Jeeps are an iconic brand recognized as much as Ford and Dodge by the general public. Scroll down to learn about the 2018 Jeep Compass’ defining characteristics:

While not used exclusively for military purposes anymore, these new-age Jeeps are still rugged and capable. After all, you can’t water down the one characteristic that makes a Jeep a Jeep when you’re marketing the brand — not if you want to be successful.

Jeeps have certainly built a reputation for being low-maintenance, hardy, and off-road capable. And though Jeep owners are only upstaged by monster truck drivers in big tire demands, it’s relatively affordable to get yourself into one. A Jeep, that is. Monster trucks are a whole different story.

Performance Specifications

The 2018 Jeep Compass is offered in four different models: Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk. The Trailhawk is the only model offered exclusively in 4WD. All others can be purchased in either FWD or 4WD. Both a manual and an automatic transmission are offered on the Compass, in either a six-speed automatic or manual, and a nine-speed automatic.

A 2.4L four-cylinder engine is the only available option here. Boasting 180 horsepower, this powerplant has 175 lb-ft of torque. Off-road capabilities on the 2018 Compass include five selectable driving modes, including “Auto,” “Snow,” “Sand,” “Mud,” and “Rock.” Capable of towing up to 2,000 pounds, the Compass is certainly a jack-of-all-trades.

The 2018 Jeep Compass is available in the following colors:

  • Monotone paint schemes (two-tone paired with black clear coat exterior paint):
    • White clear-coat exterior paint
    • Jazz-blue pearl coat exterior color
    • Laser blue pearl-coat exterior paint
    • Olive green pearl-coat exterior paint
    • Granite crystal metallic clear coat exterior paint
    • Redline pearl coat exterior paint
    • Rhino clear coat exterior color
    • Pearl white tricoat exterior paint
    • Diamond black crystal pearl-coat exterior color
    • Spitfire orange clear-coat exterior paint*

*The spitfire orange color is only available on Sport and Trailhawk models.

Fuel Efficiency

When compared to other vehicles in its class, the 2018 Compass ranked five out of seven in fuel economy tests done by Kelley Blue Book. Experts there found front-wheel drive manual models to have a 23 city, 32 highway EPA-estimated mpg rating. Numbers for the 2018 Compass fell from there, coming in at 22 city and 31 highway for 4WD manual models, and 22 city, 30 highway for 4WD automatic cars.

Jeep’s website confirms these fuel efficiency numbers as well. You’ll get more fuel efficiency out of a Honda HR-V or a Mazda CX-3, but if it’s capability you’re looking for, Jeep’s got it locked in. Just pack a spare tank of gas, and you’ll be fine; plus, it adds to the whole “rugged” look.

Grzegorz Czapski / Shutterstock

Entertainment and Safety Features

The 2018 Jeep Compass is a relatively affordable small SUV, with Sport models starting at $20,995. With standard features like a five-inch touchscreen, remote keyless entry, push button start, and ParkView Rear Back Up Camera, these entry models are nothing to sneeze at. Drivers can opt for a six-speed automatic or manual transmission.

If you’re looking for a little more “luxury,” look no further than the Latitude model, which offers 17-inch wheels and cloth and vinyl seats. A leather-wrapped steering wheel adds to the sumptuousness, and auto headlamps are a handy feature for those long night drives.

The Limited trim unlocks bigger wheels (add another inch), a bigger touchscreen — 8.4-inch, to be exact — and a seven-inch full-color driver information digital cluster display. The two-tone black roof sets you apart on the road, but you’ll be comfy inside, sitting on leather seats with perforated inserts that are also heated.

Top-of-the-line Trailhawk models top out at near $30,000, but you’ll have command of the Jeep Active Drive Low 4×4 System capable of a 20:1 Crawl Ratio. The Selec-Terrain Traction Management System and off-road suspension help in carving out those less-than-traveled roads you’re sure to explore. Add to that the hill descent control feature, skid plates, and ruby red tow hooks, and you’ve got a 4×4 ready to do some off-roading. The Trailhawk and Limited models are only offered with the nine-speed automatic.

The entertainment features in the 2018 Jeep Compass are sure to eat up that commute to your favorite spot. SiriusXM radio and Bluetooth are offered, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If equipped, models also come with available navigation and voice command. Most importantly, you’ll be able to enjoy everything through Uconnect’s touchscreens and BeatsAudio’s six or nine-speaker audio system.

Named 2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick, the 2018 Compass has a slew of features ready to keep you safe in case of an accident. Equipped models sport LaneSense Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, a Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, ParkSense Rear Park Assist System, and Rear Cross Path Detection. Rain-sensing windshield wipers keep your view of the road ahead clear.

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk models come exclusively with Jeep Wave. This “exciting program rewards owners of select Jeep Brand models with a variety of exclusive benefits — like a dedicated number to call when you have questions, maintenance services and more.”

How the 2018 Jeep Compass Stacks Up

Similar in price to the Subaru Crosstrek and Nissan Rogue, the 2018 Compass has to put up with some stiff competition — and doesn’t always come out on top. Nestled between the Jeep Renegade and Cherokee, the Compass also takes on its sibling the Patriot, Chevy’s Equinox, the Subaru Forester, Volkswagen’s Tiguan and pricey cousin, the Audi Q3, the Toyota Rav4, the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Mitsubishi’s Outlander Sport, the Kia Sportage, the Ford Escape, GMC’s Terrain, and the Hyundai Tucson. Honda’s CR-V is a popular alternative, and Infiniti’s QX30 is a competent choice as well.

Consumer Reports states the 2018 Compass is “not competitive with its peers” and is “too low and flat.” With its sluggish engine and stiff ride, “the Compass trails the competition in several key metrics.”

Edmunds, however, found the Jeep Compass to have a “nicely balanced ride and handling characteristics” and even remarked on its “best-in-class off-road prowess.” However, reviewers did also admit that the Mazda CX-5 is more fun to drive and the Chevrolet Equinox and Honda CR-V offer more cargo space. If you’re looking for a combination of both, experts at Edmunds direct you to the Ford Escape.


  • Jeep brand
  • User-friendly controls
  • Durable interior materials


  • Single engine available
  • Slow
  • Low towing capacity

Jeep enthusiasts will no doubt welcome another member into the family, but those not completely loyal to the brand might shy away from the single-engine-option Compass. Even those who love the brand may consider the styling of it to be inconsistent with the sparse body panels present on past models. But whether you’re a die-hard Jeep fan or simply looking for a capable small SUV, the 2018 Jeep Compass is certainly a competent option worth considering.

Grzegorz Czapski / Shutterstock

Rebecca Henderson has a Master's in German and a Bachelor's in Creative Writing. She alternates her time between writing and working on a variety of motorized projects. Most recently, she and her boyfriend have been building a custom drift trike. Rebecca believes that language, love, and a life worth living are only the first ingredients to happiness.