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2019 Jeep Compass: What You Need to Know

US News & World Report - Cars logo US News & World Report - Cars 11/28/2018 U.S. News & World Report
a car parked on the side of a dirt road: 2019 Jeep Compass© Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 2019 Jeep Compass

The 2019 Jeep Compass has nice cabin materials and decent off-roading abilities, but its underpowered engine and cramped cargo hold help push it toward the bottom of our compact SUV rankings.

The 2019 Jeep Compass is ranked:

Is the Jeep Compass a Good SUV?

The Jeep Compass is an OK compact SUV. It’s a good off-roader with an upscale cabin and an intuitive infotainment system. It also gets decent fuel economy estimates. Additionally, it has one of the lowest MSRPs in the class. However, its handling is unimpressive, it’s slow to accelerate, and the available nine-speed automatic transmission makes sluggish shifts. On top of that, the Compass has less cargo space than most rivals.

Should I Buy the Jeep Compass?

If you’re looking for an affordable compact SUV with a surprisingly handsome interior and a mastery of off-road adventure, the Compass is worth considering. Otherwise, there are better options to consider. Many of them cost a little more than the Jeep, but they’re also a better value. Like the Compass, the Ford Escape has a nice interior, but it adds sporty handling and a lot of cargo space, as well as a couple turbocharged engine options. Redesigned for 2019, the Subaru Forester offers a comfortable and agile ride, numerous standard safety features, and plenty of cargo room, not to mention respectable ground clearance if you want to venture off the pavement.

Should I Buy a New or Used Jeep Compass?

Jeep redesigned the Compass for the 2017 model year. Other than gaining a standard 7-inch touch screen for 2019, the Compass has seen no major updates since then. Because of that, you can likely save thousands of dollars and get a virtually identical vehicle to the 2019 model by purchasing a used model. While you might save even more money with a previous-generation Compass, you’ll miss out on the redesign’s many benefits, including a bump in horsepower and fuel efficiency, a new exterior design, upgraded interior materials, more available safety features, and an updated infotainment system.

To research some other models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2017 and 2018 Compass. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

We Did the Research for You: 21 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about the Jeep Compass in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, safety scores, and cargo space dimensions) with professional evaluations from 21 automotive sources. This Jeep Compass review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which spans the 2011 through 2019 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve been reviewing cars since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. We also award the Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands on an annual basis. To ensure our impartiality, a third party handles our advertising, and we don't accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Does the Jeep Compass Cost?

The base 2019 Jeep Compass has an MSRP of $21,295. This makes the Compass one of the most affordable SUVs in the class. The top-of-the-line Jeep Compass Trailhawk has an MSRP of $28,795. That’s less than the sticker price of many competitors' high-level trims. 

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

Jeep Compass Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Jeep Compass or Dodge Durango?

The Dodge Durango is a midsize SUV. As such, it has a lot more cargo room than the smaller Jeep. However, the Compass has comparable room in the back seat for passengers. The Durango sets itself apart because it can be configured as a 3-row SUV with seating for seven. In most other respects, these two vehicles differ in what they offer. The Dodge has brawny V6 and V8 engine options and a high towing capacity. The Jeep has several features designed to enhance off-road performance that the Durango lacks. Both vehicles, along with any Chrysler or Fiat, feature the easy-to-use Uconnect infotainment system, but the Dodge has a nicer cabin. Unless you want the off-road capabilities or need something smaller, you’re better off going with the Durango. Keep in mind, however, that the Durango's starting price is nearly $30,000, which is roughly $8,500 more than the Compass' starting price.

Which Is Better: Jeep Compass or Jeep Wrangler?

Available as a two- or four-door SUV, the Jeep Wrangler trounces the Compass’ already decent off-road prowess. It has standard four-wheel drive and a V6 engine, and much of its adventuring gear comes standard, unlike the Compass, where it’s relegated to the Trailhawk trim. The Wrangler, however, is not as well-suited for daily driving. Where the Compass is largely comfortable on the road, the Wrangler isn't as composed. Additionally, the Wrangler is more expensive by several thousand dollars. Choosing between them comes down to personal preference.

Compass Interior

How Many People Does the Compass Seat?

The 2019 Jeep Compass seats up to five people on standard cloth upholstery. Leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel are available.

The Compass has a spacious interior with good head- and legroom in both rows, though the available sunroof cuts into rear-seat headroom. The seats are generally comfortable and supportive.

Compass and Car Seats

The 2019 Compass has two complete sets of LATCH connectors on the rear outboard seats and an additional upper tether anchor on the rear middle seat. The lower anchors are set deep in the seats, take a lot of force to attach, and can be tough to maneuver around.

Compass Interior Quality

Despite being one of the most affordable SUVs in its class, the Compass has a classy, upscale interior with some nice materials.

Compass Cargo Space

This Jeep offers 27.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. Folding them down opens up a maximum 59.8 cubic feet. Neither number is impressive for the class. Many rivals offer more cargo space, including the Kia Sportage and Honda CR-V. One redeeming quality is that the front-passenger seat folds down, enabling you to carry longer items than you might be able to in rivals with more overall cargo space.

Compass Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard in the Jeep Compass is the Uconnect infotainment system with two USB ports (one for rear-seat passengers), Bluetooth, voice controls, a six-speaker stereo, and a 7-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. A larger 8.4-inch touch screen, satellite radio, a nine-speaker Beats premium sound system, and a navigation system are available.

