Can the spacious little Jeep beat out the value-oriented Corolla Cross and VW Taos?

android, 2022 jeep compass review: style and tech, at a price

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Verdict

7.5 / 10

Design | Comfort | Technology | Performance | Safety | Efficiency | Price | FAQs

In many ways, the Jeep Compass has a lot going for it. Trim, neat proportions and a two-tone roof give it the cachet of a pint-sized Grand Cherokee. Even the seven-slat grille motif is a huge selling point all on its own (whether it’s blocked off for aero or not). After all, Jeeps have been winning wars and conquering wildlands for 80 years, and surely some of that tough DNA shows up in the automaker’s second-smallest vehicle, right?

Yes and no. Although there’s some rugged capability in the Trailhawk model – skid plates, a low-range transfer case, electronic traction management, and a slight suspension lift help it return from the bush unscathed – most Compass trims are built for jungles made of concrete instead of mud. That’s especially true of the flagship High Altitude, which gets color-matched cladding and bold 19-inch wheels to go along with its recently refreshed, technology-heavy cabin.

Unfortunately, the High Altitude has a price to match, more than $37,000 as equipped. That’s a lot of cash for something in this size class, made worse by the fact that even a base-model Compass demands more than $28,000 with destination included. Whether the little Jeep is worth that coin depends on how much value you place on off-road pretensions and premium styling.

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Quick Stats 2022 Jeep Compass High Altitude
Engine: 2.4-Liter Inline-Four
Output: 177 Horsepower / 172 Pound-Feet
Drive Type: All-Wheel Drive
Efficiency: 21 City / 30 Highway / 25 Combined
As-Tested Price: $37,325

Design

⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 8/10

Exterior Color: Granite Crystal MetallicInterior Color: Black
Wheel Size: 19 Inches

Featuring some minor exterior tweaks for 2022, the Compass looks a bit crisper and more modern, helping it fit in with products like the brand-spankin-new Grand Cherokee thanks to slimmer headlights and LED foglamps mounted high on the bumper. The High Altitude trim’s body-color accents – instead of black plastic – and two-tone roof add a sophisticated mien to the compact SUV, as do the darkened chrome 19-inch wheels. I’m not a huge fan of small crossovers, personally, but I think the Compass is one of the more attractive options in the class.

Inside, the 2022 model is a huge improvement over its immediate predecessor. The High Altitude comes standard with a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.1-inch center touchscreen, which are the technological showpieces to the cabin’s new, more horizontal design. Materials up front feel class-leading, with nicely grained soft plastics on the dash top and upper door panels, accented by a swath of stitched leather facing the driver and passenger. However, the rear cabin isn’t quite as posh, with class-competitive – but still unimpressive – hard plastics on the door panels and aft portion of the center console.

Still, the Compass makes a good first impression, with far more premium styling than most crossovers in the segment.

Comfort

⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 8/10

Seating Capacity: 5Seating Configuration: 2 / 3
Cargo Capacity: 27.2 / 59.8 Cubic Feet

The Compass is one of the most spacious vehicles in its class, with abundant space for four adults. By the tape, the Jeep is only a few tenths of an inch away from best-in-class in nearly every measure, and the real-world space bears out those numbers. Cargo space behind the rear seat falls short only to the Volkswagen Taos at 27.2 cubic feet; fold the 60/40 seatback down and that number expands to a commodious 59.8.

The front seats are a bit short on thigh support – not an uncommon occurrence among small SUVs – but otherwise, it’s not hard to get comfortable in either of the two front buckets. The rear seat is very good, however. The space and support are more than adequate, and the outboard positions are optionally heated on the High Altitude (a rare feature in this class of vehicle). Also uncommon is the Compass’ relatively smooth ride and well-controlled road and wind noise.

Interior Dimensions Headroom, Front/Rear Legroom, Front/Rear Cargo Volume
Jeep Compass 38.6 / 38.5 Inches 41.8 / 38.3 Inches 27.2 Cubic Feet
Honda HR-V 38.4 / 38.0 Inches 41.9 / 37.7 Inches 24.4 Cubic Feet
Subaru Crosstrek 37.6 / 37.8 Inches 43.1 / 36.5 Inches 20.8 Cubic Feet
Toyota Corolla Cross 39.5 / 39.1 Inches 42.9 / 32.0 Inches 25.2 Cubic Feet
Volkswagen Taos 40.7 / 39.8 Inches 40.1 / 37.9 Inches 27.9 Cubic Feet

Technology & Connectivity

⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 9/10

Center Display: 10.1-Inch TouchscreenInstrument Cluster Display: 10.5 Inches
Wireless Apple CarPlay / Android Auto: Yes / Yes

Featuring one of the largest screen combinations in its class, the Jeep Compass should immediately wow most of its tech-junkie shoppers. Luckily, both the 10.1-inch touchscreen and 10.5-inch digital instrument cluster run the excellent Uconnect 5 software suite, complete with attractive graphics and quick response. The reconfigurable instrument cluster is another nice touch, offering far more display choices than most of its competitors.

