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Up Close With the 2022 Jeep Compass: Charting an Upmarket Course With New Interior, Technology

jeep compass 2021 01 angle  exterior  front  gray jpg 2022 Jeep Compass | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The Jeep Compass compact SUV was last redesigned for 2017, and it’s been refreshed for 2022 with minor exterior styling updates and an overhauled interior with more tech features. We got our first look at the 2022 Compass at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show, where it made its debut. While the changes are significant, especially in the cabin, it’s what Jeep didn’t update that left us wondering. 

Related: More Chicago Auto Show Coverage

The Compass’ new front-end design cues don’t significantly alter the SUV’s appearance, but they do give it a more modern look that’s in line with other Jeep SUVs. The front end’s piano-black trim stood out against the silver paint of the Compass on the show floor, and the seven-slot grille also gets a revised look.

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The bigger changes are inside, where the SUV has an all-new dashboard design with a floating center touchscreen. It’s a dramatic update that gives this compact SUV a premium feel, a smaller-scale take on the dashboards in the new Grand Cherokee L and Wagoneer. The available 10.1-inch touchscreen is within easy reach of the driver, and it has crisp graphics and fast response. The screen is running Jeep’s Uconnect 5 multimedia system, which lets you store up to five user profiles, customize the home screen and pair two phones at once on Bluetooth. It also has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.

The Compass’ new center console has a sleek appearance, but its edges are finished in hard plastic — right where you might want to rest your knee. There’s also no lower storage space in the forward part of the console, a feature we’re increasingly seeing in new vehicles. (Electronic gear selectors often facilitate this, but the Compass’ unit appears mechanical.)

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The exterior dimensions put the Compass on the smaller end of the compact SUV spectrum, but front-seat space is good for the driver and there’s decent space in the backseat for adults. The rear backrest doesn’t recline, though.

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The Compass’ interior changes and newly standard active-safety features, like automatic emergency braking, are welcome updates that increase the SUV’s appeal in a competitive class of compact SUVs. They also come without a big price bump: The 2022 Compass’ base price is up just $500 for 2022 to $26,490 (including a $1,495 destination charge).

Our main complaint with the current Compass, however, has been its sluggish four-cylinder engine and unresponsive nine-speed automatic transmission. Both of those components carry over to the 2022 Compass, so we’ll have to wait and see if our experience is any different when we get a chance to drive it.

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Mike Hanley has more than 20 years of experience reporting on the auto industry. His primary focus is new vehicles, and he's currently a Senior Road Test Editor overseeing expert car reviews and comparison tests. He previously managed Editorial content in the Cars.com Research section. Email Mike Hanley

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