2020 Volvo XC40 vs. 2019 Jeep Compass

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC40 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Jeep Compass doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

Both the XC40 and Compass have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC40 offers optional power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Compass’ child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The XC40 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Compass doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The XC40 offers an optional CTA Auto Brake that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Compass doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The XC40 offers an optional 360-Degree Surround View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Compass only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The XC40’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 XC40 and the Compass have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC40 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Compass was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The XC40 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Compass’ 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The XC40’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Compass’ (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC40 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Jeep doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Compass.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the XC40 has a standard 800-amp battery. The Compass’ standard 500-amp battery and largest (optional) 650 amp battery aren’t as powerful.

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 XC40’s reliability 11 points higher than the Compass.

Engine

The XC40 T4’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 7 more horsepower (187 vs. 180) and 46 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 175) than the Compass’ 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The XC40 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 68 more horsepower (248 vs. 180) and 83 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 175) than the Compass’ 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the XC40 T5 is faster than the Jeep Compass (automatics tested):

XC40

Compass

Zero to 30 MPH

2.9 sec

3.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

9.8 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.9 sec

6.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

17.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

82 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XC40 T4 FWD gets better fuel mileage than the Compass FWD Auto (23 city/33 hwy vs. 22 city/31 hwy).

Regardless of its engine, the XC40’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Jeep only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Compass Auto.

Transmission

The Volvo XC40 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 XC40’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Compass:

XC40

Compass

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

10.95 inches

The XC40 stops much shorter than the Compass:

XC40

Compass

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

144 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

135 feet

151 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the XC40 has larger standard tires than the Compass (235/55R18 vs. 215/65R16). The XC40’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Compass (245/45R20 vs. 235/45R19).

The XC40’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 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 XC40 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Compass Sport. The XC40’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Compass Limited 4x4.

Suspension and Handling

The XC40 offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Compass’ suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The XC40 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC40’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Compass doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC40’s wheelbase is 2.6 inches longer than on the Compass (106.4 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the XC40 is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 3.7 inches wider in the rear than on the Compass.

The XC40 T5 R-Design AWD handles at .79 G’s, while the Compass Trailhawk pulls only .73 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The XC40 T5 R-Design AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the Compass Trailhawk (28.1 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the XC40 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Compass (8.3 vs. 8.2 inches), allowing the XC40 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The XC40 has .6 inches more front hip room, .6 inches more rear headroom, 5.4 inches more rear hip room and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Compass.

The front step up height for the XC40 is 1.7 inches lower than the Compass (17.7” vs. 19.4”). The XC40’s rear step up height is 2.5 inches lower than the Compass’ (18.2” vs. 20.7”).

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the XC40 easier. The XC40’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.7 inches, while the Compass’ liftover is 31.1 inches.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the XC40’s optional rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Compass doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the XC40. The Compass doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the XC40’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by waving your foot, 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 XC40’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Compass’ (3500 vs. 0 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Jeep Compass 4x4 is only 2000 pounds. The XC40 offers up to a 4630 lbs. towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The XC40 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Compass uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

When three different drivers share the XC40, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Compass doesn’t offer a memory system.

The XC40’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Compass’ rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the XC40 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Compass can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The XC40’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Compass’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC40 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 XC40’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 XC40’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Compass’ headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC40 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Compass doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The XC40 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Compass has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Latitude/Trailhawk/Limited.

The Compass Latitude/Trailhawk/Limited’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The XC40’s optional adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

When the XC40 with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Compass’ mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The XC40 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Compass offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the XC40 and the Compass offer optional heated front seats. The XC40 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Compass.

Both the XC40 and the Compass offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the XC40 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.

The XC40’s optional Park Assist Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Compass doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC40 is less expensive to operate than the Compass because typical repairs cost less on the XC40 than the Compass, including $130 less for front struts.

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

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