep Compass. You can also read more about the previous-generation 2016 Jeep Compass. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Jeep Compass »
We Did the Research for You: 27 Reviews Analyzed

For our 2018 Jeep Compass review, we researched dozens of professional evaluations, along with safety scores, reliability data, and fuel economy estimates, to help you make the best buying decision possible. This 2018 Jeep Compass review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2017 and 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking and reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our editorial team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our reviews are unbiased, we don't accept expensive gifts or incentives from car companies, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Jeep Compass Cost?

The Jeep Compass is one of the least expensive compact SUVs you can buy. Prices for the base front-wheel-drive Sport model start at $20,995. For 2018, trim levels also include the Latitude ($24,295), the Limited ($27,595) and the Trailhawk ($28,695).

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

Jeep Compass Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Jeep Compass or Honda CR-V?

The Honda CR-V is one of the best SUVs in the class. It boasts much more cargo space than the Compass does, and it has more interior refinement. In contrast to the Jeep's lone lethargic engine and so-so handling, the CR-V offers a powerful turbocharged engine option and a composed ride. And though the Compass has a low price tag for the class, the CR-V's is still about average, meaning you can get a much better SUV for your money.

Which Is Better: Jeep Compass or Toyota RAV4?

The Toyota RAV4 is a practical choice for an SUV, with its strong safety scores, loads of standard safety features, and stable handling. Despite its above-average price, the RAV4’s interior quality is substandard. Still, the RAV4’s large cargo bay makes a better pick than the Compass.

Which Is Better: Jeep Compass or Ford Escape?

If on-road performance is more important than off-road capability, the Ford Escape is the better pick of the two. It has lively handling and two turbocharged engines options that provide a lot of pep. Also, its upscale interior has user-friendly infotainment features and above-average cargo space.

Compare the Compass, RAV4 and Escape »

Compass Interior

How Many People Does the Compass Seat?

The Compass has five seats, and its generous legroom means that four of these can comfortably carry adults. Headroom is decent in the front row, though models equipped with the available sunroof will make it less comfortable for taller passengers in the back seat. Whether you have the standard cloth seats or upgraded leather seats, the cushions are supportive but a bit firm.

Compass and Car Seats

Using one of the Compass' three tether anchors and two sets of lower anchors, you can install a child safety seat in any of the back seat's three positions. The lower anchors are challenging to dig out of the seat cushions and connect a car seat to. Because of this, the Compass’ LATCH hardware receives a Poor rating for ease of use from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Compass Interior Quality

Inside, the 2018 Compass feels almost as classy as its big brother, the Grand Cherokee. Materials quality is nice, and the styling is tasteful. That's a welcome respite from previous iterations of the Compass, which featured a cheap-looking interior. 

Compass Cargo Space

The Compass has 27.2 cubic feet of cargo room behind the back seat, which is low for a compact SUV. However, this Jeep has a few tricks up its sleeve that add to the vehicle's versatility and usability. The rear seat folds almost completely flat, as does the front-passenger seat, so you can carry long items. Various cubbies throughout the cabin make for easy small-item storage, including a hidden bin in the cargo floor.

Compass Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Compass comes with Jeep's new Uconnect interface, which is one of the easiest systems to learn and use. Standard features include a 5-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, and two USB ports (one is for rear-seat passengers). Among the numerous upgrades available, we recommend the 8.4-inch touch-screen display, which has superb graphics and a customizable home screen. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a navigation system, and a nine-speaker Beats premium audio system are also offered.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Compass Performance

Compass Engine: Hesitates to Accelerate

Highway travel is not really the Compass' forte. Alongside many of its competitors, the Compass feels slow to accelerate, is loud at times, and timidly downshifts. All models come with a 180-horsepower four-cylinder engine, which can be matched with a six-speed manual transmission (the standard gearbox) or an automatic.

Compass Gas Mileage: Above-Average Highway Rating

The Compass has an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 32 mpg on the highway, which is a bit higher than the rest of the class. Its city rating of 23 mpg is about average. In comparison, the Chevrolet Equinox matches the Compass' highway rating and gets 26 mpg in the city.

Compass Ride and Handling: Comfortable but Not Stellar

Not everyone is impressed with how the Compass handles on the pavement. At times, the steering can feel touchy. The suspension softens rough roads, but this relaxed tuning also leads to too much body roll. On the plus side, the ride itself is fairly comfortable, and the Jeep's tight turning radius is helpful in cramped quarters.

