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Jeep Compass Review

heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

Jeep Compass
Jeep Compass


1 / 10

heycar rating
"Flawed, expensive and dated SUV"
  • Launched: 2018
  • Crossover
  • Petrol, Diesel

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Quick overview


  • Rugged image
  • Trailhawk is good off-road
  • Five-star Euro NCAP safety rating


  • Doesn’t feel as premium as its price tag suggests
  • Old-fashioned and unrefined to drive
  • Base-spec models are particularly grim

Overall verdict on the Jeep Compass

"Buying a Jeep Compass over more competent and affordable alternatives like the Peugeot 3008 or Skoda Karoq requires a strong desire to be different. It feels pretty cheap and dated inside, while it’s nothing special to drive. Still, the Jeep brand image might be strong enough to convince some buyers to part with their money, and the expensive Trailhawk model is pretty cool in a rugged kinda way."

Jeep Compass frontfleft exterior

The popularity of the crossover SUV market means you’ll no longer turn heads or impress your neighbours if you buy a Nissan Qashqai or Skoda Karoq - no matter how competent they might be. The Jeep Compass offers something a little different, with a rugged image and genuine off-road ability.

It’s based on the same platform as the smaller Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X, sharing petrol and diesel engines with other models in the Jeep range. Unfortunately, the diesel engines, in particular, are noisy and unrefined, while the automatic gearbox is frustratingly slow to respond.

It’s not a nimble handler, either, with overly light steering and roly-poly body control. Still, that’s a small price to pay if you wish to venture off the tarmac. It’s not going to keep up with a Jeep Wrangler when the going gets tough, but the Compass Trailhawk ticks a lot of boxes for off-road enthusiasts - with its lifted suspension, hill-descent control and underbody skid plates. It’s expensive, though.

The Compass interior is practical, with enough room for four adults and a boot that’s pretty much as big as alternatives (although it’s far from the best in class in this regard). It lacks the showroom appeal of rivals, though, with lots of brittle finishes and an overwhelming amount of buttons.

The line-up starts with the Compass Sport. This is a fairly basic choice, with a tiny five-inch infotainment system, 16-inch alloy wheels and cruise control amongst the specification highlights. The mid-spec Longitude is our choice of the range, with nice-to-have features like an 8.4-inch navigation system, ambient lighting and dual-zone climate control.

The Compass Limited is a flashier option with 18-inch wheels, chrome exterior highlights and an upgraded Beats sound system. Then there’s the aforementioned Trailhawk topping the range, with its extensive list of off-road features.

All models come with a wide range of standard safety kit, which has helped get the Compass a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. This includes a forward collision warning system which can apply the brakes if it detects an impending collision, as well as a lane departure warning feature which will nudge the steering if it looks like you’re straying from your lane.

While the latest Jeep Compass is far from perfect, it is significantly better than the original model that was sold between 2008 and 2015. Fortunately, a brief hiatus of the Compass in the UK (not that anyone missed it…) means you’re unlikely to get them confused on the used market.

Some of its flaws could be forgiven if the Compass was cheap. But it’s not. New prices start significantly higher than a Nissan Qashqai or Kia Sportage, while high-spec models are up against the Volvo XC40 and Audi Q3. You’d have to really want a Jeep badge.

Is the Jeep Compass right for you?

Are you dead against buying a competent but unexciting crossover like the Nissan Qashqai? In which case, it’s easy to see the appeal of the Jeep Compass. You’d probably be better putting your reservations to one side and buying a Skoda Karoq or a bigger choice like the Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V, though.

What’s the best Jeep Compass model/engine to choose

You probably don’t want a low-spec Compass Sport model as this feels particularly basic. The Compass Longitude is better, with highlights including an 8.4-inch navigation system, part-(faux) leather seats and a useful reversing camera. Higher-spec models are pricey and difficult to justify, especially compared to more premium rivals.

What other cars are similar to the Jeep Compass?

The Jeep Compass is a slightly left-field alternative to cars like the Skoda Karoq, Peugeot 3008 and Nissan Qashqai. In terms of pricing, it also competes with slightly bigger SUVs like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 - and you could even compare it to premium cars like the Volvo XC40 or Jaguar E-Pace. You probably shouldn’t, though.

