The 2018 Jeep Compass vs 2018 Subaru Forester



Everyone likes having his or her own space. You can see that desire reflected in the evolution of the stereotypical family car, from its origins as a cramped station wagon to the now-popular mid-size SUV. These vehicles give us the freedom to drive anywhere we want in any conditions, and they also give us the space we need for our gear, our kids, and our kids' gear. Mid-size SUVs are also compact enough to fit in the garage, unlike some full-size SUVs. The two big contenders for that garage space here in Independence, Lee's Summit, and Kansas City are the 2018 Jeep Compass and 2018 Subaru Forester. Each has its strong points, but in a match-up the Jeep lives up to its longstanding reputation and wins the day. The 2018 Jeep Compass truly needs to be seen in person, and your Kansas City Jeep dealer has them in stock!

Trim Levels

There are four basic trim levels for the new 2018 Jeep Compass. The lineup starts with the affordable Compass Sport. At less than $21,000, it's a steal for a Jeep.Jeep Compass Sport. The base trim features a formidable four-cylinder engine and push-button start. Its Uconnect 3 infotainment system with 5-inch touchscreen pairs with Bluetooth, six speakers, and two USB ports. A back-up safety camera is standard, as are 60/40 split-folding rear seats and a six-speed manual transmission. Front-wheel drive comes standard, but there is a four-wheel-drive upgrade.

Jeep Compass Latitude. This trim takes the features and high performance of the Sport and envelops them with premium interior furnishings. The upholstery is trimmed with vinyl, the steering wheel and shifting knob are wrapped in leather, and the cabin perfectly balances form with function. A proximity key comes standard.

Jeep Compass Limited. This luxury trim has heated, power-adjustable, leather-trimmed front seats and a heated steering wheel. The upgraded Uconnect system offers satellite radio, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay on its 8.4-inch touch screen. A 115-volt outlet allows you to plug in virtually any device. With remote start, an automatic transmission, and 18-inch aluminum wheels, this trim performs just as good as it looks. It can be upgraded to include a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, four-wheel drive, and other features.

The Trail-Rated Jeep Compass Trailhawk. This trim perfectly fuses performance with a user-friendly interface, comfortable interior, and unparalleled off-road potential. Jeep's proprietary Active Drive Low 4x4 system comes standard, as does its 9-speed automatic transmission and off-road suspension system. The on/off road tires are all-season. Special badging, skid plates, and two tow hooks make this the 2018 Jeep Compass that can take you anywhere. The upgraded infotainment system insures that no matter how far afield you go, you'll stay connected to what's important.

By comparison, the 2018 Subaru Forester also has four main trim levels. The base trim starts at $22,795, it's not a Jeep, and it doesn't offer much beyond the standard features. Auto industry reviewers have stated that the "interior design and build quality trail some rivals" and that there are fewer tech features. Considering the cost, you might want to consider the Jeep.


The 2018 Jeep Compass starts with a powerful 180-horsepower 2.4L Tigershark MultiAir 2 engine and can be upgraded to make it even more impressive. Available with either an automatic or a six-speed manual transmission, it also features two different four-wheel-drive systems to choose from. While it is built to go off-road, it still boasts phenomenal fuel economy, clearing 23 miles per gallon in the city and a whopping 32 miles per gallon under highway conditions.

As for the competition, the base engine in the 2018 Subaru Forester is a little weaker. It's a 170-horsepower four cylinder. While you can upgrade to a turbocharged option, it will cost you, and it doesn't even get you that many more horses. Despite featuring a less powerful base engine, the 2018 Subaru Forester doesn't actually outperform the 2018 Jeep Compass in terms of gas mileage, either.


There is no SUV on the road as iconic and immediately recognizable as a Jeep, and the new 2018 Jeep Compass carries on that proud tradition. Built to be both stylish and aerodynamic, this is not the boxy SUV of yesteryear but a sleek, streamlined vehicle with strong fenders, a sweeping roofline, and a state-of-the-art LED lighting strip. The Limited features a gloss two-tone black roof.

The 2018 Subaru Forester doesn't look very different from earlier models and with good reason: the line hasn't been redesigned in years. It shows.


The sculpted interior of the 2018 Jeep Compass makes excellent use of space, with an adjustable cargo floor to stow your gear. Five people can ride in comfort, on-road or off. The optional 7-inch driver information digital cluster display is just as intuitive and useful as the standard Uconnect infotainment system, making every trip a treat for both driver and passengers. The power-adjustable seats are designed to be comfortable for the long haul, and the cabin materials feel as good as they look.

In terms of its interior, the 2018 Subaru Forester once again offers the same old design it has coasted with for years. It's not a bad cabin, as there is decent legroom and visibility. It's just a little bland.

Safety Features

The 2018 Jeep Compass prioritizes safety features, with a back-up camera now standard in every trim. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alerts, rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatic emergency braking, and a host of additional safety features are standard or available as upgrades, depending on the trim. This is why the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2018 Jeep Compass its highest ranking, and it's why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the 2018 Jeep Compass four stars for its rollover and frontal crash tests and five stars for its side crash test.

The 2018 Subaru Forester offers some of the same safety features that are found in the 2018 Jeep Compass. It received the same ratings from the NHTSC for its rollover, frontal crash, and side crash tests.

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