Smaller Jeep hits the high notes
ISN’T it strange how car shapes change? The latest Jeep Cherokee is not as good looking as the previous one to my eyes.
But the smaller Compass launched last year emulates the design of that previous Cherokee and seems to be perfectly proportioned and right on the money.
Using many parts, including engine and gearbox, from parent company Fiat’s range, this is a real 4x4 capable of fairly tough off-road work, while at the same time, bringing a good feel out on the road.
That’s where the previous Compass fell down, but this one certainly moves things on a fair few miles.
I recently drove a 1.4 turbo petrol automatic, but there are also 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesels that are likely to be far better sellers.
That said, the petrol is quick and comfortable, reasonably refined and surprisingly agile.
The 1.4 Multiair turbo is smooth and refined and gives excellent urge in the low and mid-range. Acceleration is very good, bringng up the 60mph sprint in well under 10 seconds, with smooth changes from the standard nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Unlike most other crossovers, which are only frontwheel drive, it has a proper four-wheel-drive (4WD) system, with selectable modes for snow, sand and mud, and an auto setting for road work.
It also comes with hill descent control, which uses the anti-lock braking system to control speed when going down steep off-road gradients.
I managed to get a little time off road and found this a very worthwhile electronic tool. The 4x4 system means this Jeep will go just about anywhere through mud, rough tracks or sodden fields, and, of course, will keep you going in serious winter conditions where most soon flounder.
It would certainly show a Nissan Qashqai or Ford Kuga the way home in either situation.
The Jeep Compass 1.4 MultiAir Limited I drove costs £33,240.
Jeep Compass 1.4 MultiAir Limited