Comfort and design: Jeep Compass interior

"You sit quite high up in the Compass, which makes a nice change compared to a lot of more conventional crossover rivals. There’s loads of adjustment available in the seats and steering wheel, while space is pretty generous - although the high window line means it feels a bit claustrophobic in the back."

Jeep Compass front interior

Considering its near-premium price tag, the Compass does feel significantly low-rent. There are lots of recognisable Fiat parts and some of the buttons are awkwardly positioned.

The boot is smaller than you’d find in a Skoda Karoq or Peugeot 3008, with the rear wheel arches noticeably intruding on space. There’s quite a serious lip for hoisting bulky items over, too.

Handling and ride quality: What is the Jeep Compass like to drive?

"The entry-level petrol is a 1.4-litre turbo. This produces 140PS and is combined with a six-speed manual gearbox and two-wheel drive. If you’d like four-wheel drive or a nine-speed auto ’box, there’s also a 170PS version of the same engine."

Jeep Compass frontright exterior

The diesel line-up starts with a basic 1.6-litre 120PS engine which is sold in front-wheel-drive flavour with a six-speed manual gearbox. There’s also a 2.0-litre diesel with either 140 or 170PS. The former comes with six-speed manual transmission, while the latter features a nine-speed automatic transmission. Both have four-wheel drive.

It feels like a pretty old-fashioned SUV to drive. No matter which engine you choose, the Compass lacks refinement - it almost seems deliberate, in order to give the Compass a rugged indestructible edge. The steering is very light, which doesn’t provide a lot of confidence in bends, and it’ll lean more than conventional rivals.

MPG and fuel costs: What does a Jeep Compass cost to run?

"The Jeep Compass is pretty good on fuel, with the most efficient model being the 120PS 1.6-litre diesel. This officially returns 64.2mpg in combined WLTP fuel economy tests. The 140PS 2.0-litre diesel, meanwhile, is good for 54.3mpg, while the 170PS version returns 49.6mpg."

Jeep Compass gearstick

The 140PS 1.4-litre petrol achieves 45.6mpg while the 170PS 1.4 is officially rated at 40.9mpg.

Prices, versions and specification

The most affordable Compass is badged the Sport. This is fairly basic, with highlights including a five-inch touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio (note: no navigation), cruise control and air conditioning. It rides on silver 16-inch alloy wheels.

Jeep Compass back exterior

The Longitude model adds chrome window surrounds, fabric and faux-leather seats with electric lumbar adjustment, ambient LED interior lighting and dual-zone climate control. There’s an 8.4-inch touchscreen navigation system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a reversing camera and keyless entry. The wheels are upgraded to 17-inch alloys.

The Compass Limited looks a bit flashier, with silver and grey 18-inch alloys (diamond-cut alternatives are available as an option), various chrome exterior highlights and LED signature lighting. The interior gets heated leather seats with eight-way adjustment, a heated steering wheel and a seven-inch colour instrument cluster. The radio is upgraded to a Beats unit, while parking is aided by a front and rear park assistance system. Blind spot and cross path detection is added too.

If you want to look like an off-road adventurer, look for a Jeep Compass Trailhawk. This gets all of the desirable 4x4 features including hill descent control, rock mode, bespoke front and rear bumpers, raised off-road suspension, skid plates and a rear tow hook. Inside, there’s a heated steering wheel, all-weather floor mats and heated leather seats with eight-way electric adjustment.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Is it worth buying Jeep Compass?

We'd think twice before buying a Jeep Compass. While we like the looks and the image, the car itself is not on a par with rivals and can't compete on quality, price or equipment. Jeep also has a poor track record for reliability.

Georgia Petrie

Answered by

Georgia Petrie

Is the Jeep Compass reliable?

Jeep does not have a good reputation for long term reliability and often performs badly in owner surveys. In the 2020 HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index, Jeep came bottom off all the manufacturers with owners dissatisfied across the board, especially in areas of fuel economy and build quality.

Dan Powell

Answered by

Dan Powell

Is the Jeep Compass a good car?

Jeep has a rugged image and the Trailhawk is good off-road, but it doesn't feel like a premium car and the car feels very dated when driving on-road.

Russell Campbell

Answered by

Russell Campbell

Jeep Compass cars for sale on heycar

Number of cars available
£16K - £39K
Price bracket of these cars
WhiteBlue+ 6 more
Colours available on heycar
5 doors
Door options available

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