Mention Jeep and most folks will conjure images of a rugged off-roader that can handle snow, mud and tough terrain. Well that can be said for Jeep’s 2023 compact Compass 4WD SUV that can do all that, and a bit more.
Size wise, the Compass slots between Jeep’s subcompact Renegade and midsize Cherokee. It’s offered in Sport, Latitude, High Altitude and extra-rugged Trailhawk.
We tested the High Altitude that was nicely equipped with heated perforated leather front seats and heated steering wheel, a 10.1-inch infotainment display with Alexa, Uconnect with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, integrated voice command, premium Alpine audio, power foot-activated liftgate, panoramic sunroof, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and more.
Safety items included LaneSense lane departure warning w/active braking, full-speed forward collision warning w/active braking, pedestrian/cyclist automatic braking, blind spot monitoring and several more. There’s even available Highway Assist systems that is essentially an autonomous driving system plus a drowsy driver detection system.
Then there’s Jeep’s proven Active Drive 4WD system that sends torque to the wheels that need it most. And for serious inclement driving conditions or off-road trekking, Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system has selectable Sand/Mud, Snow and Auto driving modes with a Lock feature.
Compass Trailhawk model, takes this a step further by adding a Rock mode that in conjunction with a one-inch suspension lift, off-road tires and slid plates, turns this SUV into a serious off-roader.
Exterior wise, Compass takes on the look of its larger Cherokee and Grand Cherokee SUV brethren, two popular sellers in their classes. Its interior is classy and functional with large HVAC switches that can be operated with gloved hands and selections can be displayed on the screen.
A burly gear selector and a chromed toggle switch offers the aforementioned driving modes that display on the 10.25-inch digital gauge driver information display. The only item missing was a cell phone charger which is optionally available, but receptacles are provided for wired charging.
Rear seats are comfy for two adults or three tweens. But leg room is a bit marginal, especially if the fronts are racked well rearward. Head room though us ample.
Back in the cargo area that has a power foot-activated liftgate, a low 30-inch lift-over eases loading heavy packages or bulky items over the threshold. With the rear seats upright, there’s 27.2 cubic feet of cargo space that measures 32 inches deep, 40 wide and 28 high. Flip the seat backs and cargo depth extends to 62 inches. There’s a 10-inch deep bin beneath the cargo floor for small item storage and includes a tire inflator kit in lieu of a spare tire, a feature a lot of carmakers have switched to.
The most significant news for 2023 is the new 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that generates 200-hp and 221 lb/ft of torque. It earns EPA mileage ratings of 24 city, 32-highway mpg when mated to the standard 8-speed automatic transmission. The combination carries a tow rating of 2,000 pounds which can handle a small boat or utility trailer. Full pedal acceleration from a standing stop is a linear explosion of power. The 2.0 has somewhat of a noisy growl when pushed hard, but that’s true of some other four bangers.
Shod with 19-inch all season Continental tires that are eight inches wide, Compass has a smooth, semi-firm ride, but nothing that’s harsh. It parks easily with a tight turning radius and is fun to drive as its stableness shows when negotiating sharp turns.
With all the aforementioned safety features and items that includes a panoramic sunroof, Compass had a base price of $35,495. After adding the High-Altitude Package ($2,845), the Elite Interior Group ($1,645), Black Diamond Crystal paint (495), the bottom line reflected $42,075 with delivery. If that’s a bit high for your budget, the Sport model has an MSRP of $29.995, of course with less goodies.
No matter which model chosen, buyers are getting a renowned Jeep. And if you are a one car family, the Jeep Compass is tough to beat for an all-season 4WD vehicle. No matter which Jeep vehicle you may select, it isn't just a vehicle, it's a lifestyle among Jeepers.
Compass comes with a 3 year/36K mile basic warranty and a 5/60K powertrain warranty.