2019 Jeep Compass

2019 Jeep Compass Review: Hit And Miss

by Jay Traugott

Popularity for the Jeep Compass surged exponentially with its overhaul for the 2017 model year, with sales doubling in 2018. The update saw the Compass evolve from the dated first-generation model into a well-rounded prospect occupying a spot in the line-up between the Renegade and the Cherokee, and offering a number of trims to cater to just about every need. Under the hood of every Jeep Compass is a 2.4-liter inline-four engine producing outputs of 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. Outputs are driven to either the front-wheel or all-wheel-drivetrain via a six-speed manual or automatic, or nine-speed automatic transmission, depending on the drivetrain. While Jeep may pride itself on its SUV-only product line-up, competition in this compact segment is tough, with rivals shaping up in the form of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

2019 Jeep Compass Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Compass?

Jeep has established two new sub-trims for the 2019 model year lineup. Based on the Sport trim, the Upland Edition features styling elements such as 17-inch alloy wheels borrowed from the Trailhawk model, along with a few functional pieces, including Matte Black tow hooks. The High Altitude is based on the Limited trim and boasts premium elements such as an 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen, all-LED exterior lighting, and other enhancements. The Sport and Latitude trims have been given a seven-inch Uconnect touchscreen as standard, the line-topping Trailhawk trim gets refreshed 17-inch wheel finishes, and a new String Gray exterior color option has been added to the lineup's palette. There is also a new Premium Lighting group available and adaptive cruise control technology has been added to the Advanced Safety group Package.

Pros and Cons

  • High-quality cabin materials and impression
  • Attractive and user-friendly tech interface
  • Highly capable off-road Trailhawk model
  • Spacious passenger seating and room
  • Affordable base price
  • Lackluster four-cylinder engine
  • Sluggish nine-speed transmission
  • Subpar trunk and cargo capacity
  • Unrefined brakes
  • Expensive options

Compass Exterior

The Compass' appearance is much like an approving blend of the Renegade's retro-modern character and the Cherokee's aggressive demeanor; making for a rugged yet contemporary-looking compact SUV. Up front is Jeeps high-mounted signature seven-slot grille, flanked by LED headlights and underscored by a sleek air intake and LED foglights on most models. All models are molded with black lower body and wheel arch cladding, while the Trailhawk and Upland Edition models sport more aggressive, tighter front fascias for improved approach angles. Wheel sizes range from 16-inch black-styled steel wheels on the Sport model to 19-inch satin granite crystal painted alloy wheels on the High Altitude, while the range-topping Trailhawk gets smaller 17-inch alloy wheels in aid of its off-road capability.

2019 Jeep Compass Front View Jeep
2019 Jeep Compass Side View Jeep
See All 2019 Jeep Compass Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Dimensions vary slightly between FWD and AWD models, while trims like the Trailhawk get specific dimensions to enable better off-road ability. All models share a wheelbase of 103.8 inches with a body spanning 173 inches in length. Including the mirrors, the Compass measures 80 inches wide, while the bodywork alone measures 73.8 inches. Differences start to appear between the various drivetrains: front-wheel-drive models stand 64.6 inches tall with 7.8 inches of ground clearance, while all-wheel-drive derivatives get an extra 0.4 inches of ground clearance. The Trailhawk stands the proudest at 65.6 inches with 8.5 inches of clearance, while also presenting the best approach/breakover/departure angles of 30.3/24.4/33.6 degrees. The FWD models only provide 15.8/21.8/30.8 degrees. Curb weights range from 3,184 lbs on FWD variants to 3,633 lbs on the 4x4 Trailhawk model.

Exterior Colors

All in, a total of 11 colors are available for the compass, but these are split in availability between the trim levels, with the availability of two-tone pairing on some. Diamond Black Crystal and White Clearcoat are available on all trims, but the former is only available as a monotone option, while White can be had in a two-tone form on all but the Sport and Upland models. The next most common colors are Granite Crystal, Billet Silver Metallic, Laser Blue Pearl, and Redline Pearl, available on all trims but the Upland, while the deep Jazz Blue Pearl and Olive Green Pearl can be had on the Sport, Latitude, Limited, Trailhawk, and High Altitude trims. New for 2019 is the option of Sting-Gray clearcoat, which can be had as a monotone selection on the Upland and High Altitude trims, or exclusively as a two-tone on the Trailhawk. But if you truly want to snap necks, Spitfire Orange is available only on the Sport and Trailhawk in monotone and two-tone respectively, while classier looks can be had on the Limited and High Altitude with Pearl White Tri-Coat.

