2018 Jeep Compass Walk Around
The all-new Compass is quite attractive, faithfully copying the form and profile of the Cherokee only in about 7/8 scale. From the front, it looks more like the Grand Cherokee, having its seven-slot grille, with a black air intake below the body-colored bumper. There’s a lot of silver trim, but fortunately not the Cherokee’s thin grille and strange split headlamps.
The body looks sleeker with the optional black roof. Without the optional roof rack and alloy wheels, it looks very plain. The 17-inch wheels are big enough, 19-inch wheels overkill.
The Trailhawk brings some Jeep back into the Compass, with its higher ground clearance and all-terrain tires. But the nose and tail are less clean, with a front bumper that rises over a larger air intake; and horizontal silver trim on the liftgate that appears to have gotten lost on its way to the Limited.
The cabin speaks Jeep’s current design language, with a lot of pleasant curves and organic shapes. It’s well finished. Climate controls are neatly positioned on the center console below the infotainment screen, and over a big dial that sets the modes for the all-wheel drive.
The quality of materials is generally high, although it might be brightened with savvy trim packages. The dash panel is soft-touch plastic, and the substantial fabric seats in the Sport feel durable. The Latitude blends fabric and synthetic leather, while the Limited gets inexpensive leather.
But overall, the Compass doesn’t match its rivals. Headroom and legroom are good enough for four adults, but because it’s narrow like the sub-compact Renegade it’s based on, you can forget about five, at least in comfort. Even in the front, the occupants’ shoulders are close. And the seats need better padding in front and rear. Also, the headrests are angled too far forward, something manufacturers do to get better crash-test scores.
However the front seat is height adjustable (manual on the Sport, power on the Limited), which is useful for its versatility.
Despite its narrowness, the cabin feels sizable for a compact. There’s 27.2 cubic feet or cargo space behind the rear seat, which splits and folds to create more. But the cargo floor is 31.1 inches, a bit high for loading.