Jeep returns to the small SUV market – it was much less crowded last time round.

Introduction

The Jeep Compass should, given the company’s impressive SUV heritage, be one of the best offerings in the crossover segment, but it falls short of the mark. Its styling is sure to have plenty of appeal, but its trendy image isn’t enough to make up for an on-road performance that is, at best, average. In a segment that is increasingly competitive with high standards the Compass trails behind strong players like the Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Kuga and Nissan Qashqai when it comes to build quality, finish and drivability. The engines return decent fuel economy figures, if not quite class-leading, but the Compass just doesn’t quite have enough to edge in front our existing favourite crossovers.

Body Style: Crossover Seats: 5                    MRP: £TBC       

         

Did you know? Throughout the Compass there are a number of Jeep 'Easter eggs', which are fun little design touches placed in discreet and unexpected locations around the car.

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Verdict:★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (TBC*)

*score will be updated with official pricing

The Jeep Compass should, given the company’s impressive SUV heritage, be one of the best offerings in the crossover segment, but it falls short of the mark. Its styling is sure to have plenty of appeal, but its trendy image isn’t enough to make up for an on-road performance that is, at best, average. In a segment that is increasingly competitive with high standards the Compass trails behind strong players like the Volkswagen Tiguan, Ford Kuga and Nissan Qashqai when it comes to build quality, finish and drivability. The engines return decent fuel economy figures, if not quite class-leading, but the Compass just doesn’t quite have enough to edge in front our existing favourite crossovers.

Design & Exterior

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Interior & Comfort

★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

Technology & Connectivity

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Performance & Handling

★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

Safety Features

★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

Spec & Trim Levels

★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

Running Costs & Fuel Economy

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Pricing

☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ (TBC)

 

Jeep Compass 2018

We Like

Chunky design

Bright colour choices

Real off-road ability

We Don't Like

Limited boot space

Ride quality

Lack of storage space in cabin

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Design & Exterior:★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Jeep Compass 2018

The Compass follows the convention in its segment with a chunky overall silhouette, but has more curves than Jeep models of old. It more closely resembles a downsized version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee than an upsized Renegade. Compared to the previous model, it has come on a long way, however.

Up front is the company’s signature seven-slot grille, though a closer look reveals that this is all blanked off behind the mesh-look plastic. Aside from the sculpted bonnet the rest of the car is a somewhat homogenised design that sees it blend into the crowded crossover scene.

The Trailhawk version gets an increased ride height and bumpers that are tapered in to enable greater approach and departure angles when off-roading. Other visual cues include additional badging on the wings and an exposed red tow hook at the rear, presumably for you to pull other crossovers out of the mud at the school gates…

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Interior & Comfort:★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (6/10)

Jeep Compass 2018

The interior of the Compass feels rugged and hard wearing, but it isn’t as well-finished as what you would find in the equivalent Volkswagen or Mazda. It does feel solidly put together and although the controls on the centre console are low down, the knobs and buttons are intuitive to use.

A 5-inch touchscreen is standard, but more popular Longitude and Limited models will get a 7-inch and 8.4-inch UConnect touchscreen respectively. The latter includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. In the centre of the instrument cluster is a 3.5- or 7-inch LED display between the dials - depending on the model.

Practicality

The cockpit of the Compass is airy with a good amount of headroom even when the optional panoramic sunroof is fitted. You do sit close to your passenger in the front though. The centre console has space for two cup holders, and there is additional storage netting on the side of the passenger footwell, but the door bins aren’t overly large or easy to reach when the doors are shut. Both the 12-volt socket and USB port in the front are easy to access, but there isn’t much storage for your devices.

When it comes to boot capacity, the Compass lags behind many of its top rivals in the segment, with 438 litres in its standard configuration. This capacity can increase to 1,251 litres by lowering the 60:40 split rear seats (a 40:20:40 option is available). Load height is higher than some, but the aperture is a good size and the boot features an adjustable floor as well as a 12-volt power socket. There is the option of a powered tailgate too.

The driver’s seat is manually adjustable for height and can slide fore and aft; higher grade models will feature electrically adjustable front seats. The multifunction steering wheel can be adjusted for height and reach as you'd expect.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Technology & Connectivity:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Jeep Compass 2018

The entry-level Compass will feature Jeep's five-inch UConnect touchscreen with Bluetooth. A larger seven-inch UConnect screen is likely to be standard on all but the cheapest Sport version. Jeep offers its newest 8.4-inch NAV system as an optional upgrade.

This high-resolution screen features the latest smartphone connectivity with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in addition to providing satellite navigation and voice control. In Limited and Trailhawk models, the NAV system includes the Jeep Skills app, which displays a number of off-road themed items of information.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Performance & Handling:★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

Jeep Compass 2018

The Compass drives and handles in a way that is best described as average. It doesn’t excel in any one particular area, but neither does it perform poorly, though of course the model and engine you choose will have a bearing on your driving experience.

We were less impressed by the ride quality, which, on the optional larger wheels, resulted in a choppy ride at times that was far from smooth. While some rivals may offer slick adaptive dampers, the Compass sticks with passive suspension, consisting of MacPherson front and independent rear suspension across its range, but it is tuned differently according to each model, as is ground clearance.

At speed the Jeep cruises comfortably and with reasonably little road or wind noise. Through faster bends there isn’t lots of body lean, so the Compass feels composed, but we wish there were a more significant amount of feedback from the steering. This criticism is less of an issue around towns and urban environs, where the Jeep feels agile thanks to that lighter steering.

While four-wheel drive is something Jeep has plenty of experience with, this sector is dominated by front-wheel drive, which can be had with 140hp 1.4-litre MultiAir 2 petrol or 120hp 1.6-litre MultiJet II diesel engines. The latter, matched with a manual gearbox, feels very much tuned towards economy more than driving performance. At times it lacks power when you want it and when the engine’s turbocharger comes on song the delivery comes all at once, making smooth driving difficult.

