Jeep Compass S-Limited 2022 review

Jeep’s small SUV, the Compass, is a bold choice and not the cheapest in its class – but does it have what it takes to unseat Mazda and Hyundai?


Good point

  • Smooth ride in town and on the highway
  • Good infotainment system
  • Comfortable leather seats
  • Spacious cottage

Needs work

  • It is expensive and thirsty
  • Swirly nine-speed auto
  • Dated engine with low power
  • Some cheap decor elements
  • Warranty limited to 100,000 km

The Jeep Compass S-Limited is something of a curiosity crossover. Although it competes with other small SUVs like the Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Kona and Mitsubishi ASX, the Jeep is in a realm of its own with greater ride height and some genuine trail-bashing ability. In this way, it is probably most similar to the Subaru XV.

After being introduced in 2007, the Compass is now in its second generation, with Jeep having sold 900 examples of the Compass to Australian buyers so far in 2022. The Jeep Compass S-Limited has been battling cars in the same price range as the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, which both sold 1,789 respectively 1556 units so far in 2022.

When there are so many roughly 25 vehicles available in the small SUV segment, I’ll admit that Jeep isn’t the first that comes to mind. Its rivals who sell in far greater numbers here in Australia seem to be taking the limelight, but it begs the question: is the Jeep Compass in S Limited trim ($48,350) worth your hard-earned cash? That’s what we’re here to find out.

The Jeep Compass is available in Australia in four variants: Night Eagle ($39,950), Limited ($45,350), S-Limited ($48,350) and the diesel-only Trailhawk ($52,650). We have the luxury S-Limited on test, which gets features like an Alpine premium sound system, 19-inch black alloy wheels, a contrast roof and black leather seats.

Standard features include a 10.1-inch central touchscreen, wireless charging, a large 10.25 inches instrument display, rain-sensing windshield wipers and keyless proximity. Our test vehicle had the S-Limited Premium Package ($3195) which includes a dual-window glass sunroof, as well as a surround-view camera, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats and premium leather seats. “Brilliant black” paint on the car is an option for $895.

That brings our Compass S-Limited to a not-insignificant $52,440 before on-road costs, putting it firmly at the premium end of the mainstream small SUV set. The Mazda CX-30 in G25 Astina AWD trim costs $47,690 before on-road costs, while the Hyundai Kona in N-Line Premium all-wheel drive costs $42,700. And if you want something with more luxury flair, the Audi Q3 35 TFSI will automatically set you back $50,300 before on-road costs.

How does the compass work?

Heading around town, on the highway and on some country roads to find out more about this very American-influenced little SUV.

Jumping into the Jeep Compass for the first time and heading across town, the first thing you notice is the transmission. Jeep has equipped the Compass with a nine-speed ZF automatic, which is also used in other Jeep models such as the Cherokee, Renegade and Jaguar E-Pace.

Like our tests of these vehicles, ZF’s nine-speed doesn’t earn the silky-smooth shifts of the transmission maker’s fat eight-speed unit. It felt choppy at low speeds, and with every low-rpm throttle tap, the whole car jerked forward with a sense of torque converter unrefinedness.

Jeep Compass S-Limited side profile 2022

Still, you’d probably learn to handle this or drive around it, and the good news is that once you get up to speed in the Compass S-Limited, it has a comfortable ride and settles down well on the highway. The steering is light but direct, and you can have some fun with the car on a twisty road. The handling is neatly sorted and assembled in the corners.

All Compass models except the diesel Trailhawk are powered by a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that Jeep calls the Tigershark. This powertrain produces 129kW of power and 229Nm of torque and is sent to all four wheels, although there is a front-wheel-drive offering in the entry-level Night Eagle.

The Tigershark engine is part of the Stellantis World Gasoline Engine family and is part of the Global Engine Alliance – a relationship between Chrysler, Mitsubishi and Hyundai that has existed since 2005.

Jeep Compass S-Limited wheels

In the real world, the Jeep Compass’ engine is powerful enough for the daily commute, but not quite strong enough for confident overtaking. The ratio between engine and gearbox means that the 2.4-litre unit revs unnecessarily, and lacks some refinement.

The engine itself is noisy, and under wide-open throttle, like getting up to freeway speeds, it’s also loud and choppy. It feels strained and would be greatly improved with the use of an efficient electric add-on such as the PHEV 4xe system used elsewhere.

Despite its engine interruptions, the Compass S Limited rides well and is relatively quiet on the highway. It feels composed at higher speeds and has an overall sense of comfort to justify its higher price. It was nice to have the natural light coming into the cabin thanks to the large glass roof.

