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Jeep Compass 2018 review: Limited Petrol

There’s something about Jeeps, isn’t there? They carry the image of open-topped freedom and big wheels, bouncy rides through desert roads and endless summers. Jeep’s newer fleet still seems to carry these same memories. 

So, testing the Compass this week, which is Jeep's not-quite-small, not-quite-mid-sized SUV, brought all those thoughts into play. Of course, the Compass is more of a city SUV, but the model I had, the Limited, also has off-road capabilities, which is a point of difference in this market. Did I need that? Not really, but it’s nice to know it’s there. 

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How does it drive?

It’s a pretty cruisy drive in the Jeep Compass. The handling is great, the steering not stiff and with a 2.4-litre petrol engine, there’s enough power to get me up hills and around town fast. Though it is loud when you push it up a hill, it sounds like it’s taking a lot of effort. It’s a tiny bit slow on take off but once you get going it’s zippy and I felt good driving it. 

The Compass is easy to park, for an SUV (image credit: Dean McCartney) The Compass is easy to park, for an SUV (image credit: Dean McCartney)

The size also makes it easy to park, for an SUV, and this really impacts your day-to-day driving, especially if you’re like me, going in between work, school, daycare and the billion other places young children seem to need to get to. 

I’m constantly looking for parking spots. At 11.1m the turning circle is a decent size so you can squeeze in U-turns whereas in a bigger car you might need to do a three-point-turn. It's just another one of those things that gets annoying if you have to do it 50 times in one day. 

As suspected, I did not need to use the off-road capabilities in my week of driving, and if you’re just doing the suburban route it’s unlikely you will need them, either. But for weekends away when you have to drive along tricky dirt roads, climbing and descending big hills, it’s good to know there’s more traction than usual. 

What does it look like?

One thing is certain: Jeep makes cool looking cars, and the Compass is no exception. The exterior makes it one of the better looking cars in its class. The grille on the front is a strong shape and I reckon they’ve nailed it, looks-wise.

I reckon they've nailed it, looks-wise. (image credit: Dean McCartney) I reckon they've nailed it, looks-wise. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

Inside is good, too, even if it’s not particularly luxurious. The dash and centre console are well designed and thought out. I found the seats a bit flat however, and the passenger seat is a tad uncomfortable as it pitches your head too far forward. All the seats are leather though, as is the steering wheel, which feels nice under the hands.

The dash and centre console are well designed and thought out. The dash and centre console are well designed and thought out.

How easy is it to use everyday?

Smaller cars suit me. They’re just easier to get in to. I can more easily reach behind to pick up Rainbow Dash because my children have dropped her on the floor and are hassling me. The kids can get into the car on their own and I just have to do… less. Which helps, right? So ticks for the size.

Ticks for the size. (image credit: Dean McCartney) Ticks for the size. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

There are two cupholders in the front, two in the back and a bottle holder in each door, plus an easy-to-use centre storage bin. 

Everything is in reaching distance (well, it was when I finally found the volume button for the audio on the back of the steering wheel and stopped reaching for the knob). 

And lots of things are automated in the Compass Limited, all from the driver’s seat. For example,  putting the driver’s seat into position; opening the boot with a click of a button on the roof; the park brake goes on and off electronically, which is such a nice touch - especially with electric park brakes as I’m always turning them off when they’re on, or vice versa! It’s great not having to worry about it and just put the car into drive and take off.

The boot also opens automatically via a button on the key and closes with a button inside the cargo area, plus it’s a good height to lift groceries in and out of. So yes, in answer to your question, the Jeep Compass is a practical car. 

How spacious is it?

Surprisingly, for a car that is not huge, it has a fair amount of space inside. My 185cm husband and I both had enough leg and head room in the front, and in the back my two girls, aged four and six, had loads of room to comfortably create their own spaces, which is a good thing when they’re in a car together for long periods of time.

My two girls had loads of room. (image credit: Dean McCartney) My two girls had loads of room. (image credit: Dean McCartney)

At 438 litres, the boot is one of the biggest in its class and I could fit a full load of groceries or the kid’s bikes in there (sidenote: we just taught our six-year old to ride a bike with no training wheels! Soon her bike will be too big for any boot). 

The Compass has one of the largest boots in its class (image credit: Dean McCartney) The Compass has one of the largest boots in its class (image credit: Dean McCartney)

A good sized boot is a must for any family, and if your family is small, like mine, this is just enough. It's not huge, but is enough for every day.

How safe is it?

The Jeep Compass Limited has airbags for driver and front passenger, plus side curtain airbags that extend to the back. There are two ISOFIX points and three top tethers for children’s car seats and it has a maximum five star ANCAP rating

To get advanced safety features however, like auto emergency braking, lane departure warnings and adaptive cruise control, you will have to pay $2450 for the 'Technology Pack'. I did find these helpful, especially the warning that beeps when you are reversing out of a perpendicular park and a car is coming along the street - my driveway is practically a blind spot exactly like this and coming out is stressful, so it was a great feature for me. 

What’s the tech like?

Plug your phone in and you’ll be hooked up to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which comes standard on the Compass Limited. It means you’re instantly connected with your phone to the main apps like Spotify and maps, and it’s especially helpful if you constantly swap drivers and want to hook in different phones.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on the Compass Limited (image credit: Dean McCartney) Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on the Compass Limited (image credit: Dean McCartney)

The car also comes with sat nav and digital radio, plus a reversing camera. 

What does it cost to run?

The Jeep Compass Limited starts at $41,250 (before on-road costs) for the petrol version. The power tailgate came with the 'Technology Pack', which costs an extra $2450, the sunroof is $1950, and the two tone colour (with the black roof) is $495. 

Fuel efficiency in the Compass Limited is higher than in the lower grades, with a claimed 9.7 litres per 100km

It’s covered by Jeep’s five year/100,000km warranty with services every 12 months.

The Wrap

The Jeep Compass has good power in the engine and was fast when I needed it to be, had enough room for my family of four and it looked great on the road, which meant I felt good driving it. 

I gave it a family rating of 7.5 out of 10, taking points off for the lack of advanced safety features as standard, and the shape of the front passenger seat. My children gave it a 7.0. They rate an automatic boot as much as I do and thought the blue paint job was ace. 


Exterior design
Interior space
Boot size


Fuel consumption
Front passenger seat




The Kids:


$23,500 - $41,990

Based on 48 car listings in the last 6 months


Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.