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Subcompact crossovers are a hot commodity right now, and the 2021 Jeep Compass fits well within this segment. Within the Jeep family, it slots between the extra-small Jeep Renegade SUV and the Jeep Cherokee. While it does not have a ton of immediate competitors in its segment, the Compass experiences a lot of sibling rivalry. And that is not necessarily a bad thing.
But it does make the buying decision a bit more difficult when you have to choose between three sizes of smaller Jeep SUVs. Looking for a Trailhawk trim? You won't find one on the Gladiator or Wrangler, but - good news - you sure will find one on the Jeep Compass. The ever-popular Trailhawk is known for its excellent off-roading capabilities. It comes with enhancements like all-terrain tires, a lifted suspension, and underbody skid plates.
Of course, there are three other trim levels to choose from: the Sport, Latitude, and Limited. Each one of them has something a bit different to offer, especially when it comes to standard features. The Latitude is offering Altitude and 80th Anniversary Editions special to this year's line-up, and they certainly have their own unique set of distinctive features.
Here is what you should know about each trim level: It is powered by a standard 2.4-L 4-cylinder engine that gets paired up with front-wheel-drive (or all-wheel-drive as an option, save for the Trailhawk, on which it is standard issue) and a 6-speed automatic transmission on the FWDs or 9-sped automatic transmission on the AWDs. So, yes, this does give you some leeway for personalization.
Which trim level might be the right one for you? Should you look at a different-sized Jeep? Let's go through all four of the 2021 Jeep Compass's trim levels and their standard (and optional) features. In the end, we will let you know which Compass we think most buyers will enjoy the best.
Compare the 2021 Jeep Compass Sport vs Latitude - What is the Difference?
Time to kick this trim level comparison review off with an examination of the base Sport trim level and the next level up from it, the Latitude. The Sport, as already mentioned, is powered by the same 2.4-L 4-cylinder engine that comes on every trim level. This powertrain comes with engine start/stop, and it gets 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway in the FWD models. Its power output is 180 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque.
The Sport's exterior design features elements such as an available Mopar body side graphic, available bright day light opening moldings, an available hood graphic designed by Mopar, available Mopar rock rails, standard 16-inch styled black steel wheels, and optional deep-tinted sunscreen glass. You can also get black side roof rails added on if you would like. A monotone paint job is standard, and you can take your pick between 10 different tones. A front license plate bracket is optional, as are a windshield wiper de-icer.
Of course, the Latitude adds a few more standard and optional features. Available options include auto high beam control, rain-sensitive intermittent windshield wipers, and advanced brake assist. Advanced brake assist functions in emergency situations by applying the maximum amount of braking power to the vehicle. Also, take note that you get upgraded to 17-inch silver painted aluminum wheels on this trim level. There are automatic headlights and front fog lights that get added, as do the roof rails.
So, what do these two trim levels look like on the inside? And what do they have for entertainment and safety features? Well, for starters, the Sport comes with a standard black interior cloth upholstery while the Latitude lets you choose between that and a black/sky gray interior color mix option. The cloth low-back bucket seats on the Sport are upgraded to premium cloth material with vinyl on the Latitude's bucket seats. Heating is an available option on the front seats, and the front seats are all manually adjustable.
Keyless entry and ignition both come standard on the Latitude, making entry and start-up all the more efficient. The Sport and Latitude both have a 7-inch touchscreen display that accompanies the user-friendly Uconnect infotainment system. The Latitude does get upgraded to a 9-speaker Alpine premium sound system with a built-in amplifier for high-quality audio.
Also, on the Latitude, you can opt for a power sunroof that is dual-pane panoramic. Mopar all-weather floor mats can be added too. An auto-dimming rear-view mirror replaces the Sport's standard day/night rear-view mirror. You can opt for more Mopar features too, such as their premium carpet floor mats, molded cargo tray, carpet cargo mat, and pedal kit. Want to upgrade the instrumentation cluster? You can opt for the 7-inch color driver information display for that upgrade.
Other features include an optional 115-volt auxiliary power outlet, adaptive cruise control with stop and go technology, and more driver aids. Optional driver aids and safety features include a remote start system, a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, full speed forward collision warning plus, lane departure warning plus, the ParkAssist rear park-assist system, and a security alarm.
There are quite a few packages that can be equipped on these vehicles. The Sport can get additions like Sport Appearance Plus, the Cold Weather Group, the Graphics Package by Mopar, the Interior Protection System by Mopar, and the Interior Premium Package by Mopar. On the Latitude, you can opt to equip the Convenience Group, the Driver Assistance Group, and the Sun and Sound Group.