In comparison, the 2.0-litre diesel, which comes in 140- and 170hp guises, is offered with all-wheel drive and the choice of six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic seems to suit the car much better. The nine-speed transmission is smooth even when driven with more vigour and makes good use of the 140hp engine’s 258lb-ft of torque. It also beats the manual transmission in the 0-62mph dash, completing it in 9.9 seconds.

If, and when, you do decide to take the Compass off-road there are several different drive modes to choose from depending on the conditions, all of which are accessible via a simple rotary controller in the centre console.

Recommended engine: 2.0 MultiJet II ATX 4WD

0-62mph

9.9sec

Fuel economy

49.5mpg

Emissions

148g/km

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Safety Features:★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

Jeep Compass 2018

All Compass models feature a host of active and passive safety systems as standard, including ESC with electronic roll mitigation, ABS, Forward Collision Warning-Plus, and LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus.

Other available systems include Blind-Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, ParkView reversing camera with dynamic grid lines that move with the steering, Automated Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control.

The Compass is built using what Jeep calls a ‘safety cage’ construction that uses around 65 percent high-strength steel to improve crash protection. Its interior features six airbags. Jeep has yet to put the Compass through the Euro NCAP test, however.

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Specs and Trim Levels:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Jeep Compass 2018

Colours

In all there are 11 different exterior paint choices for the Compass, starting with standard paint finishes such as Redline Red, Spitfire Orange, Laser Blue Pearl, and Olive Green.

The metallic paint finishes consist of Billet Silver Metallic Clear Coat and Granite Crystal Metallic Clear Coat, while other options include Diamond Black Crystal Pearl Coat, Pearl White Tri-Coat, and Bright White Clear Coat.

The Rhino Clear Coat colour is exclusive to the Limited and Trailhawk models.

Trim Levels

The Compass range continues the familiar Jeep structure of four trim levels that is made up of Sport, Longitude, Limited, and Trailhawk. Sport and Longitude models get 16-inch alloy wheels, while the Limited and Trailhawk models ride on 17-inch wheels as standard.

The Limited's rims can be upgraded to either 18- or 19-inch versions, optionally. LED tail lamps feature on all models, but the exact details of the standard equipment breakdown over the four trim levels has yet to be confirmed, though it is likely that top models like Limited will receive leather upholstery inside.

The Compass Trailhawk gets unique styling by way of restyled front and rear bumpers that are designed with off-roading in mind. They are tapered closer to the car’s body towards the bottom to improve approach and departure angles.

Size and Dimensions

At 4,394 millimetres in length and 1,819mm in width, the Compass has presence while remaining compact. Depending on which model you choose, the car’s ground clearance varies from 18- to 21.6cm.

Length

4,394 mm

Width

1,819 mm

Height

1,470 mm

Max towing weight with brake

From 500kg (1.4 petrol, 1.6 diesel) – 545kg (2.0 diesel manual)

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Running Costs & Fuel Economy:★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Jeep Compass 2018

The most fuel efficient Compass according to Jeep’s official consumption figures is powered by the 1.6-litre MultiJet II diesel engine, and this is the model expected to perform best with business users. That 120hp engine returns 64.2mpg and also has the lowest CO2 emissions in the range of 117g/km, so it costs £160 for VED the year you buy the car, and then £140 per annum after that - assuming the purchase price stays below £40,000, of course. 

Unlike some modern automatic transmissions, the nine-speed unit fitted to the 2.0-litre MultiJet II means higher fuel consumption and emissions compared to the manual alternative. For the more powerful 170hp engine, Jeep only offers the automatic, and all three of these 2.0-litre models fall into a higher VED band, costing £200 in the first year.

Reliability and servicing

All Jeep models come with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty that also includes roadside assistance. While the Compass is a new model it does share many components with other Jeep models, so it should have similar reliability to the rest of the range. Servicing for both petrol and diesel engines is set at 12-month or 12,500-mile intervals.

All models

Every 12,500 miles

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Pricing:☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ (TBC)

Jeep Compass 2018

As the Compass is not due to arrive in the UK until December, Jeep has yet to confirm pricing or exact specifications of the four trim levels.

Given that the company is seeing the likes of the BMW X1, Kia Sportage, and Volkswagen Tiguan among its wide range of targeted rivals we expect the Compass to have pricing to match.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Recommendations

Company car buyer

Keep costs down by choosing the front-wheel-drive 1.6-litre MultiJet II engine, but with no difference in CO2 go for the Longitude version for a better spec.

Tech junkie

To make the most of what the Compass has to offer go for the 2.0 MultiJet II with the auto transmission and AWD, and pick the 8.4-inch screen.

Cost conscious

The 1.4 MultiAir in the Sport trim is the entry point, and you’ll still get the city braking and lane assist.

Rivals

Ford Kuga

A good variety of models to choose from, but mainstream versions lacks the quality of key rivals.

Nissan Qashqai

A household name and for good reason. This best-seller may lack off-road ability, but that’s less important here.

Kia Sportage

Well priced, with a good range of engines to suit most drivers. Seven-year warranty another plus.

Peugeot 3008

Once an MPV, now the 3008 is a stylish SUV fast becoming recognised as one of the best models in the class.

Volkswagen Tiguan

The best all-round car in the segment, is also one of the more expensive models – does drive very well though.

What others say

Autocar

"The Compass might not be the biggest, most composed crossover on the road, or the most efficient, but its off-road capability will be an attractive option for many"

Car Buyer

“Sitting between the Renegade and Cherokee, the Jeep Compass offers good value and comfort on or off the road.”

 

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