A manual SUV is a tough find. I love my manual Compass.
Something sounds wrong with yours. Sales and service are different and even if you had a bad sales experience don't let that put you off for service.
Whatever is wrong is affecting your fuel economy.
I agree that the engine is underpowered for your application (towing a light trailer). Did you look at the Wrangler or Gladiator? Much higher price point but v6 and manual available there. I suspect most people use their Compasses like me, driving to work and running errands around town. I have a car seat for my 3 year old and the power output is more than adequate.
Practically speaking, the Compass and the shorter platform mate the Renegade used existing powertrians.
Going back, it started in 2012 with the Dart. Fiat and Chrysler merged and one of the things the new FCA did to please Obama and get the deal done was to bring out a 40mpg car.
The 1.4 Turbo and the 6 speed manual got quite close at 38 or 39 mpg highway. The aero version came out afterwards got 41 mpg highway.
The 6 speed dual clutch automatics had production issues and early availability of the dart was mostly manuals.
Then came the Dart GT with the the 2.4L 4 cylinder.
The Dart platform was expanded to create the Chrysler 200. The Chrysler 200 had the 2.4 as the base engine and a Chrysler V6 as an optional upgrade. A traditional 4 speed auto was offered with the 2.4 given the issues with the 6 speed dual clutch auto. Unfortunately no manual was offered.
The Cherokee came next and was built on the 200 platform and took the 200's 2.4L engine and the v6. FCA was smart to ditch the 6 speed dual clutch automatic and replace it with a 9 speed traditional automatic. The 200 got the same 9 speed. Sadly no manual option on the Cherokee and likely a mix of demand and the fact the 200 didn't have a manual.
The Renegade came next in 2015 on a Fiat platform. The darts 1.4 with a 6 speed manual was standard. The 2.4 was optional. The 2019 refresh brought in a new 1.3 with no manual option.
The 2nd gen compass came late in the 2017 model year and extended the Renegade. The same 2.4 that was in the dart GT, 200, Cherokee, and Renegade made it into the Compass. The 6 speed manual is available (yeah!) In both fwd and awd platforms. The 6 speed automatic in fwd guise is well reviewed and not the problematic dual clutch. The 9 speed 4x4 auto is also used elsewhere.
The Compass is a parts bin platform car, but a stylish one available with a manual.