Compass Off-Road Performance

Put the Compass in the dirt and it shines. In this price range, you'll be hard-pressed to get better off-roading abilities from rival brands. Additionally, while many competitors have decent ground clearance, they typically get better grip by using an all-wheel-drive system. The Compass, in comparison, has not one but two available four-wheel-drive systems. Models outfitted with four-wheel drive also have four traction control settings: Auto, Snow, Sand, and Mud. If you want to get serious about going off road, pick the Trailhawk trim, which gets on/off-road tires, a crawling gear, hill descent control, and a Rock traction control stetting.

Read more about performance »

Compass Reliability

Is the Jeep Compass Reliable?

The Compass has a below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Jeep Compass Warranty

Jeep covers the 2018 Compass with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Compass Safety

Compass Crash Test Results

The 2018 Compass earned a four-star (out of five) overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That score comprises four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests, and five stars in the side crash test. The Compass also receives the highest score of Good in all five tests at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 

Compass Safety Features

A rearview camera comes standard in the 2018 Compass. In all but the base trim, Jeep offers a slew of advanced safety features, such as automatic high beams, rain-sensing windshield wipers, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and rear parking sensors.

Read more about safety »

Which Jeep Compass Model Is Right for Me?

The Compass is available in five different trims (Sport, Latitude, Altitude, Limited, and Trailhawk), with base prices ranging from $20,995 to $29,095. Every 2018 Compass comes with a four-cylinder engine and the choice between a six-speed manual transmission and an automatic (six speeds with front-wheel drive, nine speeds with four-wheel drive). Except for the range-topping Trailhawk, every trim comes standard with front-wheel drive. Two different four-wheel-drive systems are also available.

If you want four-wheel drive, skip the base trim and start with the Latitude 4X4. For only $1,800 more than the Sport 4X4, you get upgraded interior materials, a proximity key, and an automatic transmission. Jeep offers almost every available package for this trim, so you can pick your favorites. Options include a Cold Weather Group (featuring heated seats and remote start), an Advanced Safety and Lighting Group, and several upgraded infotainment systems.

Jeep Compass Sport

The base Compass Sport ($20,995) comes standard with front-wheel drive, a six-speed manual transmission, push-button start, cloth seats, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, and air conditioning. Its infotainment system contains the Uconnect interface, a 5-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, two USB ports, six speakers, and a rearview camera. Four-wheel drive is available for $1,500.

Jeep Compass Latitude

For $24,295, you can get a Compass Latitude with either front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Other standard features include a six-speed automatic transmission, cloth and vinyl-trimmed seats, a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, and a proximity key.

Jeep Compass Limited

The Compass Limited is the swankiest edition in the lineup. It has an upgraded infotainment system that includes an 8.4-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite radio. It also comes with leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 115-volt household-style outlet, remote start, and an automatic transmission. Prices start at $27,595 for front-wheel drive and $29,095 for four-wheel drive.

Jeep Compass Trailhawk

The Compass Trailhawk ($28,695) is ready for an adventure. Its Trail-Rated designation signifies the addition of the Jeep Active Drive Low four-wheel-drive system (which includes low range), an off-road suspension system, all-season on/off-road tires, skid plates, two tow hooks, and special badging. This edition also comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission and the Latitude's upgraded infotainment system.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

See 2018 Jeep Compass specs and trims »

The Final Call

Appealing qualities of the 2018 Jeep Compass include lots of legroom, an excellent infotainment system, versatile cargo storage, and enough off-roading chops to handle a medium amount of exploring. Because Jeep offers a wide selection of packages for most trims, you can easily cherry-pick your favorite upgrades while staying within your budget. However, the Compass has several blemishes that diminish its overall appeal, including a smaller-than-average cargo capacity, inferior engine power, and a low predicted reliability rating.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "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." -- Edmunds
  • "If the Jeep Renegade is just a hair too small and the Cherokee a smidge too big, then the new Compass is sized just right. No longer a penalty box, the second-generation Compass combines mature looks, nimble handling, and comfortable accommodations, making it a worthy addition to Jeep's small-crossover litter." -- Car and Driver (2017)
  • The verdict: The new 2017 Jeep Compass is worlds better than the old one. It spanks its competitors off-road, but its underpowered engine, sloppy handling and quirky automatic transmission keep it from being competitive on-road. Versus the competition: Nothing can touch the Compass in the dirt, but nearly everything else is bigger, quicker or handles better." -- Cars.com (2017)
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