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August 04, 2019
Driving Dynamics
May 24, 2019
Driving Dynamics
2019 Jeep 1199 Compass 31567 401495
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Redesigned as a 2019 model, the compact Jeep Compass crossover SUV doesn’t veer far from Jeep’s off-road reputationΓÇöbut rather than go full-bore, it leans more toward the practical and the useful.

Four trim levels are offered: Sport, Latitude, Limited, and rugged Trailhawk. Upland, Altitude, and High Altitude are option packages.

An Upland special-edition variant of Sport trim level is available for the 2019 model year, with 17-inch wheels, a front skid plate, and a black grille and roof. Limited Compasses can have a new High Altitude appearance package, with satin gloss 19-inch wheels, an 8.4inch touchscreen with navigation, HID headlights, and a black roof. Adaptive cruise control has been added to the Advanced Safety Group Package. Sport and Latitude models now have a 7.0-inch display screen.

Every Compass holds a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 180 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard on Sport and four-wheel-drive Latitude models. Front-drive Latitude and Limited models get a standard 6-speed automatic transmission. A 9-speed automatic is standard on Trailhawk and four-wheel-drive Limited, and optional for lesser trim levels with 4WD.

Sport, Latitude, and Limited trim levels have standard front-wheel drive, with four-wheel drive an option. Trailhawk versions are four-wheel-drive only.

Official rating agencies disagree on crashworthiness. The IIHS gave the 2019 Compass top ΓÇ£GoodΓÇ¥ scores on each crash test. When properly equipped, the small crossover earned a ΓÇ£SuperiorΓÇ¥ rating for frontal-crash prevention. The Compass earned only a four-star score overall and for the frontal crash from the NHTSA.

Jeep offers active-safety features on all but the base model. They can be fitted with optional forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and rear parking sensors.

Model Lineup

Prices do not include $1,495 destination charge.

Sport ($21,845 with front-drive, $23,345 with four-wheel drive) comes with manual transmission, dual-zone automatic climate control, 16-inch steel wheels, cloth upholstery, remote keyless entry, and a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. A 6-speed automatic transmission adds $1,500.

Upland ($23,345 with 4WD only) includes a rugged-look front fascia, black accents, body-color mirrors, and 17-inch wheels.

Latitude ($25,095 with FWD, $25,095 with 4WD) includes automatic headlights, 17-inch wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cloth/vinyl upholstery, privacy glass, and cornering lights. An Advanced Safety group is optional.

Altitude ($26,515 with FWD, $28,015 with 4WD) features black accents, two-tone exterior with black roof, piano black interior accents, black cloth/vinyl seating, and 18-inch wheels.

Limited ($28,195 with FWD, $29,695 with 4WD) includes heated perforated leather-trimmed front seats, heated steering wheel, a power driver’s seat, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, 18-inch wheels, and a 7.0-inch instrument cluster. Front-drive versions include a 6-speed automatic; four-wheel drive, a 9-speed.

Trailhawk 4WD ($29,195) gets the 9-speed automatic, black roof, cloth/leather seat upholstery, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, a 7.0-inch instrument display, 17-inch all-terrain tires, and red tow hooks.

High Altitude ($30,190 with FWD, $31,690 with 4WD) upgrades the Latitude trim, adding navigation, 19-inch wheels, bi-xenon HID headlights, black leather-trimmed seats with accent stitching, and BeatsAudio sound.


Family resemblances are hard to miss. Bigger than a Jeep Renegade but smaller than a Cherokee, the handsome Compass borrows a sizable portion of its good looks from both the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee.

Up front is the usual Jeep seven-slot grille, but softer lines separate the Compass from a Wrangler or Renegade. Along the bodysides and approaching the tail, the compact Compass looks more modern ΓÇô especially with a contrasting-color roof.

The base Sport model lacks standard roof rails and alloy wheels. Trailhawks get their own strapping appearance, with tow hooks, husky tires, and bumpers that provide greater clearance.


Organic shapes and toned-down lines greet passengers entering the Compass. Climate controls and other selectors sit below the 7.0-inch infotainment screen, while a chunky traction-control knob is mounted below the center stack.

In both materials and execution of details, the cabin looks pleasantly upscale. Base models contain durable cloth upholstery. The Latitude trim steps up to a sturdy-looking blend of synthetic material and cloth, and the Trailhawk’s seats wear leather and cloth. Top-rung Limited trim features full leather that feels thin but appealing.

The Compass’ front seats are a bit narrow and thinly padded. Every Compass has a height-adjustable driver’s seat, but power seats are an option. Two adults should be comfortable in back, but three across have less space. At 38.3 inches, rear legroom beats the average. Headroom is abundant for taller riders.

With rear seatbacks upright, cargo volume totals 27.2 cubic feet ΓÇô about right for the class. Folding the seatbacks expands space to 59.8 cubic feet, but the cargo floor is taller off the ground than most.

Driving Impressions

Rather than aiming for challenging off-road adventures, Jeep’s Compass emphasizes comfort and usability. Civilized and quietly comfortable, this compact SUV is more at home around town than traversing the craggy wilderness.

Power is adequate in suburban driving, but feels pokier on the open road. The 9-speed automatic flicks between a lot of gears as it hunts for speed, but it needs prodding to kick down for highway passing.

Like many compact crossovers, the Compass steers well and rides quite comfortably, its fully independent suspension handily soaking up pavement imperfections. Ride quality isn’t marred by 17-inch wheels, but a Limited, with larger wheels, can become jittery.

Trailhawk models, in particular, are set up for off-road experiences. Helpful features include a simulated low-speed first gear with 20:1 crawl ratio, a ΓÇ£RockΓÇ¥ terrain-selection setting, and a raised suspension.

For a compact SUV, the Compass is reasonably fuel-efficient. A Compass with front-wheel drive and a 6-speed manual is EPA-rated at 23/32 mpg City/Highway, or 26 mpg Combined. Automatic drops those ratings to 22/31/25 mpg. Four-wheel drive is EPA-rated at 22/31/25 mpg (manual) or 22/30/25 mpg (automatic). All use regular gasoline.


The 2019 Jeep Compass is tuned for on-road comfort more than off-road capabilities. Engine power is moderate; we prefer the 6-speeds to the 9-speed automatic. Even base models are decently equipped, but active-safety features are limited to the options list.


Driving impressions by Aaron Cole, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.

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