In the past, the Jeep Compass was a boxy, ugly and unattractive machine, but the new version that sits between the smaller Renegade and bigger Cherokee is altogether more stylish.
The Fiat-sourced engines are reasonably efficient but the diesels are a little harsh, and the automatic gearbox option seems more set up for off-road use than sporty road driving. That’s probably just as well as the Compass chassis is geared more for comfort than driving thrills.
With decent practicality and high equipment levels, the Compass is an effective and fun family crossover, but it lacks some of the finesse of its top European rivals.
After a brief hiatus, the second-generation Jeep Compass went on sale in dealers in late 2017, replacing the original model which was dropped in 2015. The good thing about this break is that it gave time for the old Compass to fade from memory before the new one arrived, because the difference between the two is night and day.
While both cars are crossovers, the latest Compass is a far more attractive and capable proposition than its predecessor. Like many evolutions in the class, the latest Compass has a look that embraces its off-road side, and the traditional Jeep seven-bar grille and squared-off wheelarches give it a look like a shrunken Grand Cherokee.
Prices range from around £27,000 to just over £38,000, and this puts the Compass in the same ballpark as the VW Tiguan and larger Skoda Kodiaq.
That means it’s a bit pricey when compared to some rivals, such as the Peugeot 3008 and Vauxhall Grandland X, but puts it on a par with cars like the Mazda CX-5 and Honda CR-V. Jeep is trying to pitch itself as a prestige brand, though, so you could consider the Compass as a less expensive alternative to cars such as the Volvo XC40, Jaguar E-Pace and BMW X2.
Under the skin, the Jeep Compass shares much with the Fiat 500X, and therefore the Renegade, too. It has a longer wheelbase than the Jeep, though, so it has more space inside, but engines and gearboxes are similar. Diesel engines comprise a 1.6 Multijet rated at 118hp, and a 2.0 Multijet with 168hp. If you want petrol power, there’s a 1.4 MultiAir four-cylinder turbo in 138hp or 168hp forms.
Front-wheel drive and a six-speed gearbox is fitted as standard to the 118hp diesel and 138hp petrol, while the 168hp petrol and diesel engines come with 4WD and Jeep’s nine-speed automatic.
There are five different equipment specifications to choose from: Longitude, Night Eagle, Limited, S and Trailhawk. Go for the Limited trim and all the goodies are included, including heated leather seats, LED headlights, navigation, a heated steering wheel, an upgraded audio system and a park assist function.