Battle of small SUV’s.

According to, Subcompact SUV’s sales continue to grow across the U.S. Although smaller in size, most of compact SUV’s are offered in all-wheel drive, making them still very practical in mountainous areas and cheaper than a full-size SUV.  Here is an ‘on-paper’ comparison of two popular AWD models in that segment. The 2018 Buick Encore and 2018 Jeep Compass.

017 seen a refreshed facelift for the Buick Encore, whilst the Jeep Compass got a complete redesign. The Compass is available with a 6-speed manual transmission or 9-speed auto.


The following safety ratings are provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

2018 Buick Encore2018 Jeep Compass
OverallSafety Rating5/54/5
Front Driver Side5/54/5
Front Passenger Side5/54/5
Combined Side Barrier and Pole Ratings: Front Seat5/55/5
Combined Side Barrier and Pole Ratings: Rear Seat5/55/5
Side Barrier: Driver5/55/5
Side Barrier: Passenger5/55/5
Overall Side Pole Rating5/55/5

The Encore (depending on trim level) has available active safety features including; Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Park Assist, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning.

Performance and Economy

2018 Buick Encore2018 Jeep Compass
Engine1.4 L Turbo (4 Cyl -DOHC)2.4 L (4 Cyl)
Horsepower / Torque138 hp / 148 lb-ft180 hp / 175 lb-ft
Fuel economy (mpg) City2422
Fuel economy (mpg) Highway3030
Fuel economy (mpg) Combined2725

As you can see from the table above, even though there is a big difference in engine displacement, the turbo on the Buick performs slightly better when it comes to fuel economy.

Size and Dimensions

As far as size goes, the Jeep Compass comes in slightly longer and wider than the Encore. The Compass is 173″ long x 74″ wide and 65″ high. The Encore is 168″ long x 70″ wide and 65″ high. Cargo volume in the Encore suffers a little with it being smaller compared to the Jeep. Cargo volume in the Encore is 18.8 ft³, 48.4 ft³ with seat area. The Compass takes the win for cargo volume with 27.2 ft³, 59.8 ft³ with seat area.

trunk space

2018 Jeep Compass Trunk. Photo: FCA

Technology and Entertainment

Below is key features listed on the base, entry-level trim models.

2018 Buick Encore

AWD Wyoming

2018 Buick Encore Interior, Photo: Buick

  • 8″ Frameless Intelilink color touchscreen
  • OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity and built-in WiFi hotspot (subscription required, but comes with a free trial from new)
  • Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto allows seamless smartphone integration
  • HD Radio
  • Rear Vision Camera
  • QuietTuning technology with Active Noise Cancellation
  • Bluetooth
  • 4.2″ color driver information display

There are three trim levels available in the AWD version of the Encore. These are; ‘Preferred’, ‘Sport Touring’, and ‘Essence’. A Bose audio system is available as an option on the Sport Touring and Essence models.  A heated steering wheel is only available n the top of the line Essence model as well as optional automatic RainSense™ wipers. New for 2018 model years is a built-in Ionizing air cleaner.

2018 Jeep Compass

small jeep

Jeep Compass Trailhawk Interior. Photo: FCA

  • 5″ Touchscreen with UConnect 3 (8.4″ screen on trim levels ‘Altitude’ and above.
  • ParkView® Rear Backup Camera
  • Integrated Voice Command with Bluetooth
  • Bluetooth streaming audio
  • Remote Keyless Entry
  • Push-button start

There are 5 trim levels available on the Compass; ‘Sport’, ‘Latitude’, ‘Altitude’, ‘Limited’, and ‘Trailhawk’.

Off Road

The Jeep has 8.2″ of ground clearance on all trim levels except the Trailhawk which is the off-road trim line. The Trailhawk has 8.5″ of ground clearance. The Buick Encore, however only has 6.2″ of ground clearance.

off road WY

Jeep Compass Trailhawk off-road, Photo: FCA

Jeep is the clear leader here having the Trailhawk model in the line-up offering more features akin to off-roading. A Selec-Terrain Traction Management system allows the driver to select modes based on road/weather conditions. The Trailhawk also features Hill Descent Control, Skid Plates and tow hooks. The Trailhawk is also awarded, “Best in Class Off-Road Capability”.


Entry-level trim lines;

2018 Buick Encore Preferred in AWD (6- Speed Auto) starts at $27,095 MSRP (per Buick website)

2018 Jeep Compass Sport 4X4 (9-Speed Auto) starts at $25,540 MSRP (per Jeep website). Equipped with manual transmission is $1,500 less.

Talk to your preferred dealer for a more accurate price based which may include discounts and incentives.


You might also like: Which 2019 Buick Encore’s have Remote Start?


Wozniak , Krzysztof. “US Car Sales Analysis Q4 2017 – Subcompact SUV Segment.”, CarSalesBase, 17 Jan. 2018,