The Jeep brand is powerful and while not all Jeeps are equal, they all shares capabilities that set them apart. The 2019 Jeep Compass is no different and while not the best, it still delivers.
Shoppers in the compact crossover segment could be faced with a serious headache if they’re just starting the process of selecting which models to put on the list. If there’s a need for a capable off-roading vehicle, the first place to look is in Jeep’s lineup.
The 2019 Jeep Compass, now in its second generation, soldiers on as the surviving nameplate from the joining of the Patriot and Compass into one vehicle to left space for the wee yet capable Jeep Renegade.
The current Jeep Compass, introduced for the 2017 model year, shed its old softer side and took notes from the more robust-looking Patriot. This was necessary as the segment in which it competes is an absolute battle-royal of competent, viable and entertaining compact SUVs such as the Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson.
The Compass has its work cut out for it, but it does have an ace up its sleeve. Let’s take a closer look at the crossover.
Things the 2019 Jeep Compass does well
If you need to get somewhere, as in beyond the paved road, no other compact SUV will be able to take you as far. If you own a cottage in the woods, by a river, on the other side of the mountain, then look no further than the $35,000 Compass Trailhawk. It is the only trim to include Jeep’s Active Drive 4×4 system with an enhanced Selec-Terrain Traction management system along with a “low” setting and an off-road suspension. It is the only small SUV that will survive the real rough stuff, especially with a few choice options.
Despite its condensed exterior dimensions, the Jeep Compass is reasonably spacious. The boot will contain, according to FCA, up to 800 litres of gear positioning it somewhere in the middle of the pack. The cabin is very much lifted from the Cherokee. It’s functional with good ergonomics and matching fit and finish.
There’s but one powertrain offered with the 2019 Jeep Compass. The Tigershark 2.4-litre normally aspirated 4-cylinder engine generates 180-horsepower and 175 lb.-ft. of torque. Front-wheel drive units can be spec’d out with either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission while AWD versions land a 9-speed automatic transmission. When the 9-speed is in a good mood, it can be clever and efficient, making the best of engine’s decent torque.
Even the most basic trims get Uconnect 4 with a 7-inch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, push-button and numerous safety features.
We’ve always thought that the smaller modern Jeeps are decent to good to drive. This applies to the Compass, as it does to the Renegade and the Cherokee. The chassis are well sorted providing competent road holding manners.
Things the 2019 Jeep Compass doesn’t do so well
The 2019 Compass is fairly expensive. At nearly $29,000, the base FWD Compass Sport is over $1,000 more expensive than most of its equivalent rivals with an automatic transmission and with fewer standard features. Much like the Jeep Cherokee, sticker prices are high. Sure, FCA/Jeep will give you massive multi-thousand-dollar discounts simply for checking out their webpage…
Again, much like the Cherokee, with the exception of the Trailhawk version, all others are generally outclassed in value, content, and/or powertrain-wise.
Despite improvements, the 9-speed automatic transmission, which was a source of many woes in the not so distant past, still concerns us. We’ve driven many FCA vehicles with this transmission and always come across odd behaviours which leads us to think that its long-term reliability is not up to snuff.
What we tell our friends
With so many viable options in this segment, we tell them to contemplate something else. As stated above, there’s but the Trailhawk version to seriously consider and for specific reasons. There’s nothing more to add here.