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Jeep Compass Reviews

Performance
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Jeep's Compass didn't get off to the easiest start in life, but it's fair to say that the model has kicked on, as demonstrated by the latest version. Andy Enright reports.

The Jeep Compass is a massively improved car compared to the 2007 original you may well remember. This latest model features a more upmarket interior, more stylish detailing outside and a six-speed automatic transmission for the unpopular 2.4-litre petrol engine. The 2.2-litre four-wheel drive diesel model is the variant to have though - if you can afford it.

Jeep does Wranglers and Grand Cherokees really well. Elsewhere in its line-up though, it has often struggled to convince buyers that the brand has the breadth to succeed. The seven-seat Commander sank without registering much more than a blip of interest in the UK and does anybody really remember the Patriot? The compact Compass once looked as if it might also be a forgotten footnote in Jeep history but no, the company has persevered with it, believing in its potential. It was first introduced in 2007, with bulbous, low-riding styling that didn't speak much of off-road potential. It proved a resolute flop and Jeep quietly deleted the model from its books in 2009. In 2011, the Compass resurfaced, this time looking as if it had spent the intervening period in a gym. Filling in the spot vacated by the deleted Cherokee, the Compass was now 'trail rated' as an off road vehicle by its manufacturer and a whole lot more appealing inside too. Suddenly, the Compass looked a genuine contender. This second generation model has come in for a refresh and the latest version might still be one of the most underrated compact SUVs you can buy.

Don't underestimate the off-road ability of this latest Compass. It gets a full-time, active Freedom Drive I four-wheel drive system with lock mode, which will offer drivers excellent grip in wintry conditions or on muddy forest tracks. Better ground clearance than the original car helps here, although if you really want to exploit that ability, talk to your Jeep dealer about more serious optional tyres. Engines for the improved Compass include the popular 2.2-litre turbo diesel delivering 161bhp and 320Nm of torque. Then there are two petrol units; the 2.4-litre that produces 168bhp and 220Nm of torque and the 2.0-litre providing 154bhp and 190Nm of torque. Reading that, it would appear that little has changed since the 2011 reintroduction, but the big change to this car is the introduction of the 6F24 six-speed automatic transmission. Developed by PowerTech, this automatic gearbox is compact, lightweight and fully electronic. With a smoother shift than before and smarter software, it's a big step forward. Unfortunately, Jeep's tendency to occasionally shoot itself in the foot looses off a round here, as this superior transmission is only offered with the rarely considered 2.4-litre petrol engine. In other words, it's not going to get much play on these shores.

The exterior of the latest Compass looks a little sharper than before. Choose the Limited version and you'll get a plated upper grille trim and Billet Silver grille texture. The halogen headlamps now have a black inner bezel. The Limited and North models sport chrome fog lamp bezels. The rear has also received changes and features revised tail lamps with a smoked inner bezel and a plated chrome insert on the tailgate trim applique. The 18-inch polished aluminium wheels on Limited models and a new "Jeep" badge on the tailgate complete the refreshed exterior design. The interior has also been upgraded with a revised interior trim option available on the Limited model and Dark Slate Grey perforated leather seating. The armrests and centre console lid are now wrapped in soft-touch materials. The instrument cluster overlay graphics have been updated on all trim levels. Satin chrome finishes for the interior brightwork round out the interior design upgrades. There are also dark slate grey leather seats on the Limited model. Space in the rear isn't bad for a compact SUV, the Compass only measuring 4465mm from stem to stern. To put that figure into perspective, it's 18mm shorter than a Skoda Rapid. Still, the rear seat is intended to be able to properly seat three adults but thanks to a high centre transmission tunnel which restricts middle occupant space, that'll only be for short journeys. Behind, there's 458-litres of luggage capacity in a thoughtfully designed boot area. If more luggage capacity is required, the seatbacks split-fold 60:40 in the usual way and fold completely flat so that you can make the very most of the 1269-litres of total space on offer.

