Given the iconic Jeep storyline, it is easy to overlook the Jeep Compass when you review the entire model lineup. However, up until a couple of years ago, before the Bronco Sport hit the market, Compass was the well-kept secret for an entry SUV with great off-road capabilities. After all, it was a Jeep.
The 2023 Jeep Compass is making a splash with the introduction of a 2.0-liter direct injection turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine. Offered for the first time on the 2023 Jeep Compass, this powerplant elevates the overall performance and road manners.
For 2023, the all-new Jeep Compass lineup consists of five models: Sport (4x4 only); Latitude (4x4 only) with Altitude package available; Latitude LUX (4x4 only); Limited (4x4 only) with RED Edition and High Altitude packages available; and the Trailhawk (4x4 only).
The 2023 Compass is the most technologically advanced Jeep Compass ever and the new array of advanced safety and security features adds to the long list of advancements in performance, comfort, and functionality.
Offering premium styling and craftsmanship inside and out, the new Compass is truly a vehicle that owners can feel safe in. The Compass offers options for cutting-edge technology with a Highway Assist semi-autonomous driving system, parallel and perpendicular park assist, and Traffic Sign Recognition systems, plus a 360-degree Surround View camera.
Standard safety and security features on all trims include Drowsy Driver Detection, Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, Pedestrian/Cyclist Automatic Emergency Braking, Active Lane Management, Blind-spot Monitoring, and Rear Cross Path detection systems.
Next-generation technologies offered on Compass include an available 10.25-inch frameless full-color thin-film transistor (TFT) digital cluster – one of the largest in the segment, a standard 10.1-inch digital infotainment touchscreen, the new five-times-faster Uconnect 5 with standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and an available wireless charging pad.
The 2023 Jeep Compass offers premium on- and off-road manners courtesy of a new powerplant offering one of the most technologically advanced engines in the automotive industry. The 2.0-liter direct injection turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine is rated at 200 horsepower and 221 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a high-efficient, eight-speed automatic transmission.
Standard on all trims, benefits of the engine includes outstanding fuel economy with engine stop-start (ESS) technology, low emissions, quick 0-60 miles per hour (mph) launch performance, and enhanced drivability. The new Jeep Active Drive 4x4 system is now standard on all models (Trailhawk equipped with Jeep Active Drive Low 4x4 system with a class-leading 20:1 crawl ratio)
Advanced safety and next-generation technology, including drowsy driver detection, rear seat reminder alert and security alarm, is now standard on all trims. Automatic high-beam headlamp control is standard on Latitude and above. New 17-inch wheels are standard on Sport and Latitude models.
The new 2023 Jeep Compass delivers incredible performance, whether traversing off-road trails or navigating busy city streets. Legendary off-road capability begins courtesy of two advanced, intelligent 4x4 systems. Jeep Active Drive: Newly standard on all Jeep Compass trims and enabled by an innovative PTU, the Jeep Active Drive 4x4 system is fully automatic and delivers seamless operation in and out of the four-wheel-drive mode, at any speed with no driver intervention. Jeep Active Drive enables optimal grip in low-traction conditions. Jeep Active Drive Low: Providing the Compass Trailhawk with legendary off-road capability, Jeep Active Drive Low builds on the Jeep Active Drive 4x4 system and affords a class-leading 20:1 crawl ratio and low range for 4x4 Trail Rated capability. Both Jeep Active Drive and Active Drive Low 4x4 systems include the Jeep Selec-Terrain system, providing up to four modes (Auto, Snow, Sand/Mud modes, plus exclusive Rock mode on the Trailhawk model) for driver controllable, four-wheel-drive performance on- or off-road and in all weather conditions. For even greater Trail Rated off-road capability, Selec-Terrain includes standard Hill-descent Control on Trailhawk models. Hill-descent Control maintains vehicle speed down steep, rugged grades by actively controlling the brakes, allowing the driver to focus on steering.
With a base price just below $30,000, the 2023 Jeep Compass and its off-road capability can be had for a reasonable entry point. However, add a little comfort, add Trailhawk ($35,745) capability or a High Altitude ($38,340) premium cabin, and this Jeep can get a bit pricey. While its closest competitor, Ford Bronco Sport, seems to be doing just fine at this price point, Jeep delivers an off-road-ready attitude that is worth a look.
• John Stein is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. He has more than 25 years of experience driving, testing, and writing about the automotive industry, its latest innovations, and vehicles.