2022 Jeep Compass First Look Review: Setting A New Course

First Look / Comments

A midlife update keeps it competitive against new rivals.

The second-generation Jeep Compass debuted back in 2016 and it's somewhat surprising it's taken this long for it to receive some much-needed updates. But better late than never. Meet the 2022 Jeep Compass. Featuring enhanced exterior and interior styling, two new 4x4 systems, a new trim level, and plenty of advanced safety systems, the compact crossover continues to ride on the same platform as the smaller Renegade. That's just fine because this architecture remains competitive.

The general goal Jeep had in mind was to move the Compass a bit more upmarket with a more premium look and overall packaging, and enhance its off-road credentials even though it's not a true SUV like the Wrangler. But the 2022 Compass' capabilities are more than good enough for a majority of buyers. The question we're all waiting to see answered is whether the refreshed model can successfully battle a certain new rival from Ford, whose first name is 'Bronco' and last name is 'Sport.'

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Instantly Recognizable Styling

There's no doubt this is a Jeep but designers updated many signature styling elements. Up front you'll find a newer version of the must-have seven-slot grille that's now surrounded by high gloss black accents with slim LED headlights at each side. The grille's mid-section, also with a black surround, has new fog lamps, and the lower grille has increased in size to improve engine cooling.

Every trim level has some unique styling. The Trailhawk, for example, comes with a red and black anti-glare hood decal, an upgraded grille with "Jeep Teeth," and a front skit plate. Limited models get a new appearance package consisting of projector LED headlamps, fog lights, and taillights along with 19-inch wheels. The also-new High Altitude Edition has a body-color painted lower trim with grey accents and a dual-pane panoramic sunroof.

A total of five trims are available: Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk. The fifth is the new Latitude LUX. A total of eight exterior colors are on offer, including the new Earl and Bright White. Several new wheel designs for the 17- to 19-inch wheels are also available, again according to trim.

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Significantly Upgraded Interior

Changes to the interior are significant. An 8.4-inch infotainment screen with the latest Uconnect 5 comes standard and a 10.1-inch unit is optional and standard on higher trims. Also available is a new 10.25-inch frameless digital TFT driver's gauge cluster that displays driver-assist technologies like adaptive cruise control.

A new multifunction steering wheel, shifter bezel, redesigned cup holders, and a more spacious front bin with USB Type A and C ports and optional wireless charging can also be found. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. A 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, a Uconnect app, an in-vehicle Alexa virtual assistant all cost extra.

The entire instrument panel itself has been completely redesigned with a more sculpted and premium look. You'll find a painted or chrome-plated accent running the length of the dash and then blends into the HVAC vents. An overall sense of premium can be found by why of the slim driver and front passenger headrests with optional heated and ventilated abilities, available heated second-row seats, and heavy doses of contrast stitching and other refinements throughout the cabin.

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Engine And Off-Roading

The 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine carries over to the new model year with the 177 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque, and is paired to either a standard six- or optional nine-speed automatic transmission. Two-wheel drive models return up to 31 mpg highway partly thanks to an improved start-stop system. No manual gearbox is offered.

Customers who intend to hit the off-road trails will have a choice between two 4x4 systems, both capable of sending all available torque to a specific wheel. The first system is Jeep Active Drive, found on the Sport, Latitude, and Limited models. This fully automatic system can also route all of the engine's power to the rear wheels for improved grip in low-traction situations.

The Jeep Active Drive Low is a more hardcore system specifically for the Trailhawk. It has all of the capabilities as the other system but adds a 20:1 crawl ratio and low range for even better off-roading. Both 4x4 systems feature Selec-Terrain with four modes and hill-descent control on the Trailhawk. The latter trim has 8.6-inches of ground clearance, water fording up to 19-inches, and high-strength skid plates.

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Pricing And Competition

Jeep has confirmed 2022 Compass pricing will start from $24,995 for the Sport 4x2. The Latitude and Latitude LUX can be had from $26,525 and $29,595, respectively. Both the Limited and Trailhawk begin at $31,395. Those who want the least expensive Compass 4x4 will have to shell out $26,495. A $1,495 destination fee is not included in any of these amounts. Sales will begin this fall.

The timing of the refreshed Compass is ideal because there's a new kid in town: the Ford Bronco Sport, and it's already a smash hit for the Blue Oval. Other worthy competitors include the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and the Nissan Rogue, though we think the Ford will be cross-shopped the most among off-road buyers.

Jeep has done a noble job upgrading a clearly aging crossover. The 2022 Compass has received a new lease on life but the question is whether this will enough to tackle some new and very impressive competition. Time will tell.

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