Pros: Off-roading ability, distinctive style, well-equipped
Cons: Ride quality, engine refinement, rare sight
Jeep has been enjoying a return to form of late, which is evident in the fleet of new models that it has launched in recent times, including the all-new Compass. While the original Jeep Compass was rather unpopular, this new second generation is much more impressive on paper. With chunky styling, a competitive entry price point and off-roading aptitude, it offers somethings different to the rest of the Compact SUV Class. The Compass goes up against a stream of established models including the Volkswagen Tiguan, Kia Sportage and Ford Kuga amongst others. We spent a week with it on Irish roads recently to see what it's like to live with.
What is it like?
The Compass is larger in stature than Jeep’s entry model, the Renegade. It looks rugged from the outside with a distinctive seven slot front grille, slimline roof rails, large bumpers and chrome details. In entry level ‘Sport’ specification, the Compass is equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED rear lights and body coloured electric and heated exterior mirrors. This range-topping ‘Limited’ model is kitted out with large 18-inch alloy wheels, Halogen headlights, chrome roof rails, privacy glass and various other styling upgrades.
Stepping inside, the Compass is well-appointed with enough room for four tall adults and a commanding view of the road from the driver's seat. The front seats are supportive with lots of adjustment, and the centre console boasts Jeep’s Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen display on higher specification models. The infotainment system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless smartphone connectivity and it’s very responsive to use. Space in the rear seats is plentiful, though taller adults are left wanting for more leg room, while there are USB points for charging devices.
The steering wheel is equipped with a plethora of controls on the front and back of the wheel. Our high specification Limited specification test car even has an upgraded BeatsAudio eight speaker sound system which is a must-have for Spotify lovers. General fit and finish throughout the cabin is good with solid plastics, although it isn’t as polished as some of its German-built rivals. There are plenty of areas to stow away items throughout the cabin with a pair of coffee cup holders, large door bins and 438 litres of room in the boot, though boot space is less than certain rivals.
The Compass is available with a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine, or 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesel units. We drove the 1.6-litre MJET diesel, which produces 120 horsepower via a six-speed manual box and front wheel drive powertrain. 0-100km/h takes around 11 seconds and it cruises well at motorway speeds, although it lacks refinement under acceleration. The 1.6-litre Compass offers good running costs, with a low annual motor tax bill of €200 and we achieved circa 5.3l/100km in fuel economy during our test. Most models are equipped with front wheel drive and a manual gearbox, though the 2.0-litre diesel is available with optional all-wheel-drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Out on the road, the Compass tackles corners with reasonable composure. It isn’t as agile as some of its rivals in terms of handling, but it makes up for this by being competent off-road. Ride quality is good, if a tad firm at lower speeds due to the large 18-inch alloy wheels and firm suspension setup. Four-wheel drive versions include various sand, snow and mud settings which can be selected via controls in the centre console and adjust the traction control and power delivery to suit the terrain.
Prices for the new Jeep Compass start from €27,995 and there are three levels of specification to consider; Sport, Longitude and Limited. The entry Sport is equipped with16-inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, LED tail lights, electric heated mirrors, DAB radio and a suite of safety aids such as Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning and Trailer Sway Control to name a few.
The mid-range Longitude adds 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior surrounds, parking sensors, dual zone climate control, keyless start, electric driver’s seat adjustment and the Uconnect 8.4-inch touch screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The range-topping Limited adds18-inch wheels, leather upholstery, heated and electric seats, a BeatsAudio upgraded sound system, front and rear park distance control and Blind Spot monitoring.
Carzone verdict: 3.5/5
The new Jeep Compass is a refreshing alternative to the SUV norm. It’s practical, well-equipped and competent off road. What’s more, its rugged styling is distinctive in the class. That said, the Compass isn’t as refined inside and on the road as the class leaders, while Jeep is a lesser-known entity in Ireland. That said, the new Compass is likely to prove more popular than before and you can expect to see more on Irish roads in the coming years as a result.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Jeep Compass 1.6 M-JET FWD Limited
Prices from: €27,995
Price as tested: €38,345
Annual Road Tax: €200
Engine: 1,598cc four-cylinder diesel
Top Speed: 185km/h
0-100km/h: 11 seconds
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Body style: SUV
Boot Space: 438 litres