Special Edition: 2019 Jeep Compass Upland 4x4 Test Drive

The Upland has a front skid plate and tow hooks — just like the hardocre Trailhawk.

The Latest Compass Gets New Equipment Packages and Refreshed Sheet Metal

-- by Derek Shiekhi

Jeep came out with an all-new, second-generation Compass for the 2017 model year. It featured fresh sheet metal, a new four-cylinder engine, and updated safety and infotainment technology. The 2019 Compass is more about small changes to the Compass — mainly related to cosmetics and equipment packages. We got a preview of some of the alterations Jeep made to its 2019 line of vehicles at the annual Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) What's New event up at its Chelsea Proving Grounds in Michigan last year (click here for the recap).

Aside from offering a new color and tweaking the equipment available in the Sport and Latitude models, Jeep added a new suite of cosmetic upgrades. The Compass Limited is available with a High Altitude Appearance Package that includes Satin Gloss Granite and Gloss Black exterior accents, 19-inch Satin Gloss Granite wheels, an 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation, and more. Jeep also added a new model to the Compass lineup. Using the entry-level Compass Sport as a starting point, it created the Upland special edition. Earlier this year, I spent a week driving and learning about it.


The Compass Upland shares its front clip with the hardcore Compass Trailhawk.

2019 Jeep Compass Upland Exterior

If the front fascia of the Upland looks familiar, there's a good reason for that. It's the same one you'll find on the hardcore Compass Trailhawk. The Upland also has a front suspension skid plate and front tow hooks just like the Trailhawk, but the hooks on the Upland are matte black instead of Ruby Red. You'll notice black is the predominant theme to the Upland treatment. Think of it as Jeep's version of the Midnight Edition package from Nissan. The grille, fog lamp and tow hook bezels, badges, roof rails, and lower rear fascia trim are all covered in black. Even the windows are tinted dark.

Not everything gets blacked out, though. The side mirrors and door handles are the same color as the body, which in my case was Sting Gray (the new color for the 2019 Compass). The dual-tip exhaust finisher is bright and shiny. The Upland's 17-inch polished aluminum wheels with gloss black pockets fall in between the two extremes.

The Compass Upland has a seven-inch touchscreen which features FCA’s excellent Uconnect 4.

2019 Jeep Compass Upland Interior

The Upland's interior touches are more subtle. If you look closely (and have a memory for random facts), you'll recognize the floor mats from the Compass Trailhawk. The silver anodized trim on the steering wheel and around the climate control system vents, center touchscreen, and shifter are more obvious.

The rest is what you'd expect to see inside of a Compass Sport. The wheel manually tilts and telescopes. There's dual-zone climate control with an automatic setting. You can use the Uconnect 4 system's seven-inch touchscreen to connect your phone through Bluetooth and Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, depending on which brand you have. The second row is a 60/40-split bench, and offered plenty of legroom.

Jeep added a substantial amount of options to my Upland tester's equipment list. The Cold Weather Group outfitted it with several luxuries, including remote start, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. Thanks to the Technology Group, I had keyless entry, a seven-inch driver information display screen that showed me things such as my tire pressures and fuel economy, and Sirius XM satellite radio. My press loaner had the optional nine-speed automatic, a convenience which Jeep bundled with the comfort of air vents for rear-seat passengers.

The Compass Upland features a TigerShark four-cylinder good for  180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque.

2019 Jeep Compass Upland Performance

The 2019 Compass carries on with the naturally aspirated 2.4-liter TigerShark four-cylinder engine. Output is 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. My media loaner routed that through the nine-speed auto I mentioned earlier and the full-time Jeep Active Drive 4x4 system. According to the EPA's calculations, that combination of hardware is capable of getting 22 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined*. I averaged 21.7 over the course of putting 317 miles on the Compass Upland. When the time comes to fill up, you can go with regular unleaded.

By default, Jeep Active Drive routes power through the Compass's front wheels to save fuel. If it detects a need for additional traction, it automatically engages the rear axle. All I had to do to bring both axles online myself was push the button marked "4WD Lock."

A dial behind the shift lever allowed me to engage the different modes of the Select-Terrain System. Auto was the default mode for everyday driving. With a quick turn, I could prepare the Compass Upland to take on sand, snow, or mud. If the brake-lock differential sensed a wheel on an axle was losing its grip, it would apply the brake to that wheel and route power to the opposite wheel that did have traction to help the Upland get out of a sticky situation. Beyond that, off-roading in the Compass Upland would be a matter of not exceeding its 8.2 inches of ground clearance, 16.8-degree approach angle, 22.9-degree breakover angle, and 31.7-degree departure angle.

The Compass Upland features drive modes for different terrain, including snow, sand, and mud.

2019 Jeep Compass Upland Safety

With the exception of the Technology Group's rear parking assistance system, all of the safety gear on my Compass Upland media special was standard. That included the front, front-row side, and full-length side-curtain airbags, back-up camera, rollover mitigation technology, stability control, and tire pressure monitoring. After going through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's rigorous testing, the Compass scored four out of five stars in frontal crash scenarios and five out of five stars in front and rear side crash situations. Overall, it got four out of five stars.

 The Jeep Compass has 27.2 ft³ of storage with the seats up, and 59.8 ft³ with them folded.

2019 Jeep Compass Upland Overall

Two of the most common things people do with their Jeeps are customize and go off-road in them. The 2019 Compass Upland special edition offers a cool custom look from the factory and, when equipped with four-wheel drive, provides an array of software and hardware features designed to handle unpaved roads. Prices for the Upland start at $25,790.** Whether you're looking for a base model like that or one generously equipped like my $29,175 press loaner, you can find it at an AutoNation Jeep dealership.

Categories: Test Drive Reviews
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