The 2018 Jeep Compass enters its first full model year after a sweeping redesign, receiving the most minor of updates. That's no bad thing – the Compass continues to bridge the gap between the tiny Renegade and the polarizing Cherokee, offering a right-sized character and a comfortable driving experience.
USED 2018 Jeep Compass FOR SALE NEAR ME
House of Kars of Manassas, VA (20 mi)
Heritage Honda of Westminster of Westminster, MD (45 mi)
Miller's Apple Valley Chevrolet Toyota of Martinsburg, WV (39 mi)
2018 Jeep Compass Overview
What's New for 2018
The Limited trim gets a front-wheel drive option.
Choosing Your Jeep Compass
The Compass is available in four trims — Sport, Latitude, Trailhawk, and Limited.
All the variants get the same 2.4-liter inline-four engine that produces 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. The Sport, Latitude, and Limited variants are available in both, front-wheel and all-wheel drive arrangements, but the off-road-focused Trailhawk is unsurprisingly only available with all-wheel drive.
Depending on the variant, gearbox options include a base six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic, or a nine-speed automatic. The manual is available on front and all-wheel drive versions of the Sport and the all-wheel-drive Latitude, while the six-speed auto is optional on the front-drive Sport and standard on the front-drive Latitude.
The nine-speed auto is optional on the all-wheel drive Sport and Latitude and is standard on the Limited and Trailhawk. The all-wheel drive models get Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud drive modes and the automatic variants get the engine start-stop function – the Trailhawk adds a dedicated Rock mode, for crawling over really rough trails.
The Compass Sport is the most fuel-efficient model in the line-up, with its front-wheel drive variant returning 23 miles per gallon in city and 31 mpg on the highway. However, other models aren’t very far off, all returning 22 miles per gallon in city and 30 or 31 mpg highway.
The Compass Sport is a bit under-equipped for our liking but the Latitude and Limited trims provide great value for money. Being a Jeep, we think that you should go for the all-wheel drive configuration only. Which of these two trims you choose will depend on how much you want to customize your car – the additional packages on the Latitude are better suited for that.
2018 Jeep Compass Review
After years as an automotive also-ran, the 2018 Jeep Compass has transformed into a stylish, well-equipped compact crossover SUV that slots in neatly between the baby Renegade and the brawny Cherokee. But a disagreeable and noisy powertrain continue to be a significant disappointment in Jeep’s smaller offerings.
Jeep offers the Compass in four trim levels. The base Sport is best avoided, while the Latitude and Limited will represent the bulk of Compass on the road. The rugged Trailhawk, meanwhile, targets consumers that fancy some rough-and-tumble off-roading but don’t need the outright capability or aren’t willing to live with the comfort sacrifices of a Jeep Wrangler.
On the surface, there's a $4,800 difference between the all-wheel-drive versions of the Compass Latitude and Limited, although since the Latitude demands $1,500 for the nine-speed automatic that comes standard on the Limited, the real-world difference is $3,300. Which version you choose ultimately comes down to what you’re willing to live without. But since most of the Limited’s equipment is available via one of the packages available on the Latitude, we’re leaning towards the more affordable entry thanks to its more customizable configuration.
- Model: 2018 Jeep Compass Latitude 4x4
- Engine: 2.4-liter four-cylinder
- Output: 180 hp/175 lb-ft
- Transmission: Nine-speed automatic ($1,500)
- Exterior color: Jazz Blue Pearl Coat w/Black Clear Coat roof
- Interior color: Black
- Base Price: $25,390
- Options: Advanced Safety and Lighting Group ($895, automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, bi-xenon headlights, lane departure warning, auto-dimming rear-view mirror), Cold Weather Group ($695, heated front seats, heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel), Popular Equipment Group ($1,195, seven-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, dual-zone automatic climate control, seven-inch instrument cluster display, eight-way power driver’s seat, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, remote start, SiriusXM satellite radio), Safety and Security Group ($795, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers)
- Total Price: $31,165
- Even in Latitude trim, the Compass is a very capable little crossover. All-wheel-drive models come with selectable driving modes, while a properly-equipped example can tow 2,000 pounds.
- Despite its off-road ability, the Compass is surprisingly comfortable and composed on paved roads.
- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles still hasn’t figured its dimwitted nine-speed automatic out. Slow to engage off the line and unwilling to downshift, it’s bad enough to consider the Compass’ standard six-speed manual.
- The 2.4-liter four-cylinder is a powerful enough engine, but it’s loud and buzzy when exercised.
- Tall and cumbersome through the bends, consumers looking for an agile compact SUV should look elsewhere (like Mazda).
- Logical interior layout that will feel immediately familiar to Renegade or Cherokee drivers.
- One of the best touchscreen infotainment systems in the business – UConnect is fast, responsive, and with its latest reskin, even more attractive.
- Backseat improves on the cramped Renegade without impinging on cargo space – there’s 27.2 cubic feet with the second row up and 38.3 inches of legroom.
- The quality of the switchgear and touch points – particularly the push-button starter and turn-signal/wiper stalks – doesn’t feel appropriate for a $24,000 vehicle.
- The headrest wouldn’t extend enough, so we were constantly dealing with its bottom sticking into our neck. Taller drivers, beware.
- The faux leather seat feel awfully cheap, to the point that we’d consider moving up to the Limited and its standard leather.
Our Favorite Thing
After the polarizing Cherokee and Renegade, Jeep’s designers shamelessly ripped off the Grand Cherokee’s look for the new Compass and we couldn’t be happier. This is arguably the best looking Jeep on sale today, especially with the optional black contrasting
Our Least Favorite Thing
The powertrain. FCA, we know you’re capable of some great engines and transmissions, but perhaps it’s time to go back to the drawing board and abandon the whole nine-speed auto/2.4-liter combination.
First-time Jeep owners that want the adventurous lifestyle but aren’t ready to commit to a larger or more expensive Cherokee or Grand Cherokee, and would rather not live with the sacrifices demanded by the takes-no-prisoners Wrangler.
Drivers that are looking for a more conventional vehicle – the Compass might be based loosely on a car, like its rivals, but there’s very little in the way that it drives to show that off. If you’re simply looking for a tall hatchback with all-wheel drive, nearly any other brand will accommodate you better.
The Bottom Line
The 2018 Jeep Compass is a stylish, capable entry that bridges the gap between sub-compact and compact crossover SUVs. A disappointing powertrain is a major flaw, but the Compass’ do-anything capability is enough to outweigh our quibbles over an idiotic transmission or a noisy engine.
Find Your New Jeep Compass On CarsDirect
We have information you must know before you buy the Compass. We want to send it to you, along with other pricing insights.
I agree to receive emails from CarsDirect. I understand that I can unsubscribe at any time.