In this weather, maybe time to check out the Jeep Compass

Hugh Maguire test drives the 'likeable' Jeep Compass

Hugh Maguire


Hugh Maguire


In this weather, maybe time to check out the Jeep Compass

The Jeep brand is owned by the Chrysler/Fiat Motor Company, but the products still demonstrate all the abilities of the true original. Show any Jeep a dirt track and it will impress with superb off-road abilities. Jeep has now become the generic name for a 4x4 vehicle, but it was the original true 4x4.

However the company realises that most SUV/Crossover type vehicles rarely go off-road and so now the Compass focuses on front wheel drive though four wheel drive is available too.

There are eight models in the range with both petrol, diesel, 2 wheel drive and four wheel drive. Prices start at €27,995 for the 1.6 litre FWD diesel.

There are three trim levels, Sport, Longitude and on test here the Limited.

So has it any street cred?

The clean lines and great colour choices give the Compass a very fresh and trendy style. So yes it get full marks for great looks with street cred.

What’s it like inside?

The quality of materials used is good though not as good as some rivals in my opinion. I like the high up driving position which gives a commanding view of the road ahead and all the instrumentation is clearly and logically laid out.

The driving position itself is very comfortable and the electrically adjustable drivers seat proved supportive even on long trips. Standard equipment on the Limited model is excellent and too numerous to list here but worthy of particular mention is, dual zone climate control, Park sensors, LED lights, 18 inch alloys, Beats audio 560 watt sound system, heated front seats, blind spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, Sat Nav, Bluetooth, Cruise Control, a centrally mounted 8.4 inch touch screen for functions such as Audio, Nav, Climate, Car Settings, and so forth as well as a hot of safety features.

Accommodation is good seating four adults in comfort and the boot area is a decent size (438 litres) and can be extended by folding down the rear seats.

What’s under the bonnet?

Employing the Fiat Powertrain MultiJet II technology, an aluminium cylinder head, double overhead camshafts (DOHC) and four valves per cylinder, the 1.6 litre turbo diesel engine produces 140hp and power goes to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.

Performance is reasonably good and its frugal too burning just 5.8 litres of diesel per 100km. Road tax is €200.00. All good except that this engine is not very refined and emits quite a lot of diesel clatter at idle or low speeds.

At cruising speeds this lack of refinement is less evident.

Will I enjoy driving it?

The Jeep Compass proves compact enough for city work yet large enough to do the school run or take a small family on holiday. Its a versatile likeable SUV and it drives well. On the motorway it cruises happily at the legal limit but on more uneven country roads the ride can feel less supple.

What's the verdict?

The biggest challenge for the likes of Jeep is that they have a relatively small presence in Ireland compared to rivals such as the Nissan with the Qashqai or Renault with the Kadjar for example. Thats quite a hurdle to climb. Furthermore although the Jeep Compass compares very favourably in most areas with such rivals that growly diesel needs work to bring it up to current diesel refinement levels.

Overall then a likeable car, well priced and kitted out. Worth a look for sure.