  • Pearl White Tri-Coat
  • Billet Silver Metallic Clearcoat
  • Jazz Blue Pearlcoat
  • Redline Pearlcoat
  • White Clearcoat
  • Granite Crystal Metallic Clearcoat
  • Laser Blue Pearlcoat
  • Olive Green Pearlcoat
  • Diamond Black Crystal Pearlcoat
  • Sting-Gray Clearcoat, w/APA, Build Out: 12/04/2018
  • Granite Crystal Metallic Clearcoat, (DISC)
  • Laser Blue Pearlcoat, (DISC)
  • Olive Green Pearlcoat, (DISC)
  • Sting-Gray Clearcoat, (DISC)
  • Spitfire Orange Clearcoat
See all 16 colors

Compass Performance

While the FWD variants of the Compass lineup are more faux-by-four than actual off-roaders, the AWD variants offer genuine capability, bearing Jeep's 'Trail Rated' badge for having been tried-and-tested for traction, maneuverability, ground clearance, water fording, and off-road articulation. The Trailhawk is the purpose-built off-roader, however, riding with higher ground clearance than all other models with a low-range 4WD system, and boasting resculpted front and rear bumpers for better approach and departure angles. It's the most focused of the lot, afforded with up to 19 inches of water fording capability and a crawl ratio of 20:1.

In terms of overt performance, the six-speed manual gearbox-equipped FWD models accelerate from 0-60 mph in around 10 seconds, while AWD derivatives manage 8.5 seconds. Those times get slightly better with either of the automatic gearboxes in play, shearing off around half a second; but truthfully, the Compass is no sprinter and it makes no attempt to be. It merely plods along, a placid commuter waiting to show off its off-road ability, and with available all-wheel-drive, it makes good on the Jeep promise. Only the AWD models of the Compass are rated for towing, with a maximum capacity rated at 2,000 lbs, some 500 lbs better than the Honda CR-V, but lagging behind the 3,500 lbs of the Toyota RAV4.

2019 Jeep Compass Front View Driving Jeep
2019 Jeep Compass Rear View Driving Jeep

Engine and Transmission

One engine services the whole Compass line-up. The 180-hp, 175 lb-ft naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-pot engine feels considerably feeble for the heft of the Compass SUV. Truth told it's not the greatest motor - it's lazy off-the-line, needs to be wrung out to access most of its power, and when you do so, it protests noisily. Gearbox selection is partially to blame, though - there are three available - with the nine-speed automatic on AWD models being the most problematic. It shifts erratically, unable to select the right gear when needed, hunting a higher gear for efficiency, but then when traveling at highway speeds, it refuses to select ninth gear. Even pulling the shift paddles doesn't yield any response other than a change in the number displayed on the dash. Front-wheel-drive models get more choice in the matter, with a default six-speed manual making things easier by virtue of more control, while the six-speed automatic on FWD models is decent, but still nothing exceptional. Rivals may offer similar powertrains, but they do it so much more effectively.

  • Engine
    2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Automatic, 6-Speed Manual, 9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

With the Compass' lethargic and unrefined powertrain, a lot is left to be desired in terms of its performance and driving dynamics. The steering is arguably its best trait, well-weighted and not overly assisted. It feels solid at highway speeds and easy to maneuver at low speeds, but there's not much feel involved. The brake pedal also lacks feel, and the brakes are too grabby, too quickly, but at least improve after the initial bite point. The suspension does a decent job of soaking up road imperfections, and it handles bumps and ruts decently, but it does it all in a rather ordinary manner. A CR-V handles bumps much better, and a Mazda CX-5 is more dynamically talented through any set of corners.

Where the Compass one-ups them all, however, is when the tarmac ends - particularly in Trailhawk guise. Bespoke bodywork gives better approach and departure angles, a higher ground clearance aids water-fording ability and breakover, and the knobbly tires give the Trailhawk an inordinate amount of grip on poor surfaces. It gets off-road-oriented tires and a raised suspension; lifting it higher off the ground, it's also given its own Selec-Terrain system which accords it with an impressive crawl factor for getting it over rocky surfaces and up steep ascents, as well as aiding in 19-inch water fording capability. It also gets a first-gear hold feature and lockable center differential, which altogether render the Trailhawk the class-leader in the way of off-road capability.