The entry-level 2.0-litre Sport model in the range is also the only front-wheel drive version and will do a decent job of suburban duties. Just don't get carried away on anything much tougher than a gravel track with it though. Still, £17,500 won't buy you too many respectable family hatchbacks these days, so it looks extremely strong value for money when you consider the amount of space you get. Go for the 2.4-litre engines and you get all-wheel drive and the uprated 6-speed automatic gearbox, so prices are a bit steeper at around £20,000 for the North trim level and just under £23,000 for the plush Limited. The 2.2-litre CRD diesel is fitted with a manual box and needs a budget of nearly £25,000, which is creeping into Land Rover Freelander territory. Equipment levels have taken a big step forwards with this refresh. Even the entry-level Sport gets acoustic laminated front glass, body-colour exterior door handles and tailgate brow, projector fog lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels and chrome roof side rails, front-seat-mounted side airbags, advanced multistage front driver and passenger air bags, all-row side curtain airbags, front driver and passenger active head restraints, Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Roll Mitigation, Hill-start Assist, anti-lock disc brakes, manual air conditioning, power-heated fold-away exterior mirrors, illuminated keyless entry, premium cloth seats, illuminated cup holders, rear 60/40 split folding seat, fold-flat rear seat, cruise control and a radio with CD/DVD/MP3 functionality.

The essential quandary that faces Jeep Compass buyers rears its ugly head here. You either buy an affordable petrol model and put up with higher ongoing running costs or you splash out for the pricey diesel and then pay less for fuel and tax. The 2.0-litre petrol is the cheapest car to run, with the diesel somewhere in the middle and the 2.4-litre petrol models costing the most. It would be useful if Jeep were able to provide an entry-level, more affordable diesel variant. But it doesn't, so that makes the 2.0-litre front-wheel drive petrol model the unexpected pick of the range. It'll average around 37mpg and emissions of 175g/km, while not stellar, aren't catastrophic. Its low asking price and generous kit list means you don't need to go large on options and as long as you don't plan on extreme off-road antics, it makes a reasonable alternative to a more boring family hatchback.

That the Jeep Compass has improved with the latest revision is beyond doubt. The interior is no longer a case study in materials cost-cutting and the exterior styling changes, while modest, also help lift the car's perceived value. Whether all that's enough to make the most attractive model in the range, the all-wheel drive diesel, worth as much as an equivalent Land Rover Freelander is a decision potential buyers will have to carefully consider. The Compass range, in summary, is both rugged and affordable. Unfortunately, the way the line-up is structured at present, you can only have one or the other. The versions that are rugged aren't that affordable whilst those that are affordable aren't that rugged. The sooner Jeep can square that issue, the sooner they'll have a sales success on their books.

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Overview

The Jeep Compass is the American manufacturers entry level luxury SUV. It has been in production since 2007 and has captured the hears and minds of its admirers with its rugged looks and powerful engines. The Jeep Compass is an alternative to the Range Rover line and brands such as that.

Key Jeep Compass Points

Currently, the Jeep Compass has 3 engines; a 2.0 2WD and 2.4 4WD automatic petrol engine. Diesel comes in the guide of a 2.2 CRD diesel engine. The latter being the most popular choice with its lower economy albeit at a higher price. The Sport version sets the tone as the base model but it still comes with big alloys, power windows and a Boston acoustics sound system. Mid range you can expect air con, keyless entry and finally the top of the range Latitude has all of the above with heated seats, sun roof and remote start.

Why Lease a Jeep Compass

The Compass is substantially cheaper to lease than some of its rivals, it could be argued that it desperately needs a refresh but what you will get is a car that will power you through with no fuss. What you won't get however is luxury that you could get elsewhere for double the price. The strong and versatile diesel engine with 4wd will allow the Compass to laugh over any terrain or weather it comes across. Lease the Compass for a well known brand with good performance.

Five reasons to lease a Jeep Compass

  • Affordable
  • 4WD
  • Easily sit 5+
  • Powerful
  • Usually in stock

Conclusion

To conclude, the Jeep Compass is a nifty SUV to lease due to its pretty low prices considering its size and brand. For a clearer and more refine insight then please feel free to have a good rummage around the Jeep Compass car leasing hub for the latest high res images, in depth written review and high definition video.