Fleet News

Jeep Compass

Jeep

Review

The new Jeep you see on this page encompasses (sorry!) several firsts for the brand.

Not only is it the first Jeep to be offered in the mini-SUV sector, but it’s also the first car from the brand to return average fuel economy of more than 40mpg.

The Compass is a Jeep in form, but not in function. For a start it’s front-wheel drive for the majority of the time, only switching power to the rear wheels as well when the on-board computer decides that the front wheels are struggling for grip.

And thanks to a Volkswagen-sourced 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, it also returns fuel economy which won’t have green activists turning red with anger (43.5mpg on the combined cycle, according to Jeep).

There’s also fully-independent suspension all round for the first time, replacing the old live axle system of before for a much more comfortable ride.

What this all means is that the Compass is a Jeep for the 21st century – a car with the rugged looks and ground clearance of a traditional 4x4 but with much less of an impact on the environment than its stablemates. It’s also much smaller than any Jeep before – the Compass being more similar to a lower-medium sector car in size.

The Compass range is on sale now with a choice of two engines – the aforementioned 2.0-litre diesel and a 2.4-litre petrol unit allied to either a five-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission. The petrols, both priced at more than £19,000, are an irrelevance and are likely to account for just a handful of sales.

The diesel, costing £17,995, will take up to 80% of sales. Jeep hasn’t set sales targets for the Compass, although it admits that volume “won’t be in the thousands”.

That leaves the diesel Compass as a niche choice, but with standard equipment including leather seats, cruise control and 18-inch alloys it is an appealing prospect for those wanting to be different without having to contend with SUV guilt.

Behind the wheel

Jeep has identified the Honda CR-V as a key rival for the Compass – and while it may not have its on-road ability, the new Jeep makes a decent stab at being a road-biased SUV.

The ride height is lower than a normal SUV and this helps eliminate body roll during cornering.

The suspension keeps things fairly stiff too, with little in the way of wallowing over bumps that afflicts some of the other rivals.

Volkswagen’s diesel engine is smooth enough and the six-speed manual transmission goes about its business with little fuss.

While the interior is fairly uninspiring, being mainly black, it is alleviated by a prominent silver metal-look centre console, and it all feels well screwed together.

Verdict

Jeep has identified the Honda CR-V as a key rival for the Compass – and while it may not have its on-road ability, the new Jeep makes a decent stab at being a road-biased SUV.

The ride height is lower than a normal SUV and this helps eliminate body roll during cornering.

The suspension keeps things fairly stiff too, with little in the way of wallowing over bumps that afflicts some of the other rivals.

Volkswagen’s diesel engine is smooth enough and the six-speed manual transmission goes about its business with little fuss.

While the interior is fairly uninspiring, being mainly black, it is alleviated by a prominent silver metal-look centre console, and it all feels well screwed together.

Fact file

Model: 2.0 CRD
Power (bhp/rpm): 138/4,000
Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 229/1,750
Max speed (mph): 117
0-62mph (secs): 11.0
Fuel consumption (mpg): 43.5
CO2 emissions (g/km): 177
On sale: Now
Price (OTR): £17,995

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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