Compass on true course
The Jeep Compass has been on sale on-and-off in Australia since 2007 and was the iconic American company’s first foray into the compact SUV field.
The subject of this week’s test, Gen 3 Compass, was launched at the start of 2018.
There are five models in the Compass range, with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, two or four-wheel-drive and four specification levels: Sport, Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk.
Prices range from $28,850 for the 2WD petrol manual Sport through to $44,750 for the AWD diesel automatic Trailhawk.
The diesel engine, available in Limited and Trailhawk, is a 2.0litre MultiJet unit with up to 125kW of power and 350Nm of torque.
The Sport, Longitude and Limited have a 2.4-litre four-cylinder Tigershark petrol with maximum outputs of 129kW and 229Nm.
Sport and Longitude have frontwheel drive, Limited and Trailhawk are all-wheel drive. Sport is available with either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission; Longitude comes only with the six-speed auto while Limited and Trailhawk get ninespeed auto.
Standard across the Compass range are seven airbags including a knee-bag, electronic stability and traction control with electronic roll mitigation, trailer sway control, enhanced ABS brakes, reversing camera and two Isofix child seat anchors.
Longitude adds automatic wipers and headlights; and fog and cornering lamps.
As well as the Active Drive 4x4 system Compass Limited also gets Bi-Xenon headlights, LED taillights, front and rear parking sensors, and park assist.
In addition to its raised ride height and off-road suspension, the Trailhawk has Selec-Terrain with Rock Mode, hill descent control, and distinctive red recovery hooks.
Disappointingly a number of additional safety features that are standard in many of Compass competitors are available only in a $2450 Advanced Technology Group.
Compass Sport and Longitude use a 5.0-inch touchscreen and 3.5inch instrument cluster display.
Limited and Trailhawk step up to 8.4-inch and 7.0-inch displays respectively.
We loved the larger touchscreen in the Limited that we tested. It’s almost square in shape with large easy-to-read tabs for minimal distraction.
Satellite navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard in the Limited and available
in the two lower-spec models along with the 8.4-inch screen in a $2150 Premium Audio Package. There are USB ports at the front and rear.
There’s a feeling of quality inside the Compass that’s been lacking in the past. Front headroom is good despite the optional sunroof, there’s space in the back to seat a couple of relatively tall adults. Storage space isn’t so good with no flat area either between the front seats or below the dashboard.
Our test car was the Compass Limited with the 2.0-litre MultiJet2 turbo-diesel engine. With 350Nm of torque from 1750rpm, it is significantly sharper off the mark and for overtaking than its older petrol teammate. Well worth the $2500 surcharge.
It’s responsive with minimal turbo lag and enjoyable to drive al- though a little noisier than we’ve come to expect from modern diesel engines.
The balance between ride comfort and handling belies its American roots with the type of road feel that Australian drivers prefer.
We tested the Limited’s allwheel-drive system in some semichallenging off-road conditions, ones that we would hesitate to take many of its rivals. The track was wet and rutted but the Jeep remained sure-footed throughout with traction switching between wheels when required.
That performance gave a clear indication that the Jeep Compass Trailhawk with its higher approach and departure angles could handle even more demanding conditions.
Fuel consumption is factory tested at 5.7 litres per 100 km. We averaged 6.9 L/100 km during our week-long test.
Jeep Compass is now a serious contender in what is one of Australia’s most competitive market segments. It’s stylish, comfortable and capable and we’d certainly recommend adding it to your test drive list.
An increase in the period of Jeep’s standard warranty to five years warranty will reassure those with reliability concerns although that could be offset by its relatively limited distance of 100,000km.
Alistair Kennedy The Jeep Compass Limited is a compact SUV with a fair bit of off-road capability.
There’s a feeling of quality inside the Compass.