Caroline drives the new Jeep Compass.
Jeep has long been the maker of tough off-road vehicles and SUVs. As SUV sales continue to grow, you could say that there has never been a better time to market a Jeep. The brand is starting to get its house in order again with the launch of some market-friendly products like 2015’s compact Jeep Renegade and the new Jeep Compass.
Priced from €27,995, the new Jeep Compass goes squarely up against the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Opel Grandland X and Kia Sportage. These soft-roaders are hot property these days but on looks alone the Jeep Compass holds a lot of promise. The Compass is an ideal product for this market mixing modern kerb appeal with classic Jeep styling cues like the famous seven-bar grille and squared-off wheel arches.
Jeep’s parent company is Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and the Compass is built in Europe. Slip inside and it’s clear that while Jeep is still thought of as a very American brand, the new Compass is a very European SUV. The interior is lacking the character you might expect of a Jeep, but the build quality is good and there are soft touch materials to add aesthetic appeal. The Uconnect infotainment system is mounted in a trapezoidal shaped surround, a characteristic Jeep design cue, and there are plenty of other convenience features on board too.
On a practical note, the Compass has a very roomy cabin, particularly in the rear, and families will love the generous accommodation for three. My test car had a spare wheel that eats into the boot space a bit, though with a tyre repair kit, it’s a more competitive 432 litres.
In Ireland there are three trim levels for the new Jeep Compass: Sport, Longitude and Limited. Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED tail lights, leather steering wheel with audio controls, air conditioning, cruise control, forward collision warning and lane departure warning.
Engine options for Ireland include a 1.4-litre MultiAir Turbo petrol engine (140hp), a 1.6-litre MultiJet diesel (120hp) or a 2.0-litre MultiJet diesel with 140bhp or 170hp. A six speed manual comes as standard but there is an auto option. There are 4×4 models available too, though in standard form the Compass is front wheel drive.
My test car was a Jeep Compass 1.6-litre diesel in Limited trim with a list price of €34,695. This high spec model includes 18″ alloys, front fog lamps, leather upholstery, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, heated steering wheel, a 560W BeatsAudio infotainment/navigation system, dual zone air conditioning, reversing camera and parking sensors, power folding exterior mirrors, 8.4″ infotainment/navigation system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless entry/go, blind spot monitoring with rear cross path detection, and parallel and perpendicular park assist.
On the road, the Jeep Compass does well with the 1.6-litre diesel and manual gearbox. The engine never gets too raucous and it has plenty of power and torque, while being efficient also. The steering and gearing all feels cohesive and the car handles confidently for a family SUV of this size. It fits the requirement for being comfortable though I did note some road noise at speed out on larger roads.
The Compass is a great addition to Jeep’s portfolio, allowing the SUV manufacturer to tackle a very lucrative segment with a competitive product. While the Compass lacks some of the character of the smaller Renegade, it makes up for it with a more practical size, extra comfort and refinement.
Competition is fierce in this segment and there are a few major players. But the Jeep Compass feels like a bit more of a novelty with its roots. Welcome back Jeep!
Model tested: Jeep Compass 1.6 Multijet 120hp FWD Limited
Price: €34,695 (Available from €27,995)
Engine: 1.6-litre turbo diesel
0-100km/h: 11 seconds
Top speed: 185km/h
Claimed Economy: 4.4/100km
CO2 emissions: 117g/km
Motor tax: €200 per year