Jeep Compass review
Stylish, comfortable and more usable off-road than the average crossover, the Jeep Compass has plenty to offer
The Fiat-sourced engines are reasonably efficient but the diesels are a little harsh, and the automatic gearbox option seems more set up for off-road use than sporty road driving. That’s probably just as well as the Compass chassis is geared more for comfort than driving thrills.
With decent practicality and high equipment levels, the Compass is an effective and fun family crossover, but it lacks some of the finesse of its top European rivals.
After a brief hiatus, the second-generation Jeep Compass went on sale in dealers in late 2017, replacing the original model which was dropped in 2015. The good thing about this break is that it gave time for the old Compass to fade from memory before the new one arrived, because the difference between the two is night and day.
While both cars are crossovers, the latest Compass is a far more attractive and capable proposition than its predecessor. Like many evolutions in the class, the latest Compass has a look that embraces its off-road side, and the traditional Jeep seven-bar grille and squared-off wheelarches give it a look like a shrunken Grand Cherokee.
The launch of the Compass means the lower end of the Jeep range has a fair bit of overlap, because it slots between the smaller Renegade and marginally larger Cherokee. Prices range from around £23,500 to just over £37,000, (the Renegade is around £19,500 to £31,000, while the Cherokee is £33k to around £43k), and this puts the Compass in the same ballpark as the VW Tiguan and larger Skoda Kodiaq.
That means it's a bit pricey when compared to some rivals, such as the Peugeot 3008 and Vauxhall Grandland X, but puts it on a par with cars like the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V. Jeep is trying to pitch itself as a prestige brand, though, so you could consider the Compass as a less expensive alternative to cars such as the Volvo XC40, Jaguar E-Pace and BMW X2.
Under the skin, the Jeep Compass shares much with the Fiat 500X, and therefore the Renegade, too. It has a longer wheelbase than the Jeep, though, so it has more space inside, but engines and gearboxes are similar. Diesel engines comprise a 1.6 Multijet rated at 118hp, and a 2.0 Multijet with 138hp or 168hp. If you want petrol power, there's a 1.4 MultiAir four-cylinder turbo in 138hp or 168hp forms.
Front-wheel drive and a six-speed gearbox is fitted as standard to the 118hp diesel and 138hp petrol. If you want four-wheel drive, the 138hp diesel gets it, while the 168hp petrol and diesel engines come with 4WD and Jeep's nine-speed automatic.
Not all engines are offered in all trims, with the more powerful motors only offered on top-spec cars. Trims comprise Sport, Longitude, Limited and Limited Plus, while the Trailhawk is a special off-road edition of the Compass that only comes as a 168hp diesel 4WD with auto box, although it's one of the more expensive models in the range.
While prices are high, standard kit is good. Go for a top-spec Limited and all the goodies are included, including heated leather seats, LED headlights, a Beats audio system, navigation, park assist with rear camera and keyless entry and starting.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingStylish, comfortable and more usable off-road than the average crossover, the Jeep Compass has plenty to offer
- 2Engines, performance and driveTerrific off-road, especially in Trailhawk spec, but the Compass loses ground to rivals on tarmac
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsLatest Jeep models are pretty efficient, although the off-road capability exerts a price
- 4Interior, design and technologyCrisp exterior style has showroom appeal, but the Compass is a little dreary inside
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Jeep Compass is spacious and roomy, in spite of its sporty roofline
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe Compass has excellent safety scores, and much of its tech is tried and tested