2020 Kia Sportage vs. 2019 Jeep Compass

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Sportage offers optional Parking Assist to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, optionally, in front of the vehicle. The Compass doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The Sportage’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Compass doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Sportage and the Compass have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Kia Sportage is safer than the Jeep Compass:

Sportage

Compass

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sportage the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Compass was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The Sportage comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Compass’ 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Sportage 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Jeep covers the Compass. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Compass ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Sportage has a 600-amp battery. The Compass only offers a standard 500-amp battery.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Sportage’s reliability 30 points higher than the Compass.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage first among small SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Compass isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 30 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 17th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 41 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 24th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 17 places higher in reliability than Jeep.

Engine

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 57 more horsepower (237 vs. 180) and 85 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 175) than the Compass’ 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl. The Sportage SX Turbo FWD’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 60 more horsepower (240 vs. 180) and 85 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 175) than the Compass’ 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Sportage 2.4 4-cylinder is faster than the Jeep Compass (automatics tested):

Sportage

Compass

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

10.5 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

17.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.4 MPH

76.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Sportage has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Compass (16.4 vs. 13.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The Kia Sportage comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Compass.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Sportage SX Turbo’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Compass:

Sportage SX Turbo

Compass

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

10.95 inches

The Sportage stops much shorter than the Compass:

Sportage

Compass

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

144 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

151 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Sportage has larger standard tires than the Compass (225/60R17 vs. 215/65R16). The Sportage SX Turbo’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Compass (245/45R19 vs. 235/45R19).

The Sportage LX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Compass Sport’s standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Sportage LX has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Compass Sport.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sportage’s wheelbase is 1.3 inches longer than on the Compass (105.1 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sportage is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 3.6 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Compass.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the Compass Trailhawk pulls only .73 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.8 seconds quicker than the Compass Trailhawk (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Sportage’s turning circle is .5 feet tighter than the Compass 4x4 Trailhawk’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.3 feet). The Sportage’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the Compass’ (34.8 feet vs. 36.3 feet).

Passenger Space

The Sportage has .1 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more front hip room, .4 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom and 2 inches more rear hip room than the Compass.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Sportage’s rear seats recline. The Compass’ rear seats don’t recline.

The front step up height for the Sportage is .9 inches lower than the Compass (18.5” vs. 19.4”). The Sportage’s rear step up height is 1.3 inches lower than the Compass’ (19.4” vs. 20.7”).

Cargo Capacity

The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Compass with its rear seat up (30.7 vs. 27.2 cubic feet). The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Compass with its rear seat folded (60.1 vs. 59.8 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Sportage easier. The Sportage’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.8 inches, while the Compass’ liftover is 31.1 inches.

The Sportage’s cargo area is larger than the Compass’ in almost every dimension:

Sportage

Compass

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

33.4”/68.2”

32.4”/65.7”

Max Width

52.3”

53.8”

Min Width

41”

38.1”

Height

29.5”

29.6”

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waiting momentarily behind the back bumper can open the Sportage’s liftgate, leaving your hands completely free. The Compass doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

The Sportage’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Compass’ (2000 vs. 0 pounds).

Ergonomics

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Sportage to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Compass doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the Sportage’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Compass’ headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Sportage’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Compass’ headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

The Sportage has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Compass has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Latitude/Trailhawk/Limited.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Sportage (except S/LX) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Compass doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Both the Sportage and the Compass offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Sportage has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Compass doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Sportage owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Sportage with a number “8” insurance rate while the Compass is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sportage is less expensive to operate than the Compass because typical repairs cost less on the Sportage than the Compass, including $16 less for front brake pads, $145 less for a starter, $124 less for a fuel pump and $115 less for front struts.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Kia Sportage, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Jeep Compass isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage third among small SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Compass isn’t in the top three.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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