The all-new Jeep® Compass is the car with which Jeep hope to change people’s perceptions of the brand, moving them away from a utilitarian and practical output and arriving into the premium SUV market. And first impressions are indeed excellent. Fortunately Jeep® have kept their signature seven slot front grille and traditional trapezoidal wheel arches for the unmistakable look with which they are to be forever associated. And it really works, the tradition Jeep® features mentioned previously mixing well with the more ‘modern’ aspects of design that we’ve come to expect from an SUV. A high waistline, extensive wheel arches, beautifully sculptured panels, privacy glass, 19″ diamond cut alloy wheels, halogen projector headlamps, LED lighting and rear lights. There can be no doubt at all as to whether this is a good looking vehicle. It is.
Jeep® have made sure that the interior of the Compass matches the rugged feeling that the exterior radiates to all and sundry, combining hard wearing practical touches with elements of luxury. After all, you buy a Jeep® Compass because it can take you to the edge of the world and back and with this redesigned and refreshed edition, you can expect to complete such an undertaking in complete comfort.
Beautifully sculptured and heated leather seats hold you comfortably in place offering more than enough adjustment for even the fussiest of driver, as does the impressively ‘chunky’ leather trimmed (and heated) steering wheel. And then there’s your other contact points with the interior whereby each different surface offers up a refreshing feeling of quality and sturdiness that reassures as to the longevity on offer. Indeed, the use of hard plastics mixed with luxurious leather would certainly suggest to the uninitiated how seriously Jeep want you to take the Compass and it’s go anywhere abilities.
And you should.
Not only is the cabin a rugged, hardwearing and luxurious place to spend your time but Jeep® have seen fit to throw all of their technical expertise at this interior. The interactive Uconnect system comes with an integrated 8.4″ HD touch screen allowing you to connect up your smartphone which, through voice or screen allows full access to everything from your maps to messages through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
There’s also Tom Tom Live which brings you real-time information on your journey which, when working alongside the SAT NAV, helps to inform the driver exactly what’s going on at all points of your journey. But my favourite? After the glorious panoramic roof, it has to be the 506 watt Beats premium audio system with it’s 9 speakers and subwoofer as it’s power is something else and music sounds amazing when streamed through it. Fantastic and further evidence as to the ability of the Compass to cosset it’s driver and passenger over distances near and far.
With this being a Jeep® you expect a certain amount of off-road capability built in, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to note that the Compass is full to brimming with a go anywhere attitude. In a manner befitting this sleek and modern SUV the Compass has already been thoroughly tested before being released onto an expectant public with it’s traction, manoeuvrability, articulation, water fording and ground clearance focused on during development. And then there’s front and rear bumpers that have been especially designed to improve approach and departure angles which combine with an increased ride height and skid plates to provide additional protection when attempting to tame the rough stuff. Impressive.
The reality is though, despite the excellent Selec-TerrainTM function allowing you to set the car up to decide the best drive option for any given scenario or specifically for snow, mud or sand, the vast majority of Jeep® Compass will spend as much time off road as I have driving an F1 car around Monaco, i.e. absolutely none.
But that matters not one jot as the Compass performs very, very well when driven on the smooth stuff. A 170 bhp, 2.0 litre MultiJet II engine, nine-speed automatic transmission and 4X4 Jeep® Active Drive Low system allow the Compass to showcase everything that it’s good at in full glare of everyone else on the road. 280 ft/lb torque at just 1750 rpm should give you an idea as to how much grunt is put down onto the road through the responsive automatic gearbox and means that this SUV is easy to shift down the road whilst making rather excellent progress at exactly the same time.
The engine plays it’s part in creating an environment that allows for maximum comfort on longer journeys when you can set the simple to use adaptive cruise control as you wish and allow the Compass to do the hard work for you as the miles inexorably roll on by. Typical SUV qualities of a raised driving position and subsequent improved lines of site also help when it comes to enjoying the Jeep® on a longer journey criss crossing this green and pleasant land of ours. And then there’s the impressive driving aids designed, rather helpfully, to make everything that little bit less stressful when out and about. The ever useful blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning plus and parallel lane departure warning plus hidden somewhere under the SUV’s skin help keep you relaxed and calm removing some of the anxiety some may feel when on unfamiliar roads or in situations where a little electronic assistance is more than welcome.
Shorter trips along a twisting backroad are never going to be comparable with an Abarth or Fiat Spider but there’s still fun to be had. Set the Compass to North, South, East or West, allow the superior ride quality to flatten any imperfections in the blacktop and let the Jeep®’s clever Selec-TerrainTM, in auto mode, deliver grip, torque and power exactly where and when you need it.
Decently weighted steering means that the Compass will always go where you point it with little or no fuss meaning you can just get on with enjoying the journey, perhaps even putting off arriving at your destination due not wishing to stop.
Add in practical touches such as a combined mpg of up to 36.2, CO2 of 166 g/km and a boot offering up 438 L of packing space and you’ve got a thoroughly modern looking SUV that can transport you and your family up hill and down dale in comfort and style. With the Compass Limited giving you all of that Jeep® tradition, style and off-road know-how, starting at £36,545 it’s well worth considering.
Where will you go?