By Veeno Dewan 

The Jeep Compass is a compact SUV  slotting in  below the Jeep Cherokee and the Jeep Renegade. This 2023 version has been updated with a new engine and transmission along with revised engine start-stop system. The Compass also arrives with the upgraded  Jeep Active Drive four-wheel-drive system as standard across the line.

Engine wise, the previous  2.4-litre four-cylinder Tigershark unit is gone and is replaced by a more efficient direct-injection 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo unit. There is an extra 23 more horsepower at 200 hp, and an extra 49 pound-feet of torque at 221 lb-ft for better performance.

After a  2022 refresh, the Compass has no major changes apart from the new engine and transmission and the inclusion of standard All Wheel Drive. In Canada, pricing for the Compass range starts at $35,495. The mid-grade Altitude model costs $41,895, plus extra cost options if needed. There is also the off-road focused Trailhawk version and the  top-of-the-line Limited is at $43,395. Freight and PDI is $2,095 plus taxes. Options include  leather upholstery, a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster, and driver-assist technologies, such as adaptive cruise control, available speed limit traffic sign recognition and lots more.

The Jeep Compass interior seats four adults and has an attractive design with good materials throughout. Highlights include a   new optional 10.1-inch high-definition touchscreen in the front dash. There is also the latest generation version of the Uconnect 5 infotainment system which also offers multiple programmable settings for features such as climate, seat position  warmers, mirror position, music preferences and more. Apple CarPlay and Android  is also included. The seats are comfortable, but there is not a surplus of space in the front and rear cabin,. In the rear, tall passengers will lack headroom. Cargo space is good however at around 27.2 cubic feet with the rear seats up or nearly 60 cubic feet when folded down. Safety is also good with as standard: forward collision warning with active braking, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors and optional higher end safety features depending on trim level.

On the road, the 2023 Jeep Compass’ new turbocharged engine produces  200 horsepower and is a significant improvement, probably the best in the compact SUV segment   with strong linear acceleration and healthy torque curve. Meanwhile the  new eight-speed automatic transmission has  more tractable and usefully spaced gear ratios  for better acceleration. The engine runs smooth and there was no overly detectable lag from the turbo unit when accelerating hard.

I have to reiterate this new engine is much needed improvement in this Jeep with its smooth, confident, and unstressed feel. It is the   most powerful powertrain in the category. Overall handling is good with little torque steer and a composed agile feel. The cabin is also noticeably quiet   and on-road driving is a more relaxed affair than previous Compass generations. Brakes are well modulated and overall inspire confidence.

Jeeps are also all about off-roading and the Jeep Active Drive system offers All-Wheel Drive ability with a 20:1 crawl ratio and a  low range 4×4 ability. Its more than enough capable for light and medium trails and snowy tracks, Other more off-road focused Compass versions such as the Jeep Trailhawk  4×4 model in the lineup arrive with the Jeep Selec-Terrain system that offers Snow, Sand and Mud modes and a host of special off-road equipment. If you do need a more capable all terrain Jeep Compass, the Trailhawk version gets an additional Rock mode and specialized 4×4 axles, wheels, tires, and  suspension goodies that make it more of a serious proposition for rock bashers.

Official fuel economy ratings is  improved by seven per cent compared to the old Tigershark engined unit. 9.9L/100 km (city), 7.4 L/100 km (highway) and 8.8 L/100 km (combined).

Plus, features are many, the new more powerful engine offers  much better performance and really elevates the Compass from the previous generation. There is better ride and quieter   cabin. The   Uconnect 5 infotainment is a stand out and the Trailhawk model offers true Off-road ability. Cons include  tighter room in the back, along with reduced headroom in the rear and no hybrid EV option as yet.

To sum up, the Compass is attractive, easy-to-drive, roomy enough for four, and  has decent cargo capacity for its size. The Trailhawk model is the one to get as its more off-road worthy and has a  ton of cool features. The new turbo engine is a most impressive unit and makes the  Compass a more enjoyable exciting driver. Highly recommended for active lifestyle singles, couples  and outdoorsy families looking for fun..

2023 Jeep Compass Turbo priced from:  $38,995, plus options, and taxes,

More info at www.jeep.ca