What's the used Jeep Compass like?
The Jeep Compass was the brand’s answer to the growing popularity of the smaller, more manageable SUV. Jeep’s first attempt ran between 2007-2009, but it wasn’t until a heavily revised version was offered in the UK from 2011-2014 that Jeep had a car that was heading in the right direction.
The reason why the Compass was a break from the Jeep norm is that it was available with either front-wheel drive, or active four-wheel drive. Instead of a permanent system that drives all four wheels all of the time, the rear two are only engaged when the car’s computer detects that the front wheels are beginning to lose traction. This means that, even when equipped with four-wheel drive, the Compass is, for the most part, a front-wheel drive Jeep. No wonder the purists were worried.
In this vehicle’s home country of America, it was designed and built to sell for little more than £10,000. This does become very obvious when you step inside an early Jeep Compass; it’s a sea of cheap, hard plastics. This was altered after the 2011 refresh, where the upper parts of the dashboard and door cards got soft-touch plastics to make it look smarter inside.
To its credit, the Compass is very spacious. Head and leg room are all generous, with boot space aplenty and rear seats that fold flat to aid loading longer items. There are some neat touches, too, like the wipe-clean boot floor and a rechargeable torch.
Powering the Compass in petrol form is either a 154bhp 2.0-litre or 168bhp 2.4-litre. The larger engine is available with an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT), though be warned: despite having more power, the 2.4 never feels fast, especially with that CVT transmission.
If you want a diesel, you have a choice of a 138bhp 2.0-litre Volkswagen sourced unit, or a 161bhp 2.2-litre from Mercedes. Both diesels are endowed with much more pulling ability compared with the petrol and are more economical as well, though the 2.2 is quite noisy.
To drive, the Compass handles in quite a tidy fashion; with body movements that are kept in check well and steering that is precise and nicely weighted. The ride can be rather jittery, even though this is the first Jeep to offer all-round independent suspension. Mechanical refinement isn’t great either, as you get the occasional tremor through the steering column.
While it does have its flaws, the Jeep Compass is an accessible way into Jeep ownership and it brings with it some of the off-road know-how that the company is famed for. Tempted? Read on to find out everything else you need to know.