Jeep Compass S-Limited 2022

While the Jeep Compass S Limited has built-in off-road settings, it’s really more of a soft-roader—just don’t mistake it for the Suzuki Jimny ($29,990) or Jeep’s own Wrangler ($69,750). If you’re interested in off-roading in the Compass S Limited, you certainly can, but you’ll need to be aware of the ground clearance as this variant isn’t the tool for the job if serious four-wheel driving is on the cards. agenda. Still, 212 mm of ground clearance for the S-Limited is nothing to be upset about.

Jeep offers 225mm higher suspension travel in the top-of-the-line Compass Trailhawk which has features like rock mode and a stiffer off-road suspension package. The more mainstream brands like Subaru offer small or medium off-road SUVs like the XV, which has 220mm of ground clearance.

In terms of safety technology on the S-Limited, there’s a good set of equipment available as standard including six airbags, reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking, a full speed collision warning system, lane keeping, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic detection, park assist and adaptive cruise control.

Jeep Compass S-Limited 2022

For safety, the Compass S Limited also features a speed limiter, speed assist, traffic sign recognition, driver drowsiness detection and tire pressure monitoring. A surround view, 360-degree camera is optional on the S Limited variant.

When I drove the Jeep Compass with all the safety features on, I immediately turned off the lane assist because it was just way too intrusive and didn’t feel as natural as some other systems I’ve experienced.

I’ve found in other new cars that the lane keep assist wasn’t distracting but gently helped me out if I accidentally swerved slightly out of my lane. Unfortunately, the Jeep Compass is not one of those cars, it engaged even when the car wasn’t drifting towards a lane edge.


How is the interior of the compass?

When you first get into the Jeep Compass S Limited, you’re greeted by a spacious and open cabin with comfortable and supportive leather seats. All the main touch points are good and feel like quality components, apart from the indicator stalks which felt clunky and a bit cheap. The steering wheel, while well designed, felt too large for a relatively compact car.

Jeep Compass S-Limited steering wheel

The large 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen is one of the real highlights of the Jeep Compass S Limited, and is well organized around Jeep’s uconnect system and works well in terms of features, but I found myself looking for basic features like the heated steering wheel wheels that were placed in fine print on the far side of the screen, away from the driver’s seat.

I tested my Google Pixel 5 with Android Auto wireless with infotainment and it generally worked pretty well, but the Bluetooth connection dropped during my test route and couldn’t reconnect without completely resetting the phone’s Bluetooth system. This is of course a major annoyance as you have no choice but to pull over to the side of the highway to reconnect your phone and get the maps and music going again.

Jeep Compass S-Limited front seats

The Jeep Compass is definitely of a size to suit a small but equally growing family. The rear seats are comfortable and there is good headroom too. A small highlight was getting the extra light from the sunroof which made the cabin feel airier and more open. Boot space is generous at 438 litres, which is significantly larger than the Hyundai Kona’s 332-litre boot and the Mazda CX-30’s 317-litre boot.

What are the running costs of Compass?

One area where the Jeep Compass S-Limited struggled somewhat was in its fuel efficiency. We recorded 9.8L/100km for our combined figure, with a low of 9.7L/100km on the highway and a maximum of 11.0L/100km in the city.

Jeep claims the Compass S Limited’s 2.4-liter atmo four-cylinder will manage 13.6L/100km in urban environments, which is at least fair.

Compared to its competitors, the all-wheel-drive Compass is a thirsty beast. One of its biggest rivals, the Hyundai Kona Highlander with its 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, claims a combined fuel economy of just 6.9L/100km paired with its dual-clutch automatic transmission and as low as 6.1L/100km on the highway .

For the Jeep Compass range, there is a standard five-year 100,000km warranty and lifetime roadside assistance if you always service your Jeep through their dealer network. It is strange that Jeep does not offer an unlimited kilometer warranty, which is basically standard for a large number of manufacturers.

Jeep Compass S-Limited digital dashboard

Service intervals are every 12 months or 12,000 km, whichever comes first. Service with a cap for the S Limited is $349 per service, which looks like $1745 for the first five years of ownership. To compare, a similarly spec Hyundai Kona Highlander will cost $319 per service, or $1595 for five years.

Mazda’s CX-30 small SUV costs $334 for the first service and then ranges between $380 and $334, coming to a total of $1,762 for five years of ownership.

That makes the Jeep Compass only slightly cheaper than the Mazda CX-30 and much more expensive than the Hyundai Kona.

Scorecard for operating costs

Consumption

Below average


The final verdict

The Jeep Compass S Limited is an expensive, thirsty, yet surprisingly practical and comfortable small SUV.

The biggest problem with the S-Limited is that many of its rivals are just as good to drive and have newer, more fuel-efficient engines – often at a lower price.

The Compass gets big points for its infotainment, ride quality and packaging, but doesn’t fare too well with its uninspiring and thirsty engine and twitchy transmission and somewhat average service.

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