2018 Jeep Compass: Upgraded materials and tech added to compact crossover

By Mike Blake Carlisle Events
Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Jeep Compass is a compact crossover SUV launched by Jeep or the 2007 model year. The entry-level Compass was one of Jeep’s first crossovers, and after more than a decade in Gen-One, the second-generation Compass debuted for the 2017 model year. The original Compass upgraded with a facelift in 2011 to play on the looks of Grand Cherokee. Gen-Two stretched its platform, upgraded interior materials, added to the tech and infotainment levels and included 70 available advanced safety and security features.

Jeep Compass features 17 global combinations of fuel-efficient powertrain options, three transmission choices, and Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud modes standard on all 4x4 models.

After last year’s redesign, Compass stands pat ostensibly, but adds a 4x2 configuration for the Limited trim. For 2018, the all-new Jeep Compass lineup consists of four models:

The entry-level Sport (4x2 and 4x4) comes equipped with 16-inch steel wheel painted in low gloss black, the Uconnect infotainment system with a 5.0-inch touchscreen and Bluetooth, a 3.5-inch instrument panel driver’s display, six-way manual front seats, a rearview camera, remote keyless entry, power adjustable and heated side view mirrors, and push-start ignition.

The Latitude (4x2 and 4x4) adds 17-inch silver aluminum wheels, black roof rails, premium cloth and vinyl seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear seat A/C vents, keyless entry, and automatic headlights.

Limited (4x2 and 4x4), my test ride, upgraded with more tech and luxury with 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, Uconnect with an 8.4-inch touchscreen and SiriusXM satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 7.0-inch instrument panel driver’s display, leather-trimmed seats with perforated inserts, heated eight-way power adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, a 115-volt power outlet, two-tone black roof, and bright roof rails.

The top trim Trailhawk is an offroader with 17-inch polished aluminum wheels with all-terrain tires, Active Drive Low four-wheel drive system with 20:1 crawl ratio, Selec-Terrain traction control system, off-road suspension, hill descent control, skid plates, black hood decal, and Ruby Red tow hooks.

Assembled in Toluca, Mexico, the entry-level compact SUV has a transverse front engine, and is available in 4x2 and 4x4 configuration. Compass comes at you with a Premium, sculptural design with a wide stance and exceptional glass-to-wheel proportions. Its legendary Jeep seven-slot grille sports a fresh approach that features a Gloss Black field with individual chrome outlines around each of the seven individual slots.

Compass utilizes steel uniframe construction and measures out at 173 inches long, 73.8 inches wide and 64.6 inches high on a 103.8-inch wheelbase, with a ground clearance of 8.2 inches for AWD. Curbweight for the AWD with an automatic transmission is 3327 lbs.

Compass is outfitted with a 2.4-liter Tigershark engine that produces 180hp and 175 lbs.-ft. of torque. Coupled with a 9-speed automatic engine, Compass power is reticent at high-end and passing at speed takes some planning. Track trips of a 9.9-second zero-to-60mph sprint and 17.6-second quarter-mile seemed labored and slow, but around town and at low end, the ride bordered on luxurious and smooth. The electric power rack and pinion steering helps refine the ride with minimized body roll and a well-weighted demeanor. The MacPherson strut front suspension with coil springs, flat front steel crossmember and high-strength steel double shell lower control stabilizer bar works well with a Chapman strut rear with high-strength steel links, isolated steel rear cradle for 4x4 and not-isolated for 4x2, coil springs, stabilizer bar to smooth out road ruts and level out softroad challenges.

Fuel economy for AWD with an automatic transmission, is 22mpg/city and 30mpg/highway, and a week of mixed-use road tests averaged out to 25.7mpg.

Upticking with higher quality materials in the cabin, the Gen-Two Compass employs a large touchscreen and navi system. With seating for five, headroom is 39.2 inches in row one and 38.5 in row two; legroom is 41.8 inches up front and 38.3 in the rear; and shoulder room comes in at 56.7 and 55.1.

Safetywise, the 2018 compact SUV achieves “good” ratings in each of five Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests that evaluate crashworthiness. Its available Automatic Emergency Braking technology also earns a grade of “superior.” Each is the highest possible IIHS rating in its category.

The 2018 Jeep Compass starts at $20,995 for the base Sport trim in FWD; $24,295 for the Latitude; $27,595 for the Limited and $28,695 for the Trailhawk. My test Redline Pearl Limited added 4x4 for$400 and came with the 9-speed automatic trans; the Advanced Safety and Lighting Group added $895 for Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus, Lane Sense® Lane Departure Warning, Auto High-Beam Headlamp Control, B-Xenon HID headlamps and LED taillamps; the Safety and Security Group added $745 for Blind Spot and Cross Path Detection, Park Sense® Rear Park Assist and Rain Sensitive Intermittent Wipers; GPS Navigation and an 8.4-inch touchscreen added $995; a power liftgate added $495; a Beats™ Premium Audio System with multiple woofers and subwoofers and five speakers added $695; and a dual-pane sunroof added $1295. With destination charges of $1095, my 2018 Jeep Compass Limited stickered at $34,415.

Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.

Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.

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