Fans of petrol power can have a front-wheel drive 2.0-litre car with a manual gearbox, or a four-wheel drive 2.4 with a Continuously Variable Transmission. However, the four-wheel drive 2.1-litre diesel (which is badged as a 2.2) makes most sense. It feels flat below 1400rpm, but pretty strong thereafter.
The four-wheel drive diesel is rated to tow a whopping 2000kg on a braked trailer, while 20 degree approach and departure angles should help out in the rough. Unfortunately, the Compass fails to impress on-road. It leans heavily in bends and has inconsistent steering. The ride is rather knobbly, too.
This is another area where the Compass falls well short of the best SUVs. Its diesel engine always sounds gruff, but it gets particularly raucous when you work it hard. You also feel vibrations through the clutch pedal, while road noise intrudes over coarse surfaces and wind noise joins in at motorway speeds.
The Compass is priced to undercut rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan. However, it falls a short of their fuel consumption and CO2 figures. Jeeps tend to be expensive to service, and resale values are comparatively weak.
The areas where you might rest your elbows are padded. Unfortunately, the rest of the cabin is made from hard, unappealing plastics, and the switchgear doesn’t feel particularly classy. Jeep also has a poor record in our reliability surveys.
Every Compass has six airbags, stability control, and a system that can brake individual wheels to stop the car rolling over. What’s more, active front head restraints are fitted to minimise whiplash injuries in a rear-end shunt. Unfortunately, though, the car scored a disappointing two stars in Euro NCAP crash tests. An engine immobiliser and an alarm make life tricky for thieves.
The Compass offers the elevated driving position that 4x4 buyers love, but over-the-shoulder vision is limited by the thick rear pillars. Some people will struggle to get comfortable, because the steering wheel adjusts for height only. The air-con controls are a doddle, but the optional touch-screen infotainment system can be hard to use on the move.
There’s plenty of room for four in the cabin, but Jeep has mounted cupholders on the bulky central tunnel, so a central rear passenger has to sit with their legs splayed. The boot could also be better because it’s very shallow. However, the rear seats fold down pretty much flat, and there are lots of handy storage cubbies dotted around the driver.
Entry-level Sport-spec cars come with air-conditioning, alloy wheels, front and rear electric windows, cruise control and an MP3 socket. The Sport+ spec adds a USB socket, climate control and Bluetooth connectivity. Limited cars also get leather upholstery, heated front seats, part-electric driver’s seat adjustment and a six-disc CD autochanger.
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