It might be based on softroader underpinnings, but in the compact crossover segment, there's genuine ability off the beaten track.

Compass Gas Mileage

The Jeep Compass is the most economical when equipped with the standard FWD system and the six-speed manual transmission. In this configuration, it returns 23/32/25 mpg city/highway/combined. Equipping the AWD setup or opting for the six-speed automatic and FWD hinders fuel-efficiency slightly, decreasing those figures down to 22/31/25 mpg, while automatic-equipped AWD variants sacrifice a further highway point with estimates of 22/30/25 mpg. The Compass is equipped with a 13.5-gallon gas tank, regardless of drivetrain, which when filled to the brim with the recommended regular gasoline, avails the Compass with a maximum projected range of around 337 miles in mixed conditions.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    13.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 23/32 mpg
* 2019 Jeep Compass Sport FWD

Compass Interior

The Compass doesn't have the most premium of interiors, but then again it doesn't carry the most premium of prices either. And even so, key touchpoints are wrapped in soft-touch materials and the hard touch plastics that do adorn most areas of the cabin are durable and look well-presented. Overall build quality is excellent too, as fixtures and fittings don't rattle at all even over the roughest of surfaces. The seats along with the layout of controls are ergonomically positioned, easy to understand, and easy to live with. There's plenty of room offered throughout the cabin and the seats are comfortable enough for daily use and for extended periods of time. The interior of the second-gen Compass has undergone a huge progression in terms of quality from that of the original and is one of the nicer Jeep cabins to be in.

2019 Jeep Compass Central Console Jeep
See All 2019 Jeep Compass Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Jeep Compass has seating for up to five occupants in a roomy cabin that, though isn't the most premium, is simplistic, ergonomic, and comfortable, making it a great place to be for short or long durations. The seats themselves are spacious, well-cushioned, and appropriately supportive; adjustability levels are moderate, but with so much room in the cabin, finding a comfortable driving and seating position is a breeze for most. There's plenty of headroom and adequate legroom throughout, even for taller occupants in the rear. Thanks to a thoughtfully sized center drive tunnel, there's even a decent amount of room for the center rear passenger. The seats throughout the cabin are set high, availing the driver with a commanding view of the road and surrounds with optimal visibility, while also making ingress and egress a leisurely pursuit for all.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

Sport and Upland models feature standard cloth upholstery, hued in either black or Sandstorm. The Latitude and Altitude get premium cloth/vinyl upholstered seats, hued in either black or black/Ski Gray, while the Limited and High Altitude boast leather-appointed seats with perforated inserts, optional in either black or black/Ski Gray. The Trailhawk has possibly the nicest interior in the lineup; featuring premium cloth upholstery with perforated leather inserts as standard with the option of full leather appointments. It also gets red accented stitching featured throughout the cabin as standard. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear-shift knob are featured from the Limited trim upward.

Compass Trunk and Cargo Space

The Compass isn't as proficiently practical as one would expect from its large and boxy outward appearance, at least not as much as its direct competition. Nevertheless, it does still offer a reasonable level of trunk capacity; with 27.2 cubic feet of space available behind the rear seats, there's enough room for all the essentials needed for a family camping trip over a weekend. If more space is required for loading, folding down the rear seats expands that space to 59.8 cu-ft.

There's a plethora of storage solutions offered within the cabin; including large door pockets on every door with bottle holder compartments, dual cupholders between the front seats, dual cupholders in the center rear seat backrest, and seatback map pockets behind each front seat. The passenger side glove box is reasonably sized and the center armrest console offers a decent level of small-item storage.

2019 Jeep Compass Trunk Space Jeep
2019 Jeep Compass Trunk Space with Seat Folded Jeep

Compass Infotainment and Features

Features

The Jeep Compass is kept relatively bare for its purpose as an SUV, standard features at the base level include a tilt/telescoping steering column, six-way manually-adjustable front seats, rear 60/40 split-folding rear seat, keyless entry, push-button start, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Standard safety and driver aids include a rearview camera, speed control, and hill-start assist, with hill-descent control featured in the Trailhawk. All models but the Sport and Upland Edition get a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear-shift knob, the Limited and High Altitude are upgraded with a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Compass also gets a variety of drive modes including Snow, Sand, and Mud, with Rock mode, and Crawler in the Trailhawk. There's a power-operated sunroof and power tailgate optional for all models as well as two safety group packages which comprise the bulk of the lineup's available driver-assists including lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and forward-collision warning.

