Jeep, Jeepy Jeep Jeepster… Jeep! Its nice to be able to say the famous brand name to describe a test car. So many people wrongly use the word jeep to describe any SUV – a fact that used to seriously annoy Jeep Ireland – people got phone calls! After some very lean years in Ireland where the brand seemed to disappear off the face of the Earth, only a slight exaggeration, the new Compass is turning heads – especially as it now gets electrified. The Jeep Compass sits above the Jeep Renegade and slap bang in the most competitive compact family SUV market.
The revised Compass’s styling is spot-on for an SUV. Its Jeep dna is visible with its seven-slot grille and squared off wheel arches. These design elements have been copied, sorry, reinterpreted by many rivals but to those familiar with the iconic brand can see the latest Compass points to the fact it is a true Jeep. Jeep is now part of the enormous Stellantis Group and as such gets access to many shared parts and components. Thankfully you will still find quirky Jeep-like bits and pieces about the place.
Inside the cabin is quite airy with a good amount of space for the car’s footprint. Seating is comfy and visibility good too. Sadly the dash, and in particular the relatively tiny ‘UConnect’ centre touch screen already looks out of date. That said lots of new technology and connectivity is stuffed in to the Compass, about average for its class.
A 1.3 litre turbocharged petrol engine is a mainstay in the entry level manual front wheel drive Compass. A FWD 1.5 litre MHEV (mild hybrid) pushes out the same 130hp (starting from €39,995 also). The range topping powertrain is an all wheel drive (eAWD) PHEV with an 11.4kWh rechargeable battery. Jeep Compass pricing rises to over €50,775 for the ‘Upland S’ 240hp eAWD plug in hybrid. Compass grades are refreshingly ‘Murican’ with Night Eagle (isn’t that a gun?!?!), Limited (in all my years I still can’t get used to limited meaning anything other than limited but in ‘Murican’ it means high grade) and finally Upland and Upland S top the range. The 4XE claims an up to 240hp combined power output. The spring from 0-100km/h takes 7.4 seconds. Jeeps says up to 50km is possible in EV-only mode from a full battery. Charging time is 240minutes/four hours. Our test car cost roughly €55,000 and had the kitchen sink thrown at it so every option fitted.
On the road our test car had adequate power and was quite easy to use. The steering compared to rivals in its class is very light and in reality this makes day to day use in an urban setting effortless. More enthusiastic drivers will find the steering utterly devoid of feel and feedback. The Compass is not a sporty SV, but its can hustle along nicely when needed. The Compass has an all wheel drive system that while electronic should perform well off road – we didn’t get to try it much. Jeep says: “The Selec-Terrain® traction management system is designed to optimise the four-wheel-driving for unsurpassed capability on any terrain. It electronically coordinates and optimises up to 12 systems providing enhanced vehicle control.” The car features short overhangs and there is even a Trailhawk version (a much-loved Jeep grade) that has a raised ride height for nearly proper off-roading. If fuel costs keep rising maybe a direct route overland could be more economical than the roads!!!
The charm of the Jeep Compass – did I say it was a Jeep Jeep?? Is that it is not any old SUV/Jeep but the real deal – (cough… it has loads of Stellantis bits that are shared with lots of other brands too). Okay the car has next to nothing to do with the US and is clearly pitched at Europeans but it appeals as an independent thinkers choice. Despite its quirks and thirst for fuel – you have to keep the PHEV’s battery topped up if you want to attain impressive fuel consumption – Jeep claims as little as 1.9L/100km. The Jeep Compass is an alternative to the mainstream brands, by no means a better choice, just a different one. Is it a class leading SUV? No, but its a Jeep!