In Canada, the 2022 Jeep Compass starts at $29,495.
The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross is priced from $24,890.
Small SUVs should be worried about the arrival of the Corolla Cross.
Compact SUVs have taken over from compact cars as the best-selling “regular” vehicles in the country. While full-size pickups remain the biggest sellers and likely will be for a long time to come, small SUVs are the most popular segment for most Canadian families. One of the latest additions to this class is the Toyota Corolla Cross and one of the older ones is the Jeep Compass.
As always, diversity is important to consumers. Although over 200,000 want a small SUV, they may not all want to be seen driving the same model. Many want a vehicle that looks rugged and offers some off-road capability while others prefer the comfort found in subdued styling and practicality.
The latter points describe the new 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross. As the latest entry in the small SUV segment, the Corolla Cross may be the easiest product for Toyota to sell. The Corolla name alone carries decades of reliability, convenience and reliability. Now it comes in SUV form.
In the case of the Compass, it also carries the burden of a name, but in the case of the Jeep, it has to do with limitless possibilities. While this should be an asset, like its smaller sibling the Renegade, the Compass is one of the slower selling small SUVs in the segment in the country.
This may be an odd combination for a comparison test, but sometimes details emerge that serve to confirm or unwarranted preconceptions when shopping in this large segment.
Let’s compare Corolla Cross and Compass:
Driveline and drive
As standard, the Jeep Compass is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine. It produces 177 horsepower and 172 lb.-ft. of torque and when mated to the available AWD system, it has a 9-speed automatic transmission.
Under the hood of the Corolla Cross is a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers 169 horsepower and 151 lb.-ft. of torque. This is the same engine found in the Corolla cars that at best prove adequate to move their 3,000+ lbs. Unlike the sedan and hatchback, the Corolla Cross is only offered with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
When it comes to the powertrain, the Compass handily outperforms the Corolla Cross in all but one respect.
The main culprit for the Toyota is the CVT which robs the driving experience. With the roughly 300 extra pounds added due to AWD, the powertrain needs time and revs to get things going. The result is noise and then some. With passengers and equipment on board, drivers will want more power. That wish may come true when Toyota launches the long-awaited hybrid version.
The Jeep’s powertrain is much more up to the task. The 9-speed transmission is tuned to the engine and provides quick responses to driver inputs. Acceleration is faster than expected and it gets better.
Both utility vehicles were driven while there was a lot of snow on the ground and once again the Jeep Compass outperforms the Toyota and by quite a margin. The base 4×4 system in the Compass is Jeep’s Active Drive 4×4 system with the Selec-Terrain Traction Management system. Power distribution can be varied front to rear in nanoseconds making for a potentially happy (and happy driver) in snowy conditions.
In the Corolla’s corner, it has Toyota’s Dynamic Torque Control AWD system that can eventually direct up to 50% of available power to the rear wheels. The job of this reactive system is to prevent the Corolla Cross from getting stuck, which it does. And that may be all that matters here.
When it comes to fuel efficiency, this is where the Toyota shines. The Corolla can and will deliver a combined fuel consumption of around 7.5L/100km while the Jeep Compass will consume another 2L/100km.
Here’s a fun fact: The Corolla Cross offers up to 8.2 inches of ground clearance while the Compass (non-Trailhawk) has 8.1 inches.
Styling from the inside out
This comparison showed the more luxurious interiors of each SUV. Either way, we have nice wheels, some visual upgrades and thankfully paint.
Despite this, the Compass certainly looks a lot more elegant than the Corolla Cross. Seven slats grille. 19-inch wheels and tasteful bright work elevated the Jeep’s outlook to near-premium levels. This is a good time to mention that the Jeep, as tested, sold for an eye-watering $49,975 with options.
As for the Corolla Cross, it is admittedly less impressive visually, but it is still attractive enough thanks to its 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and fog lights, and massive headlights. However, this model only sells for $33,990 as tested.
Regardless of the price, however, the Jeep’s cabin is a much nicer place to be. The dashboard layout is much more premium with a smoother design. All types of controls are easily accessible and ergonomically positioned. Surfaces and textures are elegant, something that is especially true in the tested Limited model.
Away from the Corolla Cross, its cabin is all Toyota. Although cleverly laid out, the dashboard can look like an assortment of disparate parts thrown together out of necessity. Materials in the tested XLE aren’t as good as the Jeep’s but let’s not forget the $16,000 difference.
The space in both SUVs is generally good for its class. Four adult passengers can easily enjoy themselves on board. When it comes to luggage space, the Jeep wins with 800 liters of available volume. The Toyota loses 100 liters when equipped with AWD.
Value and features
Base model Compass Sport vs base model Corolla Cross L, Jeep $29,495 and Toyota $24,890 are not exactly matched. The Jeep is $4,500 more expensive to start, which is partially covered by the larger standard 8.4-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, push-button start and a few more items.
To get most of these items along with a heated steering wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels, and some active safety features, one must choose the Corolla Cross LE, which is priced from $27,090, or $2,400 less than the cheapest Compass.
At the other end of the price and trim spectrum, the $33,990 XLE Corolla Cross is well above the Compass North which starts at $34,895.
But if a fully loaded ultra-premium small SUV with real off-road chops is what you’re after, the as-tested Compass Limited at close to $50,000 with options is impossible to match.
Our thoughts on Jeep Compass and Toyota Corolla Cross
The comparison here shows that Jeep is vastly overestimating what the Compass can be to buyers. Out of the box it is too expensive. In fact, it’s the most expensive in the segment, priced higher than some larger compact SUVs like the Chevrolet Equinox.
Toyota Corolla Cross, with the exception of the quasi-lackadaisical powertrain, is almost perfect. When the hybrid version comes, all games will be disabled. For the average Canadian family, the Corolla Cross offers space, efficiency and plenty of safety at a very affordable price.
2022 Jeep Compass vs 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Comparison