2023 Jeep Compass Compact SUV Review: Live Your Best Life

Jeep Compass, a mini-me version of Jeep's most popular SUVs, has more power and standard features – turbo, 200 HP, 4WD, 10" touch screen – at an affordable price.

The New Face Of The 2023 Jeep Compass Blends Classic And Modern Elements
The new face of the 2023 Jeep Compass blends classic and modern elements. Photo: Cameron Reiss

Jeep Style is Yours, Even with a Starter Budget.

There is no better feeling than driving along the coast with the windows down, blasting your favorite summer songs, and breathing in the ocean air. When I daydream about taking this type of drive, a dream car is always part of the fantasy.

And Jeep, with its adventurous nature, is maybe the perfect ride. 

So when I test drove the 2023 Jeep Compass (RED) edition, which has a starting price of about $28K and a top-of-the-line price of about $40K, I had to take it to the beach and see if it could live up to this expectation.

Related: I Went Off-Roading in the New 2024 Jeep Wrangler, and It Blew My Mind

The Front Cabin In The Jeep Compass

The front cabin in the Jeep Compass. Photo: Cameron Reiss

Jeep Compass: A Stylish, Savvy, and Spunky Compact SUV

The Compass is what you might think of as a baby Cherokee or mini-version of the Grand Cherokee: it’s capable, powerful, and comfortable. 

Compass was introduced in 2017, and while it filled a useful place in the Jeep lineup — a compact version of Jeep’s larger and more popular SUVs— its small engine and lack of off-road capability in all models was a complaint of buyers. So, Jeep redesigned the Compass for 2023 to address those issues. The result is a larger 4-cylinder turbo engine that generates 200 horsepower, plenty of power for an SUV this size. 4-wheel drive is standard, and the suspension has been improved, so this SUV can manage well on off-road trails. The larger engine, 4WD, and improved suspension are standard on all models.

Then, the interior was updated with a larger 10” UConnect touchscreen multimedia system and a digital driver information screen, which are standard, as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. 

The result is a spunky, fresh drive meant to bring all of the best qualities of Jeep together with technology and true Jeep driving spirit. 

When you first hop in the Compass, you immediately get Jeep’s classic feel. The feeling of adventure and excitement is complemented in our High Altitude test model by the panoramic sunroof and leather seats. And then, there are Jeep’s Easter Eggs — finding them is required play— that can be found around the Compass, including the classic top-down Wrangler silhouette on the windshield.

Related: 11 Fun 2 and 3-row SUVs Designed for Adventure and Value

The Digital Drivers Information Screen

The digital driver’s information screen. Photo: Cameron Reiss

What We Loved

  • The classic Jeep style with lots of Easter Eggs
  • Jeep capability is not an option; it’s standard
  • All the standard features, including 4WD, the 10″ touch screen, and a powerful turbo engine
  • A starting price under $30K
  • Lots of interior legroom and headroom
  • TONS of cargo space
  • A nice suite of standard safety features on every model
  • Even with all the upgrades, the price is still under $40K
The Compass Badge On The Side Of The Jeep. Photo: Cameron Reiss

The Compass badge on the side of the Jeep. Photo: Cameron Reiss

What You Need to Know 

  • Seats 5, though more comfortable for 4
  • Many upgrades can be added with a package 
  • There are a ton of trims (8!) and packages to choose from
  • Most exterior colors other than white are an extra charge
  • Uses regular fuel
  • Fuel economy estimated at 24 MPG city/32 MPG highway
  • 2,000 lb. tow capacity
  • 3-year/36K mile warranty
The Touch Screen Has A Clear, Crisp Rear View Image

The touch screen has a clear, crisp rear view image. Photo: Cameron Reiss

Tech Heightens the Adventure and Reduces the Stress 

Out on the road, some features ease the stress of driving and, at the same time, amplify the feeling of adventure. The panoramic sunroof is definitely one: feeling the wind in your hair and seeing the sky above makes every drive feel like a vacation. 

The driver’s information screen is clear and easy to see, giving you key details (like your speed) when driving in unfamiliar places or on the highway where sometimes you have to make many quick decisions. I really liked the parking sensors that kept me from *denting the pretty* when pulling into a parking spot. 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto fast-track your trip with saved directions and quick access to text messages, playlists, and podcasts.

The New Front Grille Is Smaller But Still Nods To The Classic 7-Slot Grille

The new front grille is smaller but still resembles the classic 7-slot grille. Photo: Cameron Reiss

Hello, Comfy Seats

Hopping into the Jeep Compass, you sink into seats that are comfortable for everyone— for 5’1” me and my 6’2” boyfriend. The front seat has nearly 42” of legroom, and the rear seats have just over 38” of legroom. The headroom was good, so the cabin felt comfortable and airy. 

