With amazing rear seat space for a compact SUV, pleasurable steering, and a comfortable ride, the Ford EcoSport was an enjoyable test.The 2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4x4 is a winner for its quality interior aspects as well as its spectacular off-road features and capabilities.

Compact SUVs offer solid 4WD systems and respectable fuel economy

The 2018 Ford EcoSport Titanium 4WD model we tested was loaded with standard features and had fuel ratings of 25 MPG overall (23/city and 29/highway) with its 2.0-L Ti-VCT GDI engine and Stop-Start Technology. The in-line four-cylinder is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift.

EcoSport has Intelligent 4WD plus AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control (RSC), a sophisticated system that increases stopping power and traction and provides added stability using sensors that monitor vehicle stability 150 times per second. The RSC offers increased rollover protection with brake and throttle control that monitors vehicle body roll angle and rate.

The Titanium is the top of four EcoSport models and offers the SYNC 3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on an eight-inch screen as standard. It also has FordPass and SYNC Connect, the latter allowing drivers to check the fuel level, as well as remotely locking, unlocking, or starting the vehicle. This model also has voice-activated navigation and MyKey for younger drivers (parents can program key to a restricted driving mode).

What we liked on our tested EcoSport were the bright halogen headlamps, fog lamps, the power/heated outside mirrors, power moonroof, the B&O Play premium audio system, the BLIS (Blind-Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert), and the swing gate rear door that worked well for us loading cargo (the cargo capacity is 50 cubic feet behind the front seat; 20.9 behind the second row and it offers the EcoSport Cargo Management System with options for hauling and containing goods).

Besides BLIS and AdvanceTrac, there is plenty of safety and security features on the EcoSport that include a rear view camera; front, side, and knee airbags; an SOS post-crash alert system; Hill-Start Assist; and perimeter alarm.

The comfortable interior on our Titanium model had leather-trimmed front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio/cruise controls, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, 60/40 fold-flat rear seats, and electronic climate control system, among its many features.

On the exterior of our tester we had tow hooks and trailer tow wiring (tow capacity on 2.0-L units is 2,000 pounds).  

While a base EcoSport S starts at $19,995, the Titanium 4WD we tested had a MSRP of $27,240 and two options: White Platinum exterior paint ($595) and a cold weather package ($340), less $2,750 in available incentives, for a final price of $25,425.


The 2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4x4

The fourth in a lineup of five trims, the 2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4x4 is simply a tight little beast that can traverse some tough terrain, yet is a fun road vehicle to drive.

Jeep has said “the Compass was built from the ground up to be the most capable SUV ever.” And we may agree as this compact unit acts like a much larger utility vehicle with its aggressive off-road capabilities.

Our tester had an off-road suspension, Selec-Terrain Traction Management System (up to five drive modes that coordinate 12 vehicle systems), Hill Start Assist, Hill Decent Control, Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Roll Mitigation, trailer swap damping, front skid plate, and fuel tank skid pate shield, and rugged 17-inch tires, all standard.

In addition, the Compass Trailhawk has insulated electrical connections, enhanced body sealing, and a high air intake so navigating water is a cinch up to 19 inches.

The Jeep Active Drive 4x4 System on the Trailhawk features a rear axle disconnect that switches between 2WD and 4WD to increase efficiency. Available Jeep Active Drive Low is a system designed for low range crawl. Both work in conjunction with the Selec-Terrain system for optimum, and quite fun, off-roading. Ground clearance is 8.5 inches.

To help the driving experience on- or off-road, the Compass Trailhawk has a 2.4-L MultiAir 2 Tigershark engine that produces up to 180 HP and 175 lb-ft of torque. And we had the available nine-speed automatic transmission that helped boost engine output and provided excellent shifting in all road conditions. Fuel ratings are 25 MPG overall (22/city and 30/highway) and we experienced 24.6 MPG overall with some off-roading included.

Towing capacity is 2,000 pounds and outside power mirrors are heated and have turn signal indicators.


With all the off-road adventure features, the Compass

Trailhawk was not overlooked on the interior. Seating is comfortable; there are quality materials; it has a leather-wrapped and tilt/telescoping steering wheel; there are substantial tech offerings, including Uconnect 4 with an 8.4-inch screen (we had optional navigation); there are up to 70 available safety and security features; plus dual-zone climate control.

With a base price of $28,695, the Compass Trailhawk 4x4 we tested had five option packages (everything from heated seats to lane departure warning, blind-spot warning to a rear park assist system), plus a very much liked power liftgate ($495). So, our final price was $33,215.

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.