Good performance, sensible economy, well equipped, practical, tough looks
Poor quality interior trim, dull handling, noisy diesels, steering wheel doesn’t adjust for reach, disappointing crash test results
The Jeep Compass is aimed at those who want the extra practicality and capability of a four-wheel drive without the running costs and scale of a large off roader.
The original model was never successful in the UK, with its odd styling and cheap feel. The new version, however, apes the look of the more aggressively styled Grand Cherokee and features an improved interior and better range of engines.
The best of the bunch is the Mercedes-Benz-sourced 2.2-litre diesel which provides plenty of performance with sensible economy, although it is a little agricultural. The interior still features lots of dubious-quality materials but the Compass is a smart, practical and comfortable soft-roader that has a little more character and charm than some of the competition.
It’s capable of averaging 46mpg, and is 20cm narrower than a Ford Focus, making it a potential candidate for those who want something different to a conventional hatchback. It should suit people who are looking for practicality and some off-road capability in a ‘compact’ size.
Stick with the manual gearbox in the Jeep Compass and you’ll be rewarded with good economy for an SUV whether you choose the petrol or the diesel engine. In the petrol, average fuel economy of 37.2mpg is good for a petrol-powered SUV, while the diesel’s 46.3mpg makes it the more likely buy for most customers. The diesel is further enhanced by a six-speed manual gearbox over the petrol’s five-speeder, but we don’t rate the CVT (continuously variable transmission) due to its sluggish performance and mediocre economy. It’s just a shame none of the Compass range ducks under the 160g/km carbon dioxide emissions mark to be more appealing to company buyers.
Poor quality, reasonable handling
The Jeep Compass is undoubtedly rugged enough to live up to the heritage of the company when it comes to crossing rough terrain. However, like other Jeeps that have gone before it, the Compass doesn’t have the cabin quality of its European and Japanese rivals. The dash is a large expanse of plain plastic and the fit and finish of the centre console where it meets the dash is not as neat and regular as it might be. Add in the Compass’ lacklustre approach to corners and coping with bumpy roads and it’s just not a very exciting prospect for anyone who enjoys driving or places it towards the top of their priority list. For more read the full Jeep Compass review that follows.