Our model had leather seats, which I prefer. Still, there are nice options at all trim levels, from cloth and leatherette combos in the more affordable models to power-heated seats with leatherette and leather in the higher-end models.

We didn’t try out the heated front seats — Summer, Florida— but they are great to have when you need them, and you can add them to almost any model in the Compass lineup; if they are not standard, they can be added with the purchase of a package. 

A Side View Of The 2023 Jeep Compass

A side view of the 2023 Jeep Compass. Photo: Cameron Reiss

The Jeep Compass is Just the Perfect Size

I found the Compass easy to drive, park, and maneuver in tight parking garages and busy city streets. As a compact SUV, you expect that. What you don’t expect is a lot of interior space, which the Compass also has: in addition to lots of head and leg room, there is 27 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and nearly 60 cubic feet with rear seats folded. That’s a lot of Costco hauling. 

The Rear End Of The Jeep Compass Shows Off Its New Tail Lightsjpeg

The rear end of the Jeep Compass shows off its new tail lights and the (RED) Jeep badge, which is also an Easter Egg. Photo: Cameron Reiss

Two Special Jeep Compass Models are Kind(RED) Spirits

Two models in the Compass lineup are attention-getters: The Trailhawk edition and the (RED) edition. 

Trailhawk is just what you’d expect: off-road outfitted with an extra-capable suspension, tow hooks, and an anti-glare panel on the hood. 

And there is a (RED) edition, resulting from a partnership that started last year and continues for 2023. Jeep partnered with RED.org, the foundation Bono and Bobby Schriver started to fund the fight against AIDS. The (RED) editions of the Compass and the Renegade benefit the organization. 

Partnerships like the one with Jeep help to raise money, so if red is your color, or even if it’s not, you can help save lives by buying a Jeep Compass. How nice is that?

The Climate Control Panel Is Right Below The Air Vents And Below That, A Storage Cubby And Usb-C Ports

The climate control panel is right below the air vents, with a storage cubby and USB-A and C ports. Photo: Cameron Reiss

What The Jeep Compass Costs 

The Jeep Compass may be one of the best values out there right now, with a starting price that is solidly affordable and a top-of-the-line price that is still $10,000 below the average new car sales price. Here’s what you get for the money:

  • Sport includes 4 cylinder turbo engine that generates 200 horsepower and 24 MPG city/32 MPG highway; 4-wheel drive; 10” UConnect touch screen multimedia system; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; manual cloth bucket seats; digital driver information screen; driver assist and safety suite (includes forward collision warning, blind spot monitor, rear cross path detection, active lane keeping, pedestrian and cyclist detection), 17” wheels and Jeep Wave coverage: $28,400
  • Latitude adds premium cloth or leatherette seating, fog lamps, cornering lights, heated side mirrors, and a smart key: $32,890
  • Latitude Lux adds heated leather power front seats, heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, rear park assist, and automatic high beam headlights: $34,390
  • Altitude adds exterior and interior black accents and premium cloth and leatherette seating: $34,785
  • Limited adds 18” wheels, two-tone paint, gloss black roof, remote start, and windshield wiper de-icer: $35,745
  • Trailhawk adds 17” gloss black wheels, black roof, red hood decal, front and rear red tow hooks, off-road suspension, and trail-rated capability: $36,490
  • (RED) adds 19” wheels, Redline body-color roof and side mirrors, (RED) liftgate decal: $38,335
  • High Altitude adds 19” wheels, premium headlights, LED tail lights, panoramic sunroof:  $39,235
  • Packages with features such as wireless phone charging, upgraded floor mats, power liftgate, heated front seats and a 360 degree surround view camera can be added to most models; prices vary
Many Controls Are Found On The Jeep Compass Steering Wheel

Many controls are found on the Jeep Compass steering wheel. Photo: Cameron Reiss

A New Jeep Compass That’s Still a Delight

While some past customers may have complained about the power and transmission, clearly not all did. The Compass is one of Jeep’s top-selling models worldwide, pushing the brand to new popularity. 

For 2023, it’s even more deserved. The new engine and 8-speed transmission made getting up to speed on the highway easy, and it was comfortable once we got cruising. The one-touch windows make getting a bit of wind in your hair easy. And the luxury touches in our test model made us feel pampered. 

And then, there are some nice top-notch standard features: 4-wheel drive, the 10” touch screen, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Even buyers with starter budgets can get those important things in a car that fits their budget and fulfills their daydreams. And that’s the best life. 

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Our (Red) Model Includes An Easter Egg Badge. Photo: Cameron Reiss

Our (RED) model includes an Easter Egg badge. Photo: Cameron Reiss

A full time tech executive and part time writer, Cameron is a graduate of the University of Alabama. A... More about Cameron Reiss