2022 Jeep Compass Review Update

Christian Wardlaw, Independent Expert | Feb 01, 2022

Introduction - Find the best Jeep deals!

Slotted between the Renegade and the Cherokee in Jeep’s lineup, the refreshed 2022 Compass is a small crossover vehicle styled to resemble a previous-generation Grand Cherokee. The spread between the Renegade, Compass, and Cherokee base prices is about $3,200. They’re all about the same size inside, so choosing between them is mainly dependent on what you seek in terms of style, power, refinement, capability, and available equipment.

For the 2022 model year, Jeep makes the following changes to the Compass:

  • Updated exterior design
  • Improved interior materials and features
  • Revised dashboard, center console, and instrumentation
  • Next-generation infotainment technology
  • Upgraded standard and available safety technology
  • Re-tuned steering and suspension
  • New Latitude Lux trim level

The 2022 Jeep Compass comes in Sport, Latitude, Latitude Lux, Limited, and Trailhawk trims. Each one has a 177-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard with Sport and Latitude trims, with all-wheel drive (AWD) an option. The Latitude Lux and Limited have standard AWD, while the Trailhawk has a unique Active Drive Low AWD system designed for off-roading combined with a suspension lift and revised styling to improve clearance on challenging trails.

Previously, J.D. Power reviewed the 2020 Jeep Compass. This review focuses on the Compass’s updates for 2022 and how they potentially impact its overall appeal to consumers.

What Owners Say About the Jeep Compass - Find the best Jeep deals!

2022 Jeep Compass Limited Gray Front Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

The Jeep Compass competes in the Small SUV market segment. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the J.D. Power 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 62 percent of new Jeep Compass buyers are female (vs. 58 percent for the segment), and the median age of a new Compass buyer is 53 years (vs. 56).

As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated the Compass in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you’ll find their preferences from their most favorite thing about the vehicle to their least favorite:

  • Exterior styling
  • Driving feel
  • Feeling of safety (in a tie)
  • Getting in and out (in a tie)
  • Setting up and starting
  • Driving comfort
  • Infotainment system
  • Interior design
  • Powertrain
  • Fuel economy

In the 2021 APEAL Study, the Compass ranks 13th out of 18 Small SUV models.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Jeep Compass - Find the best Jeep deals!

In the sections that follow, our independent expert analyzes a 2022 Compass Limited equipped with the following options:

  • Extra-cost paint
  • High Altitude package
  • Elite Interior Group
  • Driver Assist Group 1

The price of the test vehicle came to $40,470, including the $1,595 destination charge.

Jeep Gives the 2022 Compass a Nicer Interior

2022 Jeep Compass Limited Interior Dashboard

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Forty grand for a Jeep Compass is hard to comprehend. But that’s the state of the world today, and the good news is that the interior of a loaded 2022 Compass looks and smells like there’s a good reason for that “4” at the start of the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP).

Perforated leather with exposed stitching gave the test vehicle an appropriately upscale appearance, though its quality remains questionable. It feels a little dry and stiff to the touch, a sensation that matches the hard plastics covering the bottom half of the cabin.

Taking a clear cue from the larger, redesigned 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the layered dashboard, new steering wheel, and updated controls add a convincing veneer of sophistication to the little Jeep. While designers dabble in gloss black accents around the cabin, the control buttons remain blessedly free of the reflective material. That means they are easy to find, read, and use.

An optional 10.25-inch digital instrumentation panel and an available 10.1-inch touchscreen display also bring the Compass into the modern age. From the driver’s seat, vestiges of the old Compass remain evident, but they’re few and far between. It feels like a new SUV.

Next-generation Uconnect 5 Infotainment System Debuts

Jeep’s new Uconnect 5 infotainment technology offers more powerful processing power, faster response to inputs, natural-voice recognition, improved graphics, and a more sophisticated appearance. All around, except perhaps for a few minor user-experience hiccups here and there, it is a better system than what Jeep previously offered in the Compass.

An 8.4-inch touchscreen is standard, with a 10.1-inch touchscreen optional. Highlights of Uconnect 5 include:

  • Bluetooth connectivity for two devices simultaneously
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Amazon Alexa Built-in virtual assistant
  • SiriusXM satellite radio
  • Connected services, including access to a Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Navigation system
  • Customizable home screen
  • Saved user profiles for up to five people
  • Redesigned Uconnect smartphone app

Some people might miss the old Compass’s oversized stereo knobs and buttons, but the new design places the now smaller controls higher where they’re less distracting to use.