Compare the 2021 Jeep Compass Latitude vs Altitude - What is the Difference?
Want something a little bit more tweaked? The Altitude is a variant of the Latitude that includes a few upgrades. The outside has a bright exhaust tip, and there are black rings on the likewise-black front grille. Black day light opening moldings come equipped. You also get a lot of gloss black features: a Compass badge, a Jeep badge, fog lamp bezels, and a lower rear fascia valance. Oh, and the wheels? Those are 18-inch aluminum wheels that get done in black. You even get a black roof and two-tone paint options.
That's a lot of black, right? Well, there's more where that came from, and you can find it inside of the Altitude's cabin. The interior hosts black interior premium cloth/vinyl upholstered bucket seats and offers the option of making the driver's seat 8-way power adjustable and the front passenger's seat 6-way manually adjustable. All of the interior accents are done in piano black trim. Otherwise, expect to find all the same standard features that are in the Latitude.
Compare the 2021 Jeep Compass Altitude vs 80th Anniversary Edition. What is the Difference?
The 80th Anniversary Edition of the Jeep Compass is another variant of the Latitude with some unique decor. It gets upgraded to 19-inch satin granite aluminum wheels, which are certainly quite chic. A power liftgate becomes available, and the interior has black leather upholstered seats. Also, the Uconnect 4 infotainment system comes with an 8.4-inch display and built-in navigation.
Compare the 2021 Jeep Compass 80th Anniversary Edition vs Limited Trim Level. What is the Difference?
The Latitude and its variants give the 2021 Jeep Compass some versatility, but there are a lot of features left as stand-alone options or that get relegated into expensive packages. The Limited takes some of these features and makes them standard.
On the outside, the Limited has the option of bi-xenon HID headlights that have LED signature lights built in. You can also opt for LED taillights. Other options include bodyside graphics, hood graphics, and rock rails done by Mopar. 18-inch polished aluminum wheels with gray pockets, but you can opt for 19-inch diamond-cut aluminums. The two-tone paint group is standard, but you can still opt for monotone colors.
Inside, the Limited gets a lot of upgrades. These include remote engine start, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, the 8.4-inch touchscreen display for the Uconnect 4, leather upholstery on the seats, heating for the front seats, a heated steering wheel wrapped in leather, and the power-adjustable driver's seat.
The previously-optional Driver Assistant features now come standard on the Limited trim level. This means that you get blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, automatic braking with the full-speed forward collision warning system, and lane keep assist.
Compare the 2021 Jeep Compass Limited vs Trailhawk - What is the Difference?
Where things really get shaken up is on the popular Trailhawk trim. As the Compass's line-topper, the Trailhawk gets many standard features. AWD is, of course, standard on this off-road oriented trim. The tires are oriented for off-roading, and the raised suspension improves the ride quality for off-roading. You also get underbody skid plates, hill descent controls, and tow hooks.
Other features are still left as options. These options include the bi-xenon HID headlights, the 9-speaker Alpine premium sound system, the power sunroof, the power liftgate, and the built-in navigation system.
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Which Trim to Choose?
As you can see, Jeep gives you a lot of solid options on the 2021 Jeep Compass. This oddly sized vehicle might be overlooked if it were not for one trim level though, and that is the Trailhawk. That is precisely why we think that the Trailhawk is going to be the trim level to invest in this model year.
The standard AWD and other features oriented for off-roading makes the Trailhawk stand out, seeing as how many Jeep SUV buyers want something that they can take off of the beaten path. However, the Limited should be a fine choice if you do not require AWD, and either of these two trim levels have plenty of standard features.
Having the suite of driver aids come standard is going to be a big selling point for these two trim levels. Blind spot monitoring will help alleviate the issues with blind spots caused by the Compass's design. The rear roof pillars are pretty chunky, so you will find that you benefit a lot from having blind spot monitoring with the rear cross-traffic alert. Luckily, the view out of the front windshield is quite expansive and requires little extra effort from the driver's eyes.
The Trailhawk is not really that fuel efficient when compared to the AWD-equipped trim levels on other vehicles like the Compass. The Trailhawk does get a real world estimate of about 28 mpg combined, whereas the EPA gives an estimate of 25 mpg combined. So you can expect the vehicle to deliver on what it promises; it just does not promise as much fuel efficiency as some of the top contenders in its segment.
Overall, we think that the 2021 Jeep Compass will be a smart buy for those wanting a modest amount of interior and cargo space. The Trailkhawk will definitely be the trim level to buy, especially since Jeep owners tend to love the off-roading experiences they get in the Trailhawk trims.
• Compare the 2020 Jeep Compass Trim Levels