With a new 2.0-liter turbo engine and a retuned suspension, the 2023 Jeep Compass is quicker and better in every way.
The compact SUV/Crossover segment has never been more competitive and the previous Jeep Compass was a little out of its depth, it needed much-needed drivability, better acceleration, upgraded entertainment, and enhanced fuel economy. The good news is the 2023 Jeep Compass achieves all that and more since its interior makeover for the 2022 model brought it out of the rental car scratchy plastic interior world. Now it can stand toe-toe with the Bronco Sport.
The Compass has the updates it deserves and has made it an actual competitor in the compact off-road crossover market.
What’s new for 2023
Jeep’s Active Drive 4×4 system is now standard on all models; the Trailhawk model is equipped with Jeep’s Active Drive Low 4×4 system with a class-leading 20:1 crawl ratio. Standard Selec-Terrain provides up to four modes for the best four-wheel-drive performance in any weather conditions.
Advanced safety features standard across all trims now include drowsy driver detection, rear seat reminder alert, and a security alarm. Automatic high-beam headlamp control is now standard on Latitude models and above.
Under The Hood
The biggest change is under the hood; gone is the lackluster naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine that made either 177 or 180 hp depending on specification. The new one has a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four with 200-hp and 220 lb-ft @ a much lower 1,750 rpm which is 23 more horsepower and 49 more pound-feet of torque than before. It’s now driven through an 8-speed automatic transmission instead of the old 9-speed.
All these mods make for better fuel economy, All-wheel drive versions are EPA-estimated to deliver 24 City|32 Highway.
The old Jeep Compass didn’t handle too well and the ride was overly firm so Jeep’s engineers re-tuned the springs, added new dampers, modified the steering rack, and added a stronger rear stabilizer bar. The goal was to provide a sportier on-road feel that focuses on handling without compromising off-road ability.
On the road, all these mechanical changes make a huge difference to its driveability and the overall enjoyment factor has gone up several notches. I’m suitably impressed and my expectations have been exceeded.
Once seated in the very comfortable driver’s seat from which you get a good view from your elevated position, it’s time to see how it drives. My first impressions are it’s amazingly quiet, with minimal road noise and even though you do hear the turbo 4 it’s well muted.
The steering is excellent now Jeep has recalibrated the electronic power steering for a more natural feel. The steering wheel is the perfect thickness for your hands and all major controls are easy to adjust while driving.
The engine pulls well from low speeds, you can feel that extra torque, which makes it so much easier to drive around town. The 8-speed is perfectly mated to the engine now, previously the wheezy four got caught out on many occasions with the 9-speed simply having too many ratios.
Mash the go pedal and this Jeep moves, 0-60 takes 7.8 seconds, a figure we achieved after several attempts and without a brake-boosting launch. last year’s model was significantly worse with a 0-60 time of 9.7 seconds.
Om San Diego’s backroads the Compass proved itself to be a much better-balanced car, the suspension is supple and not too firm and the body control is so much better. It does lean a bit in the corners but never wallowed like a hippo in mud, instead, it has poise and precision and body motions are under control. What an enjoyable little car this is now.
The 2023 Compass’ acceleration and road-holding abilities are impressive, it’s not really sporty, but it’s decently tuned and it is actually fun to drive. The increase in horsepower and torque from the fuel-efficient turbocharged engine, the compact size, and the great visibility from the driver’s seat all contribute to its engaging on-road demeanor.
The interior makeover in 2022 succeeded and Jeep now has a distinctively upscale interior in the Compass that elevates it to its competitor’s levels. Now the interior has new colors and soft-touch materials giving the Compass’ interior a surprisingly fresh feel.
The standard touchscreen is 8.4 inches, my tester has the larger 10.1-inch unit, and it includes natural voice recognition and navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto smartphone integration.
My tester had the vegan leather option with cloth inserts and they had 8-way power adjustment and offered heat. Overall the seat comfort marks are high but they could use bigger side bolsters for energetic driving situations, My tester also was equipped with the available 10.25-inch digital instrumentation and driver information display. Graphics and crisp and easy to read.
There’s plenty of power with USBs scattered around the cabin but I did notice there wasn’t a 12-volt outlet up front but there was one in the back. Speaking of the rear set it’s also very comfortable and has ample legroom for this size of car but headroom for taller folks is lacking. Cargo space is pretty good with 27.2 ft³ here and, 59.8 ft³ with the rear seats folded.
Base prices start at $32,295 but this one has several [packages including the Altitude package for $1,795 which includes 2-tone paint, these 18-inch wheels, piano black interior bits and gloss black badges.
The Driver assistance package, which I wouldn’t choose is $1,795 since it includes park assist and adaptive cruise control. It does include the wireless charger which I do want and that’s annoying.
The Convenience group for $1,995 adds heated front seats, a heated steering wheel remote start, 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, and a powered liftgate. Finally, the Sun and Sound group will cost you $2,580 and obviously includes a dual-pane panoramic sunroof and Alpine sound system.
The 2023 Jeep Compass is a huge improvement over the 2022 model, this new powertrain has exceeded my expectations. It has the performance now to compete with its competition, especially the Bronco Sport, and it’s pretty decent off-road. The 2023 Jeep Compass has finally become a vehicle worthy of consideration.
2023 Jeep Compass Altitude Numbers
BASE PRICE: $32,295
AS TESTED PRICE: $42,550
ENGINE: 2.0L turbo DOHC I-4
POWER: 200 hp
TORQUE: 220 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
ZERO TO 60 MPH: 7.5 (est)
CURB WEIGHT: 3,650 lb
CARGO SPACE: 27.2 cubic feet, 59.8 cubic feet with rear seats folded
FUEL ECONOMY: 24 city | 32 highway
OUR OBSERVED: 23.9 mpg
PROS: Zippy, on-road handling, quiet interior
CONS: Still some cheap interior plastics