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2018 Jeep Compass: New Car Review

If you’re looking for information on a newer Jeep Compass, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Jeep Compass Review

The 2018 Jeep Compass has a lot working in its favor. Not least of which is an agreeable cabin, along with generally pleasing driving manners. Now in the second model year of its second generation, the Compass is built on the same platform as the pint-sized Renegade, but is stretched for greater rear legroom and cargo space.

So it slots between the Jeep Renegade and the Jeep Cherokee. It’s bigger than a subcompact, but easier to park than a regular compact crossover. Squint at the Compass and it might even be reminiscent of the larger Grand Cherokee. The roofline, however, is lower than the Renegade’s, although headroom is still acceptable.

What’s New for 2018?

The Limited trim level now starts out as a front-drive model, with the option of all-wheel drive. See the 2018 Jeep Compass models for sale near you

What We Like

Unmistakeable Jeep styling; smart packaging; off-road-ready Trailhawk version

What We Don’t

So-so performance

How Much?


Fuel Economy

The standard engine is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder unit developing 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. It has a stop/start feature to save a little gas when idling. The default transmission is a 6-speed manual in the lower trims, while a 6-speed automatic is the alternative for front-drive versions. All-wheel-drive models offer a 9-speed automatic transmission (making the Compass the only small crossover with that many ratios).

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption for a front-drive/manual setup at 23 miles per gallon in the city, 32 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in combined driving. The front-drive/automatic configuration returns 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined.

All-wheel-drive versions achieve 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined with the manual transmission or 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined when using the automatic.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 Jeep Compass is a small 5-seater crossover that comes in Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk trim levels. The Trailhawk has all-wheel drive and the 9-speed automatic transmission as standard.

The all-wheel-drive variants of the Sport, Latitude and Limited trims come with a basic terrain response system, while the Trailhawk version has a more sophisticated version, plus low-range gearing for its transmission and a crawl mode.

The Sport ($22,090) comes with 16-inch steel wheels, push-button start, cruise control, black door handles, heated side mirrors, air conditioning, a USB port, Bluetooth, an auxiliary audio input, 6-way manually adjustable front seats, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a 6-speaker audio system, a 5-in touchscreen, hill-start assist, a rearview camera and trailer sway control.

The Latitude ($25,390) brings 17-in alloy wheels, body color door handles, automatic head lamps, fog lamps, roof rails, ambient LED cabin lighting, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and cloth/simulated leather upholstery. There’s no front-drive/manual transmission version of this trim level.

The Limited ($28,690) is back to the more usual road-going setup, adding 18-in alloy wheels, a self-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and a heated steering wheel.

The Trailhawk ($29,790) has a more off-road-appropriate suspension with greater travel, higher ride height, dedicated front and rear fascia, hill-descent control, 17-in alloy wheels, skid plates (to protect the undersides of various components), tow hooks (two at the front, one at the back) and all-season on/off-road tires. It also features dual-zone automatic climate control, a 115-volt power outlet, satellite radio and an 8.5-in touchscreen.

Options include a powered tailgate, high-intensity discharge (HID) head lamps, a sunroof (not eligible in Sport trim), 19-in alloy wheels (Limited trim only), rain-sensing wipers, a 9-speaker Beats audio system, navigation, an 8.5-in touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision mitigation, lane-departure warning, parking sensors and remote start. Some equipment in the Limited trim may also be ordered for lower trim levels.

Cargo capacity runs to 27.2 cu ft. with the rear seats in place or 59.8 cu ft. when they’re folded down. The front passenger seat also folds down for some extra hauling versatility.

Towing capacity is 2,000 pounds when fitted with a Trailer Tow package, for which only the all-wheel-drive versions — in Latitude trim or upwards — are eligible.


Standard safety features include anti-lock disc brakes, traction/stability control with rollover protection and seven airbags (including one for the driver’s knees). More money must be spent to have things like forward-collision mitigation.

This generation of Compass received four stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named it a Top Safety Pick.

Behind the Wheel

The engine’s output of 180 hp could be described as modest. The whole experience is pleasant and fairly hushed, rather than thrilling or cosseting. But that’s still a big improvement over the old Compass and should work for most potential buyers. And it has that all-important elevated driving position.

Thanks to the Jeep approach, where every vehicle that bears its name should go at least some way into the wild, the Compass — in its most extreme Trailhawk form — enjoys ground clearance of 8.5 in, an approach angle of 30.3 degrees, a breakover angle of 24.4 degrees and a departure angle of 33.6 degrees. These are pretty good figures for something that still works well on the street.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Subaru Crosstrek — All new for 2018. More refined than the first generation, but still low on power. All-wheel drive comes as standard.

2018 Jeep Renegade — If the extra space of the Compass is not required, the less-expensive Renegade is still attractive in its own way.

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport — Interesting from a cost/space/equipment perspective, but relatively ancient.

2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack — Essentially a Golf wagon with a raised suspension and all-wheel drive. It also has a pleasant interior and refined driving manners.

Used Honda CR-V — Admittedly, there’s no rugged Jeep-like coolness to the CR-V. But if anyone is looking for a good, reliable used compact crossover, this does the job. A certified pre-owned (CPO) version comes with a decent warranty.

Autotrader’s Advice

The Latitude version brings a useful level of equipment for a reasonable price.

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  1. 2018 Jeep Compass Limited Edition:


    I checked a lot of reviews and did my research before purchasing a new vehicle of some sort. I purchased a 2018 Jeep Compass Limited Edition with 4WD. The compass sits up higher like any other small SUV.  I knew it was going to get around great during the winter season here in Iowa. If you are looking for a small, but affordableSUV, I would highly recommend looking at the Jeep Compasses. If you live somewhere in the Midwest and experience winters similar to Iowa, you will not be disappointed.


    Physical Capability:

     The jeep has 4WD and has four built-in modes to the jeep. You are able to switch from these different modes all by turning the knob. You can do this as easy as driving down the interstate. It offersAuto, Snow, Mud, and Sand. When you turn the knob it automatically puts it in4WD lock so you are guaranteed for a better ride. I have used three out of the four modes and have been impressed with how the jeep drives. You can get anywhere from 23 mpg around town and 28 to 32 mpg on the highway. It is lower in town as you are going and stopping more. The safety features are very great.It has lane sense, blind-spot sensors, automatic light sensors, and rain-sensing wipers which makes for hands-free while driving.



     A couple downfalls to the jeep that I do not personally care for is that the automatic start does not reach that far, therefore I have to be pretty close for it to start. It is a smaller SUV, so the storage is more limited. These are very minor things to the jeep. The safety features outweigh these big time.



                I really enjoy my compass so far, and it is everything I wanted and needed in a vehicle. It is a limited edition with 4WD, Touch screen, Bluetooth, Apple Car Play, Heated Steering Wheel andSeats, Rearview Camera and unlocking car sensors. It is a really great vehicle for someone who doesn’t need an oversized SUV yet. You will not be disappointed with the technical features and safety features that this vehicle offers.




                The jeep compass ideally is great for a college student, single person or small family. It does not have a very large trunk space, but it is decently sized. It rides really smooth and offers great features for a great price. I have felt very safe in this compass and have had very few complaints about it. If you feel after reading this review that you can relate, I would consider checking out the different options aCompass can offer you. Overall you will really like this vehicle and will be very pleased.








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