When the Compass first debuted in 2006, it was a big change from what consumers were used to seeing at Jeep. The Compass was a compact, awkward looking crossover that hadn’t earned the coveted ‘trail rated’ badge. The looks were improved with a facelift in 2011 and it has only gotten better since. The former ugly duckling now looks like a legitimate Jeep family member. The last major aesthetic overhaul was in 2018, but for 2022 it gets both significant interior updates with new technology and safety features making it the best Compass version yet.
The Compass is available in five models known as the Sport, Latitude, Latitude LUX, Limited, and Trailhawk. Also offered are the Altitude (based on the Latitude trim) and High Altitude (based on the Limited trim) appearance packages. Lastly, a special-edition Compass RED version of the High Altitude is also available for this model year. The Compass is available with front or four-wheel drive and all come with the same 2.4L 4–cylinder engine that delivers 177 horsepower. Two available transmissions include a six-speed automatic for 4x2 Sport and Latitude models or a nine-speed automatic that is standard on all 4x4 models. Prices start at $26,390 for a FWD Sport model or $27,890 for an AWD Sport model. At the other end of the spectrum is the 4x4 only High Altitude model which starts at $36,085. Competition includes vehicles like the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Bronco Sport, Honda HR-V, Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30, Nissan Rogue Sport, Toyota Corolla Cross, and the Volkswagen Taos among others. I spent a week in the Compass Limited and here’s what stood out…
Exterior Style (+)
Changes to the 2022 model are minimal with revisions to the front end that include slimmer headlamps, LED lighting, and an updated 7-slot grille that give it a more sophisticated but chiseled look. The side profile remains the same and features a chrome strip that separates the roofline from the windows before slanting down to outline the bottom portion of the rear window. Large wheel fenders are squared off for a more rugged vibe and leave room for various size wheels and tires. Around back, available LED taillamps amp up the luxurious side of the Compass. The overall appearance is refined, yet rugged.
New Appearance Packages (+)
New to the lineup are appearance packages that include the Altitude, High Altitude, and RED. Altitude packages add gloss black exterior accents and a unique blacked-out appearance (including the roof) thus removing all the chrome. They also include 18” gloss black aluminum wheels, badging, and black cloth/vinyl interior seats. High Altitude models further expand upon the Altitude with 19” wheels, a body color roof, leather seating, and specific paint packages. The RED edition is based on the Limited trim and includes Redline Pearl-Coat exterior paint, body-color painted roof and lower cladding, 19” aluminum painted wheels, black leather-trimmed bucket seats, Uconnect 5 with 10.1-inch digital touchscreen display and unique (RED) badging. It’s a variation that stems from a multi-brand Stellantis partnership with the (RED) campaign to donate funds that help fight global health emergencies.
All models are equipped with a 2.4L 4–cylinder engine that delivers 177 horsepower and 172 lb.ft. of torque. It is available with either a 6-speed transmission on 4x2 models or a 9-speed automatic transmission on 4x4 models. Overall power is limited and unrefined delivering some whining sounds when pushed. Around town it’s sufficient and unnoticed, but when hopping on the highway everyday it lacked enthusiasm and confidence to get going. It was much more tepid while cruising than many competitors. The 9-speed transmission felt slow to shift thus further enhancing the feel of limited power. This is the Compass’ weakest point, however there are plenty of other positives to counter it. It’s all up to the buyer’s needs and desires.
With a compact size and stretched wheelbase, the Compass is more agile than you’d expect. Steering was responsive and controlled. There was minimal body lean when taking sharp corners and it generally felt planted to the roadways. Having driven in snowy conditions, it’s automatic four-wheel drive came in handy delivering torque to appropriate wheels when needed. It has the potential to be a peppy little crossover with some adjustments to the overall power / transmission combination.
Compass shines in its capability, especially the trail rated 4x4 models that also come with up to 2,000lbs of towing capability. It is one of the most capable in the class with a Selec-Terrain management system that includes settings for auto, snow, sand, and mud. The system is easy to use via a large toggle-like switch in the center console that will adjust the settings. The Compass also features a class-exclusive fully disconnecting rear axle and power-transfer unit to provide 4x4 models with enhanced fuel economy. Air intakes are higher and special water sealing helps the Compass get through water obstacles while off-roading. I’ve seen the Compass charge through some fairly deep waters without any trouble. Its small stature allows it to be agile off-road taking tight turns in places many larger vehicles could not navigate. It’s a bit of a “sleeper” on the off-road courses.
For optimal capability, the Compass Trailhawk is the one to get. Beyond the standard 4x4 features, it gains low-range gearing along with a rock mode and hill-descent control. It also adds a 1-inch factory lift, skid plates, and Jeep signature red front and rear tow hooks. Capabilities include a 30-degree approach angle, 24-degree breakover angle, and a 34-degree departure angle at which point the hill-descent control becomes a great asset. It rolls on more aggressive off-road P215/65 tires that are helpful when traveling through up to 19-inches of water fording.
Fuel Economy (+/-)
When it arrived with a full 13.5-gallon tank, it offered a range of around 270 miles. EPA estimates are 22/30/25 MPG city/highway/combined for the 4x4 models running on regular grade gasoline. After a week of typical suburban driving, I averaged 26 MPG. The small tank doesn’t offer much range and overall figures are slightly low for the compact segment.
Another bright spot in the new Compass is the completely overhauled interior that punches above its price point. The redesigned cabin is much more modern and blends a variety of materials for a refined look and feel. My test Limited model featured a three-tone interior with a black top layer followed by a brown premium leather layer and then a gray lower portion. In between were brushed silver accents and touches of chrome. The center console has been elevated to provide more storage space and added amenities such as a wireless charging pad. The overall layout places everything within reach while having a more polished feel. Small details will change in materials to align with each of the different trims.
Seats are comfortable with sufficient room up front, but the back seats are tighter when filled with three across. Heated front and rear seats are available, and they provide good support. Headroom also seems appropriate for the class. My test vehicle also came with the available dual-pane panoramic sunroof that adds a lot of light and openness to the cabin.
With the updated layout comes new technology starting with an available 10.25” frameless digital cluster that will display all the key information you’d expect to see. At the center of the dash is the infotainment touchscreen that is either 8.4” or 10.1” depending on the trim. The system utilizes Jeep’s latest Uconnect 5 technology with wireless amenities including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. For the highest sound quality, it is available with an Alpine speaker system. Uconnect 5 is user friendly and easy to operate, although on more than one vehicle it has dropped my connection mid-drive, thus requiring me to reconnect my phone when parked.
The standard safety feature list has grown on the Compass to include forward collision warning with active braking, blind spot monitoring with rear cross path detection, and active lane management. Adaptive cruise control with stop and go is also an available driver assist technology that will automatically adjust your speed to maintain a preselected distance from the vehicle ahead. Other available features include a 360-degree surround view camera system, a highway assist system, parallel and perpendicular park assist and traffic sign recognition.
The Compass has come a long way since it was first introduced… so far that it’s hard to believe they share the same name. It’s a great entry level vehicle for Jeep that is quite capable for some fun. The exterior and interior redesigns are well-executed to bring the Compass some better street cred. While I’m left pining for a little more pizazz under the hood, the Compass remains a solid vehicle to consider, afterall not everyone desires punchy performance stats.
First Impression Summary:
Test Vehicle: 2022 Jeep Compass Limited 4x4
Exterior Color: Granite Crystal Pearl
Interior Color: Steel Gray
Options: Customer Preferred Package 2GG, Sun and Sound Group ($2,380)
MSRP as tested: $37,365 (With Delivery/Destination)