The new Jeep Compass compact SUV is heading in the right direction in terms of size, five star safety equipment, inclusive specification and competitive prices, says David Miles.
With sales of compact SUVs booming the second generation new Jeep Compass is priced from £22,995 to £35,595 and are scheduled to arrive in the UK from February 2018.
The Compass range sits between the more compact Renegade and the larger Cherokee models in the Jeep range. The original boxy Compass was first sold in the UK in 2007 and facelifted in 2011 before departing UK showrooms in 2015.
The latest Compass models face strong competition from the already established Nissan Qashqai which leads sales in this in this mid-sized C-SUV sector with the new Peugeot 3008, SEAT Ateca, Skoda Kodiaq, Ford Kuga and VW Tiguan, to name but, a few all vying for sales.
|Now part of the FCA, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the Jeep Compass shares many of the components of the Fiat 500X and an extended version of the platform from the Jeep Renegade range so in its performance, dimensions and safety specification it is much more European in its nature, although built in India, than previous hard-core off-roader American iron.
But in true Jeep fashion the specification is high and there are two and four wheel drive models.
When it comes to engines choices the range consists of two petrol and three diesel engines. The petrol engine offering includes a 1.4-litre MultiAir II Turbo engine with Stop&Start delivering 140 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 230 Nm of torque at 1,750 rpm in combination with the six-speed manual gearbox and 4×2 configuration, and the 1.4-litre MultiAir II Turbo engine producing 170 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and torque of 250 Nm at 2,500 rpm, paired to the nine-speed automatic transmission and 4×4 configuration.
The diesel engine range comprises the efficient 1.6-litre MultiJet II with Stop&Start delivering 120 horsepower at 3,750 rpm and 320 Nm of torque at 1,750 rpm, paired to the six-speed manual gearbox and 4×2 configuration, and the 2.0-litre MultiJet II with Stop&Start delivering 140 horsepower at 3,750 rpm, with the six-speed manual transmission, producing 350 Nm of torque at 1,750 rpm and come with the 4×4 configuration.
A higher output version of the 2.0-litre MultiJet II with Stop&Start – delivering 170 horsepower in combination with the nine-speed automatic transmission and 4×4 configuration (including the Trailhawk specific low range mode) – completes the diesel offering available on the all-new Compass.
|At the media launch this week, FCA UK managing director Ashley Andrew said, “The Compass represents everything that is Jeep with fantastic on and off-road performance, 70 active and passive safety features and includes the latest connectivity technology.
“Jeep with its 76 year history is now a global brand and our vehicles are built in six countries around the world, the latest being India where the Compass is being built.”
He added, “The new vehicle represents a key addition to the Jeep line-up, it is a critical vehicle for us allowing the brand to tackle the important and growing compact SUV segment that is expected to grow by almost 20 percent to 7.5 million in 2020. In Europe alone, this segment amounts to more than 1.6 million and is expected to achieve more than two million units by 2020”.
Rob Lake, Jeep’s UK product manager went on, “We have seen a 14.48% increase in sales in this C SUV segment so far this year. Diesel powered models still take 70% of sales, down from 78% last year, petrol models accounted for 28% and 2% are hybrids.
“Our research shows 63% of customers choose a manual transmission and 71% select a 2WD model. For our new Compass range we are predicting 49% of buyers will choose a petrol engine and the single best selling version will be the Longitude 1.4 MultiAir 140hp 2WD manual priced at £24,995 which is planned to account for 28% of all Compass UK sales”.
On the subject of how many Compass sales are planned for in 2018 Rob Lake said that in the current uncertain market with Brexit issues with the falling popularity of diesel it is difficult to say but it should be between four and five thousand units and Compass will be the best selling model range.
There are four specification levels depending on the engine chosen. These are Sport, Longitude, Limited and the hard-core 4WD Trailhawk which joins the line-up next summer. The Sport version’s standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED tail lights, leather steering wheel with audio controls, air conditioning, cruise control, forward collision warning and 60/40 rear seat split.
