Review: Jeep Compass (2018)
Rarer than a Kia Sportage or Nissan Qashqai. The Jeep badge will appeal to some.
Disappointing to drive. Interior pretty gloomy. Doesn't stand out in any particular area.
Jeep Compass (2018): At A Glance
- New prices start from £27,230, brokers can source from £20,099
- Contract hire deals from £232.69 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 20–24
- On average it achieves 70% of the official MPG figure
The Jeep Compass is America's take on the Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Karoq. It's based on the same platform as the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X, albeit extended to offer more interior space.
It's available with a choice of two petrol and three diesel engines in the UK, along with five equipment levels: Sport, Longitude, Night Eagle, Limited and Trailhawk.
The diesel engines are noisy and unrefined, while the automatic transmission is clumsy and slow to respond. It's not a car that'll impress in the corners, either - there's lots of body roll and, on two-wheel-drive models, the front wheels will run out of grip surprisingly early.
But some will be willing to overlook its lack of on-road prowess in favour of its genuine off-road capability. Just like Land Rover, Jeep plays hard on its reputation as a maker of cars that won't leave you stranded in the rough stuff. While the Compass isn't exactly a Wrangler, four-wheel-drive models can more than cope with a rutted track or wet field.
The Trailhawk model in particular is intended to appeal to off-road enthusiasts, with its lifted suspension, hill-descent control and underbody skid plates.
The Compass interior is practical, with a boot that's on par with most rivals - and enough space for four adults should you feel the need. It's not up to the standards of the Skoda Karoq in terms of finish, with lots of hard surfaces and an almost overwhelming amount of buttons True, it's functional and does feel like it will cope with a tough life, but it's not got the same showroom appeal as most of its rivals.
With prices starting in the region of £24,000, the Compass is considerably more than a Nissan Qashqai or Kia Sportage. You get a reasonable amount of kit for your money, but you could soon be nudging £30,000 for high-spec models. That puts it in the same region as the Volvo XC40 - against which it simply isn't comparable.
What does a Jeep Compass (2018) cost?
Jeep Compass (2018): What's It Like Inside?
- Euro NCAP rating of five stars
Some people will like the rugged feel of the Jeep Compass, although there are too many harsh plastics and Fiat parts inside for our liking - especially for the close-to-premium price tag.
Some of the buttons are awkwardly positioned and it generally feels pretty gloomy inside. We could forgive it if it was as cheap as a Nissan Qashqai, but you could spend close to £40,000 on a Compass.
All but the entry-level Sport model come with an 8.4-inch media display in the centre of the dash, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto letting you access music and other features from your phone. It's a bit fiddly to use but responsive enough and nothing you won't soon get used to.
The Compass is comfortable enough for front passengers, with the kind of high-up driving position you'd expect from a Jeep. There's plenty of adjustment in the seats and steering wheel, while head and legroom in the rear is equally good. The rising window line does make it feel a bit claustrophobic in the back, however.
Boot space is on a par with the Nissan Qashqai but smaller than alternatives including the SEAT Ateca and Kia Sportage. The wheelarches noticeably intrude on space, so it feels quite narrow - and there's a high lip for hoisting heavy items over. Fortunately, it's easy enough to drop the rear seats should you need to carry bulkier items.
Specifications (May 2019):
Sport models feature 16-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured, electric and heated door mirrors, body-coloured door handles, automatic headlights, LED tail lights, fabric seats, 60:40 split folding rear seats, leather steering wheel with audio controls, 3.5-inch TFT instrument cluster, five-inch DAB radio with touchscreen, Bluetooth, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, cruise control, rain-sensitive windscreen wipers.
Longitude adds 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior window surround, black roof raile, front fog lights, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, power-folding door mirrors, fabric and faux leather seats with electric lumbar adjustment, ambient LED interior lighting, dual-zone climate control, 8.4-inch infotainment screen with DAB radio, navigation and Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, reversing camera, keyless go.
Night Eagle features 18-inch gloss black alloy wheels, black grille, black window surrounds, black fog light bezels, half leather seats with electric lumbar adjustment, piano black interior accents.
Limited builds on Longitude spec with 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome exhaust tip, roof rails with chrome inset, deep tint sunscreen glass, exterior mirror courtesy lights, LED signature lighting, windscreen wiper de-icer, leather eight-way power heated seats, 60:40 split folding rear seat with boot pass-through, heated steering wheel, all-weather floor mats, seven-inch TFT colour instrument cluster, 8.4-inch infotainment system with DAB radio, Beats audio, navigation and Bluetooth, front and rear park assist, blind spot and cross path detection.
Trailhawk models are based on the Longitude, with 17-inch off-road alloy wheels, a bonnet decal, coloured roof rails and mirrors, deep tint sunscreen glass, exterior mirror courtesy lights, halogen project headlights, LED signature lighting, windshield wiper deicer, rain sensitive windscreen wpers, eight-way power heated leather seats, rear 60:40 split folidng seat with boot pass-through, heated steering wheel, all-weather floor mats, seven-inch colour instrument cluster, 8.4-inch DAB radio with navigation, Bluetooth and 9 speakers, front and rear park assist, blind spot and cross pass detection, parallel and perpendicular park assist, hill descent control, rock mode, full-size spare wheel, front and rear off-road bumpers, raised off-road suspension, front rear and underbody skid plates, red rear tow hook.
Child seats that fit a Jeep Compass (2018)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Jeep Compass (2018) like to drive?
- Engines range from 1.4 MultiAir 140 2WD to 2.0 MultiJet 140 Automatic 4WD
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 25–37 mpg
If you're after a petrol, there's a choice of a 1.4-litre turbo producing 140PS with a six-speed manual gearbox and two-wheel drive. The same engine is available with 170PS and a nine-speed automatic gearbox with four-wheel drive.
Diesel offerings include a 1.6-litre 120PS engine with two-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox, or a 2.0-litre with either 140PS or 170PS. The 140PS unit comes with a six-speed manual transmission, while the range-topping 170PS model features a nine-speed automatic transmission. Both have four-wheel drive.
While most carmakers do their best to hide the grumble of a diesel engine, we almost get the impression Jeep hasn't bothered with the Compass. It's quite noisy, but that adds to the feel that it's indestructable and can go anywhere. Some people might like that.
The automatic gearbox is quite slow to change gears, although the six-speed manual gearbox is pleasant enough to use, with a precise shift.
The Compass is just as old fashioned in terms of handling, too. The steering is vague and light, and it will lean in bends like a real old-school SUV. It's easy enough to place in town (although the reversing camera fitted to higher-spec models comes in useful when parking), but it's not much fun out of it.
Of course, one area in which the Compass shines is off road - especially the Trailhawk low-range gearbox, 4x4 system and raised suspension (just a few of the off-road goodies on offer). It's also a competent tow car, with a towing capacity of up to 1900kg depending on engine choice.
|1.4 MultiAir 140 2WD||44–46 mpg||9.9 s||143–155 g/km|
|1.4 MultiAir 170 Automatic 4WD||41 mpg||9.5 s||160 g/km|
|1.6 Multijet 120 2WD||64 mpg||11.0 s||117 g/km|
|1.6 MultiJet 120 2WD||55–64 mpg||11.0 s||117–128 g/km|
|2.0 MultiJet 140 4WD||46–54 mpg||10.1 s||138–159 g/km|
|2.0 MultiJet 140 Automatic 4WD||50 mpg||9.5 s||148 g/km|
|2.0 MultiJet 170 Automatic 4WD||50 mpg||9.5 s||148 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Jeep Compass (2018)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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