With a new engine and a spruced-up interior, the 2023 Jeep Compass is ready to take on the competition – and there’s lots of it.
With more power and torque this year, as well as the kind of off-roading capabilities the Jeep brand is known for, the Compass is ready to take you to work, the cottage, or into the wild. And frankly, it’s the off-roading abilities that set the Compass apart from many of its rivals. Regardless of trim, every Compass comes with all-wheel drive and a variety of drive settings for adverse conditions. Meanwhile, the Trailhawk trim gets an additional rock mode to help it crawl over more serious obstacles when off-roading.
Like most Jeep models, you won’t confuse the Compass with a competitor. It looks like a baby Grand Cherokee, which is a compliment, and the interior is modern, clean, and refined. Depending on trim, you get either cloth, a vinyl and cloth combination, or leather upholstery. This tester was equipped with leather, and the interior was cozy, comfy, and inviting.
Every trim level comes with lane keeping assistance, forward collision warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection, automatic emergency braking, and drowsy driver detection. However, other notable safety systems like blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, a surround-view camera system, traffic sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control are only available on pricier trims.
All trims get desirable features like heated front seats, push-button start, a 10.1-inch touchscreen and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rain-sensing wipers, a tire pressure monitoring system, and LED headlights (the Trailhawk Elite also gets LED taillights). The infotainment system is easy on the eyes, with crisp graphics that are easy to read. However, the screen itself was often slow to react during this test, which can be a bit distracting.
Whether commuting to work, dropping the kids off at school, or taking the family off the beaten path when camping, the Compass is well behaved and easy to access. The 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat in this tester, coupled with the tilt/telescoping steering wheel, made it easy to find the ideal seating position, and all the knobs, switches, and buttons are well within reach and easy to use. The tailgate opens wide, and the Compass comes with tie-downs in the cargo area, just in case you need to keep stuff from moving around too much.
The Compass will seat five comfortably, with plenty of head- and legroom for all. It also offers decent cargo capacity (770/1,693 L seats up/down), and the front passenger seat folds almost flat when not in use, which means you have extra room to transport longer items.
As far as off-roading goes, the Compass boasts 208 mm (8.2 in) of ground clearance (216 mm for Trailhawk models), along with the ability to ford 406 mm (16 in) of water (483 mm for Trailhawk models). Properly equipped, the Compass will tow 907 kg (2,000 lb).
All occupants should be able to enjoy the ride, including the rear middle-seat passenger. Although that’s not a seat you’d want for a cross-Canada road trip, it’s surprisingly comfy as far as middle seats go.
The cabin is quiet, and the ride is firm yet comfortable. Whether at highway speeds or in the city, road and wind noise is minimal, and you only hear the engine when accelerating.
The Compass really needed an engine upgrade, and Jeep finally got the message. The new inline-four is turbocharged and pumps out 200 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. For comparison’s sake, last year’s Compass was rather anemic, with only 180 hp, 175 lb-ft of torque and no turbocharger to add a much-needed kick.
Although the new engine is a welcome upgrade, depending on your driving style, you may at times crave a bit more oomph. While it’s fine for civilized city and highway driving, the turbo lag is noticeable, and there were some passing and merging manoeuvres that left the Compass in a need for a bit more speed.
Driving Feel: 8/10
With all four wheels biting into the asphalt (thanks to the standard all-wheel drive system) and the added output from the new engine, the Compass is agile, responsive, and feels solid in both city and highway driving. The eight-speed automatic transmission is capable, and hits the right gears in all situations. Body roll is minimal and brake performance is solid.
Fuel Economy: 8/10
According to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the 2023 Compass is good for 9.9 L/100 km in the city, 7.4 on the highway, and 8.8 combined. Results from this test were a bit higher, with an average of 10.1 L/100 km combined.
You really have to know what you want when choosing the right trim. As you go up in price, you gain some features, and you lose some, too. It can be a bit confusing.
The base Jeep Compass Sport starts at $36,590 (Freight adds $2,095 across the lineup) and comes with 17-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, heated front seats, manual climate control, and a seven-inch instrument display. It lacks fog lights and remote start, which are available on all other trims.
The North model, which adds notable features like a heated steering wheel and keyless entry, starts at $39,390. The Altitude ($42,495) builds on the offering with 18-inch wheels, a foot-activated power tailgate, leather upholstery, 12-way power driver’s seat, a 10.25-inch cluster display, and other upgrades.
The Trailhawk starts at $43,540, loses the leather seats (vinyl/cloth instead), the 10.25 display, and the foot-activated tailgate, but then it adds rock mode to the traction management system, along with underbody skid plates and other amenities. The Limited ($44,440) loses the skid plates and off-road suspension, but adds back the leather seats. Meanwhile, the RED ($46,980) gets special badging and 19-inch wheels. Then the Trailhawk Elite ($47,090) gets the off-road suspension, a Class III hitch, automatic high-beam control, 17-inch wheels, LED taillights, leather seats, wireless phone charging, and a 10.25-inch display.
The 2023 Jeep Compass is a stylish and comfortable subcompact crossover with ample room for five and flexible cargo-carrying options, including a front passenger seat that almost folds flat, which adds to this crossover’s versatility. The new engine is a welcome upgrade, and although it offers enough power and torque for most driving situations, depending on your driving style, you may find yourself wishing for more output and less turbo lag.
|Engine Cylinders||Turbo I4|
|Peak Horsepower||200 hp @ 5,000 rpm|
|Peak Torque||221 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||9.9 / 7.4 / 8.8 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||770 / 1,693 L seats up/down|
|Model Tested||2023 Jeep Compass Altitude|
|Price as Tested||$48,775|
$4,185 – Redline Pearl, $395; Driver Assistance Group (Park-Sense Front and Rear Park Assist System, Parallel/Perpendicular Park/Unpark Assist System, Premium LED fog lamps, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Wireless charging pad, 360 surround view camera system, Blind-Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross-Path), $2,595; Convenience Group (Auto-dimming rearview mirror, A/C with dual-zone automatic temperature control, Power liftgate, Second-row USB A/C charging ports, Universal garage door opener, Humidity sensor, Foot activated Open ‘N Go liftgate), $1,195