JEEP SETS A FRESH COURSE (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Introductionword count: 68
Back in late 2017, with the original version of this MK2 'MP/552'-series Compass model, Jeep at last brought us a credible class-competitive mid-sized SUV. It's not quite as car-like as some of its rivals from this period, but if you want to be ready for snow as well as sun and for forest tracks as well as tarmac, you might feel this contender to be a better bet.
Modelsword count: 6
(1.4 petrol, 1.6 diesel, 2.0 diesel)
Historyword count: 380
We all know what a real Jeep looks like - rough, tough and wilderness-ready. You might though, be less acquainted with the models this growing brand wants to sell to ordinary, family SUV buyers. Cars like this one, the Compass, aimed directly at the buoyant mid-sized Qashqai segment. Jeep has tried for years to crack this class of crossover, starting off in 2007 with the first generation version of this car. It sold in very modest numbers alongside a similar model, the Patriot, until 2011. Then was facelifted for a similarly unsuccessful sales stint that lasted until 2015. A fifth generation Cherokee model was then launched to represent the brand in the mid-sized part of the SUV sector, but it didn't have the light, agile feel and affordable pricing that Qashqai-class folk wanted. So that car was moved a little up-market to make room for Jeep to re-introduce the Compass model line with this car in late 2017. This Compass simply had to be a vast improvement on its disappointing predecessors, competing as it did in one of the motor industry's fastest-growing market segments. By 2018, Jeep had enjoyed considerable success with its smaller Renegade SUV launched in 2015, which sold to the kinds of customers who often wouldn't be averse to the possibility of something equally trendy, but slightly larger. The MK2 Compass aimed to deliver exactly that, using a stretched version of its smaller stablemate's platform and a lot of the fashion-led touches that customers in this class were by now insisting upon. But it was more than just another trendy soft roader. This one, we we're told, wasn't just for the school run set. Yes, it was able to deliver the family hatchback-style ease of use customers wanted, but here this was combined with a bit more SUV capability - the kind of thing beyond most rivals. It wasn't a Jeep for the Serengeti but, thanks to a tough 'Chapman strut' rear suspension system, an 'Active Drive' 4WD set-up and a 'Selec-Terrain' drive control package, 4x4 variants certainly promised enough off road ability to justify this model's brand badging. This MK2 Compass sold in this form until late 2021, when it was substantially updated and fresh engines added. It's the earlier 2017-2021-era models we look at here.
What You Getword count: 389
Cars of this kind used to be called 'Crossovers'. Then we got told to call them 'SUVs'. It's a designation that sits a touch incongruously with some other fickle, fashion-led contenders in this class but this Jeep does in every sense look like a proper, modern compact SUV, rather than the kind of hatchback on steroids that most of the magazine experts will tell you to buy in this segment. Inside, the aggressively stylised touches of the brand's smaller Renegade model are missing, the cabin instead favouring a more mature downscaled Grand Cherokee demeanour that Jeep thinks is more appropriate to the mid-sized segment. The chunky three-spoke wheel feels great to hold, the driving position's properly commanding and the rubber floor mats and the chunky design of the various controls remind you that you're in a car from a brand that only makes SUVs. Even the fascia's dominant feature, this Uconnect touchscreen, was developed with a nod to SUV motoring. Get yourself a model where the base 5.0-inch monitor has been upgraded to the 8.4-inch display and, once you've downloaded an appropriate app, you'll be able to use a 'Jeep Skills' feature that measures drive, pitch, roll, pressure and altitude to give you real-time feedback on your off road driving abilities. The Compass is 150mm longer than Jeep's smaller Renegade model and much of that extra length went into improving the size of the rear passenger compartment - enough to make it a slightly larger thing than obvious segment class leaders from its period. This car is 26mm longer than a Qashqai and 57mm longer than an Ateca. It's difficult to imagine how the company's smaller Renegade model could be suitable for family use but the addition here of an extra 7cms between the front and rear wheels makes all the difference. The cabin isn't really any wider than obvious rivals, so it's still going to be a bit of a squash with three fully-sized adults in the back, though if that's really necessary, the relatively low height of the centre transmission tunnel will help. And out back? Well, you might expect that the extended rear overhang would deliver one of the bigger boots in the class. In fact, there's 438-litres of space in the boot - about the same as you'd have in a Qashqai from this period.
To see the full road test text contact us on 0330 0020 227
Pictures (high res disabled)
Scoring (subset of scores)
Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
|Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.|