The best selling Longitude specification adds 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, Parkview reverse camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, 8.4-inch audio and navigation, electric lumbar support, dual zone climate control and keyless entry and go.
Limited includes 18-inch alloys, halogen headlamps, silver roof rails, privacy glass, leather powered and heated seats, windscreen wiper de-icer, heated wheel, rain sensitive wipers, reverse camera, park assist, blind spot and cross path detection.
Trailhawk, coming next summer, includes red rear tow hook, privacy glass, front and rear off-road bumpers, raised off-road suspension, front and rear skid plates, 8.4-inch audio and navigation, leather power and heated seats, 60/40 folding rear seat with boot pass-through, heated steering wheel, all-season floor mats, hill descent and Rock transmission mode and is intended for the more serious Jeep off-road buyer.
Driver and passenger safety were paramount in the development of the all-new Compass, which attained a 5-star Euro NCAP score. The car offers more than 70 available active and passive safety and security features including Forward Collision Warning-Plus, LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus, Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection, ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines, Automated Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll mitigation and six standard air bags.
The Compass is 150mm longer than the Renegade models giving it a longer wheelbase and an extended load area section. The Compass is 4,,394mm long, 1,820mm wide and 1,644mm high. There are 438-litres of boot space as opposed to 351-litres found with the Renegade models and a maximum load space of 1,693-litres with the rear seats folded.
Heritage can still mean a lot to a buyer even if some car-makers have sent theirs to the crusher, but not Jeep, writes Robin Roberts.
It has effectively “recycled” its history and while this week’s press launch of the newcomer did not include the traditional off-road test so familiar with Jeeps of old it held the tantalising promise of a harder-edged Compass coming in the Trailhawk next summer.
It’s the first Jeep to be made in the Fiat Chrysler Automobile factory in Ranjangaon, Pune, India, where they also assemble Fiat models and from which it takes its platform. Prices rise from under £23,000 to almost £35,600.
The new Jeep Compass is more soft-road than off-road for most of the range but it tackles the modern rough and tumble of family life with a roomy interior and good-sized boot. But it’s not cheap.
The high riding position will be loved by many because it gives a better view of the road and with a low waistline and deep windows you can see out very well all round. The access is good throughout, the seats big and comfortable with reasonable adjustment room infront aided by a reach and rake moveable steering wheel.
There’s good instruments layout dominated by a big central infotainment screen, although the central console looks a bit cluttered, but the major controls are all sensibly placed and worked well.
Our test of the diesel engines definitely favoured the 2.0 140hp model for better pickup in mid and high rev-range and it had a great 6sp manual transmission which mean it ran to 40.7mpg, but also because it was the best riding of the three versions driven as well as the most economical.
The 120hp 1.6 MultiJet diesel in 2WD with 6sp manual gearbox seemed hard work by comparison and even sluggish, and showed 35.9mpg, but with a nine-speed auto box on the 170hp 1.4 MultiAir petrol there was no shortage of ratios for a brisk cross-country canter over the South Downs. I would have liked a quicker throttle response in the lower range of its automatic transmission but you could easily switch to manual sport mode and improve responses. It returned an indicated 31.6mpg.
Steering was sensibly weighted, the brakes good, and it turned and gripped very well whether front or all wheel drive. The optional 19-inch wheels and tyres made the ride stiff but not so much in the 2.0 140hp version.
Jeep expect the best seller will be the 2WD 1.4 MultiAir Longitude petrol/ manual taking 28% of Compass sales while the 2WD and 4WD 1.4 models will account for almost half of their business, said Rob Lake, Jeep’s UK product manager.
The majority of Jeep buyers are private owners and Jeep is keen to expand on its network of about 70 dealers to better serve potential owners who value its history and modern individuality.
What’s possibly more important is that the new Jeep Compass does look different to most of the SUVs now on sale and it will stand out and point buyers towards showrooms.