2018 Jeep Compass 1.6 Multijet 120 first drive: Unexceptional Qashqai rival

The term ‘SUV’ covers all manner of vehicular oddities these days, right? From city nippers on stilts, right up to vast, seven-seat behemoths, they’re all sheltering beneath the increasingly stretched SUV umbrella.

However, Jeep really does have every right to the SUV term. Only Land Rover can claim a similarly lengthy heritage rooted so deeply in Proper 4x4s, The Army, and other ruggedly masculine things.

So, step forward the new Jeep Compass, to bring some hairy-chested Jeep goodness to the VW Tiguan and Nissan Qashqai class.

2018 Jeep Compass
2018 Jeep Compass

First impressions

Jeep's is a compelling brand image, but the 2018 Jeep Compass is arguably less distinctive and burly-looking than the bigger Cherokee and even the smaller, overtly boxy Jeep Renegade.

Better looking, perhaps, but also a touch easier to miss in the muddle of other SUVs on the road – even with that unmistakable slatted chrome grille dominating its face. 

In fact, while you can get the Compass with a comprehensive four-wheel drive system featuring modes for mud, sand, snow and even rocks (it is for Real Men who drive over rocks for fun, ya know), this is a car that’s fairly evidently designed to look good and to make life easy on the school run and in traffic jams on the M4. Which is good, because that’s where it’s going to be used. Hence the reason that the cheaper front-wheel drive like the 1.6 diesel tested here are expected to account for the bulk of sales. 

2018 Jeep Compass

The interior is a significant step up for Jeep, particularly the new 8....