Infotainment

Base models in the lineup, including the Sport, Latitude, Upland Edition, and Altitude are outfitted with a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, the remaining models all get an 8.4-inch touchscreen. All systems are installed with Jeep's Uconnect4 infotainment software which comprises functionality in both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as allowing for Bluetooth audio streaming, integrated voice command, and SiriusXM radio. A stock six-speaker audio system is standard across the lineup along with a media hub located in the lower center dash comprising a single USB port for device connectivity and charging, an auxiliary input jack, and a 12-volt power outlet. There is an additional USB port located in the second-row seating as well. The nine-speaker Beats Premium Audio system is available for top-spec models as well as a Navigation and HD radio upgrade for the 8.4-inch infotainment setup.

Compass Problems and Reliability

The 2019 Jeep Compass has been subject to a single recall pertaining to the rear brake caliper pistons which may have been insufficiently coated; resulting in the formation of gas pockets that would potentially reduce rear brake performance. There have also been numerous complaints lodged with the NHTSA relating to a variety of issues. As such, J.D. Power's below-average predicted reliability rating of two-and-a-half out of five is warranted. The Compass is covered by Jeep with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Compass Safety

The NHTSA accorded the 2019 Jeep Compass with mediocre safety ratings, with the model scoring four of five stars in the frontal crash evaluation and only three stars in the rollover evaluation, it received a subpar four out of five stars overall. The model performed much better with the IIHS, however, receiving top scores of Good for six specific crash test categories.

Key Safety Features

Unfortunately, the only driver aids the entire Compass lineup gets as standard is a mandatory rearview camera, as well as ABS braking and stability control. The Trailhawk does also get hill-descent control, but forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, rear parking sensors, automatic high beams, adaptive headlights, rain-sensing wipers, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control are all otherwise optional depending on the model. Other base safety features include a tire pressure monitor, electronic stability control, and a consignment of seven standard airbags including dual front, front side, side curtain, and a driver's side knee airbag.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Jeep Compass a good SUV?

The 2019 Jeep Compass is a decent vehicle, it offers excellent off-road capability, daily practicality, and a contemporary cabin with all the modern essentials. However, it's not as well-rounded as most other compact SUVs, and faces notable fallbacks in its lackluster powertrain, shortage of safety and driver-assist features at the base level, and subpar gas mileage and trunk capacity. The Compass' transition into its second-gen iteration proved significantly favorable in 2017, but it could still do with some further refinement in order for it to be truly competitive. Nevertheless, the Compass is still an attractive offer, with several trims for buyers to choose from, all available with a vast selection of optional packages that improve some of the areas in which the Compass falls short, such as in safety and advanced driver assistance. Its priced relatively competitively in the segment and delivers plenty of bang for the buck. With that said, there are still plenty of appealing options available out there that prospective buyers should also look into before deciding on the Jeep Compass.

What's the Price of the 2019 Jeep Compass?

The Sport initiates the lineup with an MSRP of $22,095, its sub-trim, the Upland Edition is available at $26,290. The Latitude carries an MSRP of $25,345 followed by the Altitude at $26,765. The Limited is priced at $28,940 with its sub-trim, the High Altitude taking the most expensive spot in the lineup with a sticker price of $30,440. The purpose-built Trailhawk is officially the range-topper yet is slightly more affordable than the High Altitude, with an MSRP of $29,445. Those prices are excluding any tax, registration, or licensing fees as well as Jeep's destination charge of $1,495. Optioning any of the FWD variants with the AWD system will ask an additional $1,500, as will swapping out the six-speed manual transmission for the six-speed automatic.

2019 Jeep Compass Models

There is a varied selection of seven Jeep Compass models for the 2019 model lineup; the Sport, Upland Edition, Latitude, Altitude, Limited, High Altitude, and finally, the off-road-focused Trailhawk.

The base models, Sport, Latitude, and Upland Edition start the lineup off with standard features such as a tilt/telescoping steering column, six-way manually-adjustable front seats, rear 60/40 split-folding rear seat, keyless entry, push-button start, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Shared as standard across the lineup in the way of safety and driver aids, are a rearview camera, speed control, and hill-start assist. These models, along with the Altitude, are outfitted with a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen display tethered to a six-speaker audio system.

A leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear-shift knob are featured in all but the Sport and Upland Edition, the Limited and High Altitude boast a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. All models are also given varied drive modes including Snow, Sand, and Mud, with the Trailhawk additionally getting a Rock mode and Crawler gear ratio. An 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen display is standard in Limited, High Altitude, and Trailhawk.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Sport
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$22,095
Upland Edition
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$23,595
Altitude
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$25,345
Latitude
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
6-Speed Manual
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$25,345
Limited
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$28,445
See All 2019 Jeep Compass Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

There are several optional packages available for all Compass models; exclusive to the Sport is a Sport Appearance Group which for $995 equips 16-inch alloy wheels, black side roof rails, bright daylight opening molding, and deep tint sunscreen glass.

There's a $695 Technology Group available for the Sport and Upland Edition which comprises a seven-inch driver information display, a rear park assist system, keyless entry, and SiriusXM radio connectivity.

Available for most models is an $845 Cold Weather package which is standard on the Limited and High Altitude, this comprises a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, all-season floor mats, a windshield wiper de-icer, and remote start system.

For all but the Sport and Upland Edition is a Safety and Security Group, which, for $895, installs a remote-start system, security alarm, rain-sensitive wipers, a rear park assist system, and blind-spot and cross-path detection. Also available for these models is a $795 Advanced Safety Group which comprises adaptive cruise control with stop/go, advanced brake assist, automatic high beams, full-speed forward collision warning plus lane departure warning, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. There's also a Premium Lighting Group which equips bi-xenon HID headlamps with signature lights as well as LED taillamps for $695.

What Jeep Compass Model Should I Buy?

With class-leaders like the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V in the segment, there's very little the Compass does to outshine them. That's why the Trailhawk is the best of the lot, as it capitalizes on the Compass's strongest attribute and endows it with even greater off-road ability. At the top of the range, it's also one of the most premium offerings, which means upgraded infotainment, finishes, and the availability to add higher-end options - several of which are must-haves. Disappointingly, they do need to be added, so we'd be sure to tick the options box for the Advanced Safety Group Package and the Safety And Security Group Package, adding an array of collision avoidance measures that really should be standard on higher trims. We also recommend optioning on the Leather Interior Group which upgrades the cabin with a heated steering wheel and front seats as well as added power adjustability to the front seats.

2019 Jeep Compass Comparisons

Honda CR-V Honda
Toyota RAV4 Toyota

2019 Jeep Compass vs Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is only slightly more expensive than the Jeep Compass and comes with two more refined and more powerful engine options, both of which are more eager, more refined, and more economical. In terms of daily use and livability, the CR-V is the better of the two as the more comfortable family commuter on the road with a more refined ride quality and better safety ratings, as well as more standard safety equipment. It also offers greater practicality and a larger cargo capacity of 39.3 cu-ft. The Compass is, however, the superior off-roader, specifically the Trailhawk, and offers a greater maximum towing ability at 2,000 lbs to the CR-V's 1,500 lbs. The CR-V accommodates those who require a practical everyday family commuter while the Compass best suites those who need the everyday practicality, but also enjoy climbing hills on the weekends. This segment is generally dominated by the former, though, so the CR-V retains its title of class-leader here.

See Honda CR-V Review

2019 Jeep Compass vs Toyota RAV4

At around $3,500 more than the Compass at the base level, the newly redesigned Toyota RAV4 offers interested buyers of the compact SUV segment a more powerful and more fuel-efficient 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Though without Android Auto, the RAV4 offers a more family-oriented and premium experience than the Compass, boasting a standard consignment of far more safety and driver-assist features as well as five USB ports spread out through the cabin. It's slightly more practical than the Compass as well, offering 37.6 cu-ft of room behind the rear seats. The higher-level models of the RAV4 take things to a level the Compass bows down to, with far more premium features offered such as heated and ventilated front seats, surround-view parking camera, and an 11-speaker JBL audio system. The appropriately equipped RAV4 also offers a superior towing capacity of 3,500 lbs. The Compass Trailhawk is still the superior off-roader, but in every other regard, the RAV4 definitely takes the cake.

See Toyota RAV4 Review

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