Jeep has given its Ford Bronco Sport rival a big update.
While the Jeep Wrangler remains perhaps the quintessential Jeep, the softer Compass is a less hard-edged alternative better suited to spending time on tarmac. In April, a facelifted Compass was revealed for the European market with styling tweaks and a much more upscale interior. The US-spec Compass has now been revealed at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show, giving us a clearer picture of the changes that will allow this model to compete with the new Ford Bronco Sport. The changes are pretty significant, especially when you're seated behind the steering wheel. Outside, the mini Grand Cherokee look is still on full display and makes for an attractive SUV.
The front fascia has been modified and there is a new seven-slot signature grille with high gloss black accents. The LED headlights have been gently redesigned and there are new wheel designs. Depending on the trim, the appearance differs, as Jeep aimed to make on-road and off-road versions distinct from each other. For instance, the Trail Rated Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4x4 comes with a red and black hood decal and a special matte black grille. On the High Altitude Edition, there is lower trim in body color and with Neutral Grey accents. Jeep has also introduced Earl and Bright White as new additions to the exterior color palette.
Without a doubt, changes to the cabin of the Compass have been more dramatic. Materials are plusher, the design is completely fresh, and a new infotainment interface takes center stage. The 2022 Compass gets the new Uconnect 5 infotainment system featuring a standard 8.4-inch touchscreen and an available 10.1-inch center display. Jeep says that the system's responses are five times faster than before and over-the-air updates are now possible. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and customers can set five user profiles, customizing settings like their seat position and their music preferences.
Another new addition to the cabin is an available 10.25-inch frameless digital TFT gauge cluster, offering close to two dozen unique menus to choose from. Also available are a new Uconnect mobile app, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and an in-vehicle Alexa virtual assistant.
Jeep says that the new Compass is available with over 75 safety and security features. A Highway Assist semi-autonomous system will be offered on upper trims, as is traffic sign recognition and a surround-view camera. All models get pedestrian/cyclist automatic emergency braking.
Mechanically, the Compass remains powered by a 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine. It produces 177 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque and an improved start-stop technology system. Interestingly, the 2021 model was stronger with 180 hp and 175 lb-ft. Both 4x2 and 4x4 versions are offered and there is a choice of six- or nine-speed automatic transmissions. After the manual gearbox was dropped for the 2021 Compass, it unsurprisingly hasn't returned for the 2022 model.
Jeep has modified the steering gear that helps with parking and general responsiveness. For off-roading, the Compass offers Jeep Active Drive and Active Drive Low 4x4 systems. The Trailhawk uniquely gets 8.6 inches of ground clearance, 19 inches of water fording, steel skid plates, and Selec-Terrain with hill descent control. Both Sand/Mud and Snow driving modes are available.
"The new 2022 Jeep Compass ushers in new levels of comfort and functionality, with premium styling and craftsmanship inside and out," said Jim Morrison, Vice President of Jeep Brand North America. "Sophisticated and well equipped, the Compass stays true to its benchmark 4x4 capability and on-road dynamics, but with even more refinement and precision."
Five primary trims - Sport, Latitude, the new Latitude LUX, Limited, and Trailhawk - are available for the 2022 Compass. Pricing begins at $24,995 for the Sport 4x2 and goes up to $31,395 for both the Trailhawk 4x4 and Limited 4x4, excluding a $1,495 destination charge. The most affordable 4x4 is the Sport at $26,495. The latest Compass should arrive in local showrooms in the fall of 2021.