So it has the name, Jeep. It has the must-have shape, crossover. It has the back-in-fashion engine, petrol. A great start. If you live the urban, active life and need a car to support that image the new Jeep Compass ticks a lot of boxes. If you are not in the Tuscon / Qashqai club, take note. The Compass has the looks a crossover requires “stolen” from its real-deal big brother the Cherokee. Mine, in white with a black roof has stealthy looks and the right amount of chrome displayed elegantly in a nice loop around the back of the car. Pronounced wheel arches, that the wheels don’t fill, cement the look of an off roader giving it a distinct look all of its own.
Driving the 2WD Compass you sense that the buyers it is aimed at won’t have a quibble. Its performance didn’t draw any undue attention when I drove this car all around Wexford in touring/sight-seeing mode and the best compliment I can give the car is that I didn’t record anything that spoiled the tour.
Whilst not the sportiest or grippiest car there is, it performed its expected role with unfussed understatedness. The petrol engine produced 120hp which is less that I felt it needed. There’s a 140hp 1.4 TwinAir petrol version too as well as 2 diesel engines to choose from and AWD versions for that authentic, off-road ability. Its dimensions match those of the Qashqai and Tuscon and you get a 438l boot. I brought my bicycle with me that was accommodated easily once the rear seats were folded – a 10s operation.
The Compass interior isn’t as funky as the Jeep Renegade, a pet fave of mine, and doesn’t look as stylish or as up-to-date as some of its competitors. But it had a strong, hardwearing and different, charm that’s attractive.
I showed the Compass to a friend of mine who immediately got the exclusivity qualities the Compass can offer. It would stand out on his drive-in. And that’s the rub. All the Compass needs now is buyers who appreciate the iconic 7-slot grille, Jeep looks and the association with rugged activity that the Jeep name brings.
Pricing, thankfully, is on a par with the competitors thereabouts. In a crowded sector competition is tough but the tough Compass has that toughness needed and deserves a look if you are a compact crossover buyer.