Alexa Built-in is impressive, adding natural-voice recognition to the Compass. It’s not perfect, though. For example, this application took a few tries to program the navigation system with a specific address. And in response to a request to find the closest hospital, Uconnect 5 included irrelevant surgical centers, veterinary offices, and more. So, it appears the point-of-interest database requires further parsing.

The test vehicle also had a 9-speaker Alpine premium sound system that delivered audio quality commensurate with the Compass’s position on the SUV size and price continuum.

More Standard Safety Tech for 2022

2022 Jeep Compass Driving Assistance System Settings

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

For the 2022 model year, the Compass’s standard equipment list includes a competitive collection of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS). The new standard features include:

As you move up the trim-level ladder, the Compass also offers:

Later in 2022, Jeep will make Highway Assist available for the Compass. Highway Assist is a Level 2 semi-autonomous driving-assistance system that combines adaptive cruise control with lane-centering assistance technology. The idea is to allow the Compass to take on speed, distance, and lane-management responsibilities under ideal driving conditions, but this is not a hands-free system. The driver must still hold the steering wheel for Highway Assist to work.

As for the rest of the Compass’s ADAS, it worked well…except when it didn’t. In several situations on the standard testing loop, with the ADAS set to medium sensitivity whenever possible, the Jeep reacted unnaturally. Guard rails on twisty roads and cars ahead braking and pulling to the shoulder of a highway caused the Compass to overreact. When slower traffic clears, the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine produces a woefully inadequate response, getting back up to the set speed in what seems like minutes instead of seconds.

Revised Steering and Suspension Add Driving Satisfaction

Putting the 177-hp engine’s lack of power aside, the 2022 Compass is better to drive. It seems quieter inside, and Jeep’s tweaking of the suspension and steering gives the SUV a more secure and solid feeling on the road. Also, the test vehicle’s big 19-inch wheels and 235/45 tires provided good grip in corners and curves. However, this is a tall vehicle on a short wheelbase, so it can feel bouncy and wobbly on uneven pavement.

If you’re planning to head off-road, you’re going to want the Compass Trailhawk. Ground clearance increases nearly half an inch to 8.6 inches, the Active Drive Low AWD is more capable on rugged terrain, and Jeep installs more aggressive tires on this model. Additionally, styling revisions improve the approach angle.

It’s a shame that the Compass still doesn’t offer a turbocharged engine option. Turbos perform better at altitude, and given how sluggish the Compass feels at sea level and the frequent use-case for SUVs, the Compass desperately needs a turbocharger.

Furthermore, the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder isn’t particularly fuel-efficient, and the engine stop/start system and the 9-speed automatic transmission’s eagerness to upshift contribute to dissatisfaction with the powertrain.

Because there is so little power available low in the 2.4-liter’s rev range— and in response to the transmission’s behavior—Compass drivers regularly step harder on the accelerator pedal. That helps to explain why the test vehicle averaged no better than 23.8 mpg on the evaluation route, coming up short against the EPA fuel-economy rating of 25 mpg in combined city/highway driving.

Independent Expert Opinion - Find the best Jeep deals!

2022 Jeep Compass Limited Gray Rear Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

With the updated 2022 Compass, Jeep improves this SUV’s game regarding perceived quality, interior design, and technology. As a result, the 2022 Jeep Compass doesn’t look or feel as inexpensive as it used to, which means it better justifies its premium price tag.

However, based on J.D. Power data, Jeep does not address the two things owners rate lowest in terms of satisfaction: powertrain and fuel economy. Nevertheless, there is potential help coming. A rumored Compass 4xe plug-in hybrid would help to resolve both of these issues through a smaller-displacement turbocharged gas engine, instant electric motor torque, and greater overall efficiency.

The Compass 4xe is already on sale in Europe. Whether it makes its way to the U.S. market remains to be seen.

Christian Wardlaw is a veteran digital automotive journalist with over 25 years of experience in test-driving vehicles. In addition to JDPower.com, his work has appeared in numerous new- and used-car buying guides, newspapers, and automotive industry trade journals.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power

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