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Does Jeep’s Compass Points To A Bright Future?
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
The new Jeep Compass must do battle in the increasingly crowded family SUV class. In order to see whether it was up to the challenge, I requested that Jeep set their Compass northbound...

The range starts with front-wheel drive, six speed manual variants priced from £23,040 on the road. Two diesel engines are available, in 1.6 and 2.0-litre form (the latter with either 140 or 170hp power outputs).

A 1.4-litre Multi-Air petrol engine is also on offer in either 140 or 170hp configurations.

With Jeep’s legendary off-road heritage, 4x4 versions are of course available and living rurally it made most sense to request a go-anywhere version.

UK buyers can choose from four trim levels, starting with Sport. In this guise you get alloy wheels, cruise control, leather steering wheel and air conditioning.

Longitude versions add larger 17-inch alloy wheels, climate control, keyless entry and most importantly a large touchscreen controlling the infotainment features which include Apple Car Play.

Limited models (as tested) gain 18-inch alloy wheels, heated leather seats, rain-sensing wipers and blind spot detections.

Topping out the comprehensive range are the Trailhawk editions, designed for regular off-road use. Some cosmetic changes are included, but of more significance is a hill-descent facility for better control when the going gets tough.

As a nod to the ever increasing shift away from diesel power, my test car came equipped with the 1.4-litre MultiAir petrol engine, churning out a reasonable 170hp. Mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox, on paper this seemed like a good combination.

However, even driven solo, the Compass test car lacked the oomph to make everyday driving a pleasure. Peak power is available at a heady 5,500 rpm and to make reasonable progress, plenty of revs are required. It’s not an especially sonorous engine either...

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The gearbox changes smoothly, but no paddles are fitted to the steering wheel which feels like an omission.

Inevitably, economy does suffer if the Compass is driven with gusto and I recorded just over 30mpg, somewhat shy of the 40.9mpg official combined figure.

I ventured off-road down some favourite tracks and the Compass had plenty of traction for easy progress. Bespoke ‘Mud’ and ‘Sand settings can be accessed by a console dial, or when left in ‘Auto’ the car will shuffle power between the axles when it senses some slippage.

The lack of hill-descent control would have me choose a ‘Trailhawk’ version if I regularly travelled off-road, that extra control being essential in extremis.

I suspect a diesel-powered car would have felt more at home too, as a diesel’s low-down urge is useful when trickling along a hidden byway.

Out on the open road, the Compass’s soft suspension irons out most road imperfections but does allow a fair bit of body roll through corners. Safe and secure is the order of the day, as is generally the case with this type of vehicle.

The interior is a comfortable place in which to travel and it’s spacious too. Four large adults will have plenty of room to spread out, with up to 438 litres of boot space for luggage.

Interior quality is good too, with plenty of soft-touch materials in place.

So should you add a Compass to your new car shopping list? If you require a capable 4x4 for when the going gets tough, then the Jeep makes sense. I would suggest diesel power too and you will be well equipped for adverse weather and off-road excursions.

However, if you don’t ever stray off the tarmac, there are front-wheel drive rivals available that offer a better all-round package, some for considerably less money too.

Fast Facts

Jeep Compass Limited 4x4
Price £32,610 (as tested)
1.4-litre MultiAir petrol engine (170hp)
Nine-speed automatic geabox
0 to 62mph in 9.5 seconds
Combined economy 40.9mpg

Does Jeep’s Compass Points To A Bright Future?, 25th June 2018, 18:42 PM