In April, Jeep boss Jim Morrison said the Compass — just above the Renegade in the brand hierarchy — would put something new under the hood before the year is out. At long last, the new powertrain is here. Out goes the 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder Tigershark with 177 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque, in comes a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the Global Medium Engine family making 200 hp and 221 lb-ft.
This is a detuned version of the engine going into the Dodge Hornet, also intended for the Alfa Romeo Tonale but recently yanked. Instead of shifting through the old nine-speed automatic, the new mill sends power through a new eight-speed auto. What’s more, it sends power to all four wheels in all trims; the front-wheel-drive options that were available on the Sport, Latitude, and Altitude hit the exit with the Tigershark. The fully automatic Jeep Active Drive system comes standard on four of five trims, with Jeep Active Low the default choice for the Compass Trailhawk. When the Trail Rated model is put into Low gear, the transmission’s 4.1:1 first gear and 4.398 final drive combine to deliver a 20:1 crawl ratio.
The modern output numbers, hydraulic-filled engine mounts, upgraded transmission, larger rear stabilizer, and retuned electric power steering should be a boon for dynamics and perceived quality, and it’s about time. After getting new looks and tech for the 2022 model year, the 2023 Compass might not be the real deal just yet, but it will be much closer to it.
Elsewhere on the list of updates are new 17-inch wheels for the Sport and Latitude trims, the Trailhawk fits a new painted 17-inch gloss black wheel, and the special edition (RED) trim adds available exterior colors. For occupants, new safety kit among the 80 standard and optional safety features are drowsy driver detection, rear seat reminder, and a vehicle alarm.
The 2023 Compass can be ordered now, but won’t reach showrooms until Q1 of next year. Assuming the $1,595 destination charge holds steady, pricing is up buy anywhere from $605 to $1,210 on an apples-to-apples basis, a fair deal considering the much improved internals. The bar to entry is up by $2,710, though, because the less expensive front-drivers are no more. MSRPs for the coming Compass lineup along with price changes from the 2022 versions are:
- Sport: $29,995 ($1,210)
- Latitude: $32,295 ($925)
- Latitude Lux: $33,695 ($605)
- Limited: $35,495 ($605)
- Trailhawk: $35,745 ($740)
- High Altitude: $40,340 ($965)