Getting better and better with solid off-road chops
Roseville, Calif.- Jeep keeps making improvements to the Compass. While that’s great news overall, the venerable Compass continues to be overshadowed by its many highly-acclaimed rivals in the extremely competitive compact SUV class.
The class has three powerhouses – Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5. But the list doesn’t stop there and includes the Ford Bronco Sport, Subaru Forester, Kia Sportage, Ford Escape, and Hyundai Tucson. Yet none of those small SUVs are as off-road friendly as the Compass.
The Compass earns our applause for its incremental improvement in the past several years. In the opinion of many, the Compass keeps getting better and better.
The 2023 Jeep Compass adds standard all-wheel drive, a more powerful turbocharged engine and several new safety features. The additions come one year after the Compass refreshed its interior and exterior styling. It remains part of the second Compass generation first introduced in 2017.
The price for this year’s Compass Sport base model is $28,500. Note the other four trim levels (Latitude, Latitude Lux, Limited, Trailhawk) all rise in cost from approximately $4,000 to $8,000 over the base price. The Compass is positioned between the smaller Renegade and the larger Cherokee in Jeep’s lineup.
Besides the sticker price, what many potential Jeep buyers want to know is how the Compass performs in off-road situations. All five trim models offer solid off-road chops and arrive with a standard select-terrain traction management system for driving that includes snow, sport and sand/mud.
Also, all models offer Jeep Active Drive, a rear axle disconnect that increases tractions by switching from two- and four-wheel drive. If one wants the best off-road Compass, the pick should be the Trailhawk.
Performance and fuel economy have improved with the latest version of the Compass. This year’s model has increased by 23 horsepower and 49 pound-feet of torque. The engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that delivers 200 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Despite the increased performance, it remains sluggish off the get-go, going 0-60 mph in 7.8 seconds. Fuel economy is a respectable 24-32 mpg. The maximum towing capability is 2,000 pounds.
While the ride is considered stiff, the handling and the ability to maneuver around town is solid. The Compass is also safe, with standard driver safety assistance features like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning and lane keeping assist, and driver-attention monitoring.
AT A GLANCE – 2023 JEEP COMPASS
- Performance: turbocharged 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 200 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 24-32 mpg
- Price estimate: $28,500 to $38,400
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/60,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited
The Compass can accommodate five people, yet three adults in the back seat is a tight fit. Four adults will find plenty of head and leg room, not always the case in a compact SUV. The compass has 27 cubic feet of cargo space that increases to 59.8 cubes with the second row folded down.
The SUV comes standard with a 10.1-inch touchscreen, 7-inch information cluster display, six-speaker sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration with wireless connectivity, satellite radio, three USB, and voice recognition. We like that is also has physical knobs and buttons on the steering wheel and center stack to control certain functions.
While it is outclassed in several areas by some formidable compact SUV rivals, the 2023 Jeep Compass resides in a class by itself, thanks to its off-road.