The Uconnect infotainment interface draws high praise for being one of the easiest systems to use. It’s straightforward and responsive. The 8.4-inch screen in particular has crisp, clear graphics and a customizable display.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Compass Performance

Compass Engine: Less Power Than You’d Hope

Jeep offers only one engine for the 2019 Compass: a 2.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder rated at 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while two automatic transmissions – a six-speed and a nine-speed – are available, depending on trim and drivetrain.

On-road performance is not this Jeep’s forte. It’s an OK cruiser, but it’s slow to accelerate, the engine can be noisy, and the available nine-speed automatic transmission lags when downshifting is needed. Plenty of rivals feel more energetic, including the Mazda CX-5 and GMC Terrain.

Compass Mileage: OK

When equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission, the Jeep Compass gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Add 1 mpg to each figure for the manual transmission. Those aren’t bad numbers, but some rivals, such as the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, will save you around $150 per year at the pump.

Compass Ride and Handling: Cozy Ride, Unimpressive Handling

On-road, the Compass is a mixed bag. Its offers a comfortable ride, and the suspension smooths out bumps and holes in the road. However, while this SUV has a tight turning radius, it leans heavily to one side or the other when cornering, and its steering feedback is inconsistent. Front-wheel drive is standard, while two four-wheel-drive systems are available.

Compass Off-Road Performance: Adventure on a Budget

Off-road, the Compass shines. Featuring an Active Drive Low four-wheel-drive system, skid plates, tow hooks, an off-road suspension, a Selec-Terrain Management System, 17-inch alloy wheels with all-terrain tires, and 8.5 inches of ground clearance, the Trailhawk trim was designed for tackling the less beaten path. All models with four-wheel drive have four traction control settings – Auto, Snow, Sand, and Mud – while the Trailhawk adds a fifth setting: Rock.

Compass Reliability

Is the Compass Reliable?

The 2019 Compass belongs to a generation that typically receives below-average predicted reliability ratings from J.D. Power.

Compass Warranty

Jeep covers the 2019 Compass with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Many new car manufacturers offer similar warranty terms, including Jeep’s partners, Chrysler and Fiat.

Compass Safety

Compass Crash Test Results

The 2019 Compass received mixed crash test safety scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It received five stars in side crash testing, four stars in front crash tests, and three stars in rollover tests for an overall four-out-of-five-star rating. As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2019 Jeep Compass.

Compass Safety Features

A rearview camera is the only advanced standard safety feature in the 2019 Compass. Available driver aids include 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.

Which Jeep Compass Model Is Right for Me?

Jeep offers the 2019 Compass in four trim levels: Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk. Each trim comes with a 180-horsepower four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. A six- or nine-speed automatic is available for about $1,500. Front-wheel drive is standard in all trims but the Trailhawk, which has four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive is available in all the other trims for around $1,500.

Jeep Compass Sport

The 2019 Jeep Compass Sport has an MSRP of $21,295. Standard equipment includes cloth seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, a rearview camera, and the Uconnect infotainment system with a USB port, Bluetooth, a six-speaker sound system, and a 7-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

A Cold Weather package ($845) is available for the Sport, Latitude, and Trailhawk trims. It adds heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and remote start (in models with the automatic transmission). The Sport is also offered with a Technology Group package ($695), which features satellite radio and rear parking sensors.

Jeep Compass Latitude

The Jeep Compass Latitude has an MSRP of $24,595. It adds proximity keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, alloy wheels, and satellite radio. The six-speed automatic transmission is standard in front-wheel-drive Compass Latitudes, while four-wheel-drive models retain the manual transmission as standard but offer the nine-speed automatic for $1,500.

The Latitude is the first trim available with several option packages. The Advanced Safety ($795), Premium Lighting Group ($695), and Safety and Security Group ($895) packages add a suite of driver assistance features. The Popular Equipment package (around $995) offers an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, remote start, and a 7-inch driver information display. You can add a nine-speaker Beats premium audio system by adding $795 to your window sticker price and a larger 8.4-inch touch screen with a built-in navigation system for $1,345. A sunroof is available for $1,595.

Jeep Compass Limited

With an MSRP of $27,795, the Jeep Compass Limited is equipped with the most comfort and tech features in the Compass lineup. It comes standard with everything listed above except the safety groups, sunroof, and Beats audio system, all of which remain available. The Limited also comes with perforated leather seats. Front-wheel-drive models come with the six-speed automatic transmission, while four-wheel-drive models come with the nine-speed.

Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Despite costing more than the Limited, the Trailhawk (MSRP: $28,795) loses a few standard features, such as the power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, and remote start. However, it gains a few adventuring enhancements, such as the Jeep Active Drive Low four-wheel-drive system, a Selec-Terrain system with Auto, Snow, Sand, Mud, and Rock settings, a retuned off-road suspension, and unique exterior styling. The Trailhawk also comes with the nine-speed automatic transmission.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

The Final Call

The 2019 Jeep Compass has a polished, upscale cabin and versatile cargo storage with its fold-flat front passenger seat. It’s a solid off-roader, and with a lower MSRP than most rivals, it's also budget friendly. Since Jeep offers many packages with most trims, it’s easy to mix and match features at an affordable price. That said, it’s best to shop around before settling on the Compass. This Jeep has limited overall cargo room, sometimes sloppy handing, and sluggish acceleration. Most of its rivals feel more athletic and powerful.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2019 Jeep Compass review on U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.

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