2018 Compass New Car Test Drive
Jeep Compass, a front-wheel or all-wheel-drive compact crossover, is all new for 2018. Based on the sub-compact Renegade, the all-new 2018 Compass looks more like the midsize Cherokee, although it's narrower (and slower).
Compass is powered by an aging and underwhelming 2.4-liter engine making 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque, mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, 6-speed automatic, or 9-speed automatic that isn't as smooth as the new GM 9-speed.
But it handles well, and has a steady and comfortable ride on the standard 16-inch wheels and tires.
Compass is EPA rated at 26 Combined miles per gallon with front-wheel drive, 1 less mpg with all-wheel drive.
We most like the offroad Compass Trailhawk, which feels more like an authentic Jeep. It's not serious about off-roading like the Wrangler or Cherokee, but the Compass Trailhawk beats other crossovers on the trails. It has higher bumpers for clearing rocks and climbing and descending ridges, along with one inch added ground clearance and more rugged all-terrain tires. Its 9-speed transmission locks into first gear with a 20:1 simulated crawl ratio, so you can go very, very slow, an important feature in rugged terrain.
Competitors include the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain. Compact crossover is a tough game. That's why the Trailhawk stands out.
Compass Sport ($20,995) is well equipped, with rugged fabric seats, rearview camera, full power equipment, air conditioning, two USB ports, keyless ignition, 16-inch wheels, Bluetooth with audio streaming, and a 5.0-inch touchscreen audio system. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Compass Latitude ($24,295) adds 17-inch wheels, cloth/vinyl seats, roof rails, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and more available equipment packages. Among them are a sunroof, Beats audio, navigation, blind-spot monitors, power tailgate, 7.0-inch touchscreen, tow package, and a safety bundle including forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking.
Compass Limited ($28,340) includes an 8.4-inch touchscreen, leather seats heated in front, 18-inch wheels, and an LCD screen in the instrument cluster.
All-wheel drive is available in these three models ($1500).
Compass Trailhawk ($28,695) comes standard with all-wheel drive and offroad rigging, including a 115-volt power outlet that's useful for camping. But it also comes with leather, and upgraded infotainment.