The 2018 Jeep Compass Is a Cheap and Adventurous Used SUV

Despite some unsavory reviews, the Jeep Compass was one of the best-selling cars in 2018. The 2018 Jeep Compass initially impressed with the style and roomy cabin. And if you want adventure, this small SUV is uniquely enticing. 

The Compass is an exceptional off-roader 

A red Jeep Compass puts its capability on display by driving into water
The Jeep Compass showing off its capability | Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

The Compass’s main appeal is that it’s a Jeep. It shares the same sleek style as its big bro, the Grand Cherokee. The Compass is much smaller than the Grand Cherokee, but it can still hold its own on the trails. The Compass’s class rivals don’t compare. 

All Compass models come with the same 180-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Models with front-wheel drive are available with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. The Compass is a comfortable enough ride overall, but it can also feel pretty stiff. 

A grey 2018 Jeep Compass off-road.
2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk | Jeep

Most critics also knock this Jeep for its underpowered engine. Some consumers echoed this on Cars.com and said the Compass feels more like a Prius than a Jeep. But for the most part, the Compass earned positive reviews for performance. A few drivers liked that it drives more comfortably than the Wrangler. 

The Compass’s entry-level Sport trim has 8.2 inches of ground clearance, which about average for this segment. But if you plan to have regular off-road adventures, you’ll want to shop for Trailhawk models. The top-of-the-line Trailhawk trim has 8.5 inches of ground clearance. This trim also has Jeep’s four-wheel-drive system, an off-road-tuned suspension, and skid plates. 

It has a comfy cabin too, but there are some compromises 

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As with its performance, the Compass is also a mixed bag on the inside. On the bright side, the Compass is a five-seater with generous legroom. Though, taller passengers might not be as comfy. Some people may not be happy with the Compass’s hard plastic finishings either. 

Like most of the competition, the Compass is standard with cloth upholstery. The next-level Latitude trim adds nicer touches, such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel. For the most upscale comfort experience, shop for Limited models. 

The Limited trim replaces the Compass’s standard 5-inch touchscreen with an 8.4-inch. You also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other Limited amenities include leather upholstery, heated front seats, and remote start.

Is the 2018 Compass a reliable used car?

The Jeep Compass on display at the London Motor Show
The Jeep Compass | John Keeble/Getty Images

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The 2018 Compass doesn’t have the best reliability ratings. For example, Consumer Reports gave this Jeep a 1 out of 5 for predicted reliability, making it the lowest-rated model in the segment. CR’s low score reflects the Compass’s past issues with its engine, transmission, and body integrity. 

There are also six NHTSA safety recalls associated with the 2018 Compass. The recalls concerned the Compass’s engine/engine cooling, electrical system, airbags, suspension, and service brakes. Make sure the dealer addressed these actions before you buy.

You might want to consider one of the Compass’s most formidable competitors, the Subaru Forester. The Forester has better ratings. However, the Compass’s reliability scores from RepairPal add peace of mind. RepairPal’s data shows that this Jeep is above-average for dependability and that it has lower-than-average repair costs. The average cost for a 2018 Compass ranges between $14,750 to $19,675.