The 2022 Jeep Compass Trailhawk is a compact SUV that competes against the likes of the Ford Bronco Sport, Subaru Forester Wilderness, and the new Mazda CX-50. It is a more rugged version of on-road compact SUVs. So is this the off-road ready crossover to get or should you stick with the capable Bronco Sport or Subaru Forester?
Engine – Starting with the bad news first, the engine of the Jeep Compass is a bit underwhelming. It is a 2.4L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder that produces 177 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque (132 kW & 233 Nm). That is broadly the same power figures as its competitors but it’s the way that this engine delivers the power that makes it feel a bit underpowered. Peak power isn’t reached until the engine is spinning at 6,400 rpms with peak torque being at 3,900 rpms. So it does require some revving of the engine to go up a steep hill or to merge onto a highway. It also has a pretty sensitive throttle pedal. If a feather falls on it, it makes the car lunge forward so setting off from a stop can be a little uncomfortable if you have a heavier foot. However, the power of this engine feels adequate when you’re casually driving around town.
Fuel Economy – But at least this engine can return some decent fuel economy numbers, so long as it’s mostly highway driving. In the city, it is rated for 10.8 L/100km (21.8 MPG) and on a highway it can get 7.8 L/100km (30.1 MPG). The highway fuel economy is better than its direct competitors but the city fuel economy increases the combined rating to make it about half a liter per 100 km worse than its competitors. Even with a substantial amount of highway driving, I was only able to average 10.6 L/100km (22.2 MPG).
Transmission – The front-wheel-drive variants of the Jeep Compass receive a 6-speed automatic transmission while AWD versions receive a 9-speed automatic. This Trailhawk has the latter. This 9-speed shifts smoothly but it is not the quickest transmission to react. Whether you stab the throttle for a burst of acceleration or if you take over manual control, be prepared for a delayed response.
Braking – Now for the good stuff. The brakes on the Compass Trailhawk are strong and have no issue bringing the crossover to a stop. The brake pedal is firm but it has enough travel to make it easy for smooth stops.
Handling – The handling dynamics of the Jeep Compass are also a plus for this crossover SUV. Steering effort is moderate at slower speeds but really stable at highway speeds which makes it track straight and true. The suspension is a bit on the firmer side for comfort but this aids in keeping the body planted around corners.
Where this crossover SUV really shines is off the beaten path. The Compass Trailhawk has a 4LO mode, which locks the transmission in 1st gear to replicate a low gear ratio for crawling. This gives it a 20.4:1 drive ratio. There’s also a 4×4 lock, front and rear tow hooks, a front skid plate, hill descent control, and a 1-inch raised ride height. The overall ride height is 8.5-inches. The Compass Trailhawk also has SelecTerrain which are drive mode programs for various terrains that you may take your Compass over. These alter various characteristics of the Compass to provide the best possible traction for the road or trail surface. The modes are Snow, Sand, Mud, Auto, and Rock.
Ride Comfort – The 2022 Jeep Compass Trailhawk has slightly firmer suspension than some of its competitors but it doesn’t give the cabin occupants a punishing ride. Road bumps are more noticeable through the seat and your bum however, it is comfortable enough on long highway journeys.
Interior Space – Headroom in the Jeep Compass is a bit less than the likes of the Hyundai Tucson or Ford Bronco Sport but it’s acceptable even for taller occupants. At least in the front seats it is. In the back seats, headroom is not as generous with my hair brushing against the headliner. Legroom in the front is nearly on par with the Bronco Sport but the Compass Trailhawk has more of it in the back seats. However, other crossover SUVs such as the Mazda CX-50 or Chevy Trailblazer offer more rear legroom.
In the trunk, the 2022 Jeep Compass has 800 L (28.2 cu-ft) of cargo space with the rear seats up and 1,700 L (60 cu-ft) of space with the rear seats folded.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – When cruising on a highway or poodling around town, the engine doesn’t make a whole lot of noise. It’s only when you need to climb up that steep hill does it start to buzz like an annoying wasp. Wind noise is negligible and tire noise is a bit evident at highway speeds but it’s not too intrusive into the cabin.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2022 Jeep Compass starts at $29,495 CAD ($26,390 USD) with this Trailhawk trim starting at $38,995 CAD ($33,605 USD). As equipped, this demo vehicle cost $47,385 CAD ($42,370 USD).
Gadgets – This being the top-spec Trailhawk Elite, it has every single feature that is available on the Jeep Compass. Heated seats, heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, power liftgate, surround view cameras, leather upholstery, and so on.
One of the biggest changes in terms of gadgets is the new Uconnect 5 infotainment system. It is displayed on a 10.1” touchscreen that is within easy reach for tall and short drivers alike. The Uconnect 5 infotainment system is compatible with wireless Apple CarPlay & wireless Android Auto. There’s also a degree of customization within the system. The home screen can be customized to display your most used widgets and a favorites tab can be pulled down from the top. In all, I had no issues with the system in regards to ease of use or phone connectivity.
Interior Design – The 2022 model year sees a mid-cycle update for the Compass and part of that update is a slightly refreshed interior. The infotainment touchscreen is the predominant feature on the dashboard but there is also a full digital display on this top-spec trim. Physical controls remain, however, for the climate and most used driver aids. But there is also a lot of gloss plastic on the center console which will attract dust, scratches, and fingerprints.
Exterior Design – The exterior styling has also seen a few improvements with a more modern and slim-ish looking design. The headlights and taillights don’t look as bulky as the previous year’s model. The 7 rectangular slots remain to denote Jeep’s heritage and the overall design is closer to that of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Safety – Advanced driver and safety aids are nowhere to be found on base trim levels of the Compass. At least not as standard. They are optional on the Compass North trim (Latitude trim in USA) with most of the safety features being standard on Trailhawk and up trim levels.
Warranty – The 2022 Jeep Compass Trailhawk is covered by a 3 year / 60,000 km basic and 5 year / 100,000 km powertrain warranty. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For information on USA warranty, click here.
Conclusion – Overall, there are two ways to look at the 2022 Jeep Compass Trailhawk. As an on-road, daily commuter type of family vehicle, there are more suitable compact SUVs such as the Honda CR-V. However, as an SUV that will be used in the mud and forest service roads by adventurous families, the Jeep Compass Trailhawk is one of the best ones on the market. It has the trademarks of Jeep capability but without feeling too utilitarian.
Thank you to Jeep Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Jeep.ca