The 2023 model year brings an improved powertrain, a standard safety suite and a more spacious rear seat. Its retuned suspension also makes it a capable off-roader – although the segment leaders are still ahead of it.
In our experience, the new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is smooth, quiet and powerful. Its low-end torque feels especially strong. Combined with the AWD system, our test vehicle delivered an impressive 0-to-60 time of just under 8 seconds. It’s a significant improvement over the wheezy 2.4-liter Tigershark engine it replaced. A nine-speed automatic sends power to all four wheels. All-wheel drive models get a dedicated 4×4 mode that optimizes the AWD system for snow, mud, sand and rock settings. Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system also allows drivers to manually select the best settings for specific terrain.
The Compass’s ride is supple and comfortable, with very little head toss or secondary motion on bumpy roads. The absorbent suspension quells most impacts and jarring vibrations, with only minimal intrusion into the cabin. It’s an admirable achievement considering how hard-wearing the tires are.
Despite its relatively small size, the Compass has plenty of cargo room. Behind the second row, there’s 27.2 cubic feet of space. That’s more than the subcompact SUVs in this class – and even some compacts that cost more. But this model’s cramped center console and narrow door pockets limit small-item storage.
While the new engine is a significant improvement over what was previously available, this SUV’s performance remains middling for the class. Front-drive models are EPA-rated at 22 MPG city and 31 MPG highway. With a light touch on the throttle, we were able to match those numbers in suburban driving.
A bigger problem is the Compass’ sluggish acceleration from a stop. The turbocharged four-cylinder provides just enough power to make it feel slow in comparison with competitors, which deliver spry responses from a dead stop and highway cruising. Jeep’s 9-speed transmission is also rather unhappy at full throttle, constantly shunting gears and creating more noise than thrust. The Compass’s thick pillars and high beltline can also limit visibility.