Smartphone integration happens wirelessly, and there are USB-A and USB-C ports up front and USB-C ports in back on the flagship High Altitude. Uconnect 5 also includes over-the-air updates, meaning the infotainment should remain current for years to come.

Performance & Handling

⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 6/10

Engine: 2.4-Liter Inline-Four Output: 177 Horsepower / 172 Pound-Feet
Transmission: Nine-Speed Automatic

Like most small SUVs, the Compass goes about its business both unobtrusively and unenthusiastcially. Its 2.4-liter inline-four makes a competitive 177 horsepower and relatively husky 172 pound-feet of torque, which give it noticeably better responses than the Toyota Corolla Cross I recently drove. Ditto its nine-speed automatic gearbox, which is far more intuitive and responsive than other small SUVs’ droning CVTs.

Still, the Compass resolutely refuses to be anything but adequate when the going gets sporty. The aloof suspension and steering make for a dull experience on a twisty road, and there’s some body roll and dive that erode driver confidence a bit. Driven more sedately (as the average crossover owner would), there’s nothing worrisome about the Compass. But to the surprise of absolutely no one, Jeep’s second-smallest SUV isn’t particularly fun either.

Safety

⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 8/10

Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2NHTSA Rating: Four Stars
IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick

The Jeep Compass High Altitude comes with just about every active safety and driver-assistance feature in Jeep’s arsenal standard, but that’s not true of every trim level. The base Sport lacks adaptive cruise control, even as an option, although it does get lane-centering assistance and automatic emergency braking standard.

The vehicle I drove lacked Jeep’s new hands-on Highway Assist, but its combination of lane-centering tech and full-speed adaptive cruise control still worked well together for a smooth and drama-free commute. Still, if you want that stop-and-go functionality, you’ll have to pony up for the mid-grade Latitude Lux trim – none of the first three tiers offer it standard.

Fuel Economy

⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 4/10

City: 21 MPGHighway: 30 MPG
Combined: 25 MPG

Efficiency City Highway Combined
2022 Jeep Compass AWD 21 MPG 30 MPG 25 MPG
2023 Honda HR-V AWD 25 MPG 30 MPG 27 MPG
2022 Subaru Crosstrek 2.5 27 MPG 34 MPG 29 MPG
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross AWD 29 MPG 32 MPG 30 MPG
2022 Volkswagen Taos AWD 25 MPG 32 MPG 28 MPG

Pricing

⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 1/10

Base Price: $26,785 + $1,595 DestinationTrim Base Price: $38,285
As-Tested Price: $40,175

The Jeep Compass will nickel-and-dime you before you even burn through its first tank. With a base price of $28,380 (including a $1,595 destination charge) for a Sport model with front-wheel drive – add $1,500 for all-wheel drive – the Compass is one of the most expensive vehicles in its class. The High Altitude does nothing to help. From its starting price of $38,285, my tester’s $345 coat of Granite Crystal paint and $1,495 Elite interior package balloon the total to $40,175. The Elite upgrade includes niceties like fancier leather, heated rear seats, a power passenger seat, a power liftgate, and a 120-volt outlet in the center console.

If you exercise some restraint with the trim levels and options, it’s possible to walk away from the Jeep dealer with a well-equipped Compass for about $35,000, but even that number is more money than a loaded Corolla Cross or Taos. Hell, one could even get a flagship Mazda CX-30 Turbo Premium Plus for about the same as a mid-tier Compass – with an extra 50 hp coming along for the ride.

That makes the Jeep a tough sell unless there’s some cash on the hood from your local dealer, a possibility even in these supply chain–challenged times. If you’re getting a killer deal on the admittedly stylish and tech-forward Compass, go for it. But there are probably better options out there for the money.

Compass Competitor Reviews:

  • Chevrolet Trailblazer: 8.0/10
  • Honda HR-V: 8.5/10
  • Hyundai Kona: 8.0/10
  • Kia Seltos: 8.1 / 10
  • Mazda CX-30: 8.3/10
  • Nissan Rogue Sport: Not Rated
  • Subaru Crosstrek: 8.5/10
  • Toyota Corolla Cross: 8.1/10
  • Volkswagen Taos: 7.9/ 10

FAQs

Is the 2022 Jeep Compass all-new?

No. The 2022 Jeep Compass offers a variety of cosmetic and functional updates over the 2021 model. Revised front and rear fascias, LED headlights, and a new dashboard design headline the cosmetic changes, with the excellent Uconnect 5 infotainment system taking over with standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, over-the-air updates, quick responses, and attractive graphics.

How much can the 2022 Jeep Compass tow?

Although not designed for heavy trailers, the Jeep Compass has a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds with all-wheel drive. That’s enough for many compact campers, a pair of Jet-Skis, or an ATV and trailer.

Is the 2022 Jeep Compass capable off-road?

Most trims of the Jeep Compass can handle a washboard dirt road just fine, but if you want to keep up when the going gets rough, you’ll want the Compass Trailhawk. With 8.6 inches of ground clearance (half an inch more than other all-wheel-drive trims), a transfer case with a crawl ratio of 20:1, and a smattering of underbody skid plates, the Trailhawk is probably more capable than many owners will ever need.

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