DRIVEN BY INOVATION | North Wales Chronicle

Jeep’s latest Compass model is the brand’s most competitive midsize SUV to date. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.

The Jeep Compass is now more meaningful as a credible alternative to the mid-size SUV. This challenger has been updated and there is now e-Hybrid technology, as well as a flagship plug-in PHEV option. Time to start taking this car a little more seriously.

Background

You may still have a hard time thinking of the Jeep as an Italian brand, but in the first place, it’s what it really is these days. The cars are built there – and sell well there as well. In fact, the country’s best-selling PHEV is the plug-in version of the car we’re looking at here, the Jeep Compass.

The Compass has been significantly updated recently, as it needed to be to keep pace with key mid-range Qashqai-class SUV rivals, all of which have either been facelifted or completely redesigned recently. The plug-in four-wheel drive Compass 4xe provides a rejuvenated range that also includes more affordable front-wheel drive e-hybrid and 1.3-liter conventional petrol variants. The UK market has always had a weak point for Jeep: should it maintain this one?

Driving experience

The Compass engine range looks very different now. Unlike the old-fashioned MultiAir petrol and Multijet diesel engines offered when this second-generation ‘MP / 552’ series design was first launched in 2018, there is now a choice of three powertrains familiar from the smaller Renegade. At the bottom of the range is a 1.3-liter petrol unit of 129 hp from Fiat, coupled to front-wheel drive, which uses a six-speed manual transmission and can pull up to 1,750 kg.

However, your dealer also wants you to consider one of the electrified models. The first alternative is the front-wheel drive mild hybrid variant “e-Hybrid”, which is based on a four-cylinder 1.5-liter unit that provides 130 hp and 240 Nm of torque and is connected to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. The propulsion system includes a built-in 48 volt 15kW (20hp) electric motor that delivers 55Nm of torque, which can drive the wheels even when the internal combustion engine is switched off.

At the top of the range is a 4xe Plug-in hybrid variant, which has a version of 178 horsepower of the base model’s 1.3-liter engine coupled to an electric motor on the rear axle, creating a four-wheel drive model with a 6-speed automatic transmission and a total power of 237bhp. 4xe offers up to 30 miles of electric driving range only when the 11.4 kWh battery is fully charged.

Design and build

This second generation ‘MP / 552’ series Compass has had a damn good wash and brush here. There is the standard front grille with 7 seats, but next to it there are bolder headlights that now have full-LED technology. You can have a roof in contrasting color if you want, the taillights are now also of the LED type and the brand trapezoidal frames can accommodate large wheels up to 19-inches in size, allowing you to make the appropriate statement in the gym park.

What is more significant, however, are the changes that have taken place inside, where the cabin gets a new 10.1-inch “Uconnect” infotainment central screen and a cabin with a more European feel. At the back there is a 438-liter luggage compartment.

Market and model

Jeep does not care about poverty specifications for this rejuvenated Compass series. Let’s start with the 1.3-liter front-wheel drive models, both of which only come with a six-speed manual gearbox. The least well-equipped version you can choose is very well specified and offered in “Night Eagle” form with a black body styling package that includes 18-inch glossy black wheels. The brand wants about 30,000 pounds from you for that. Or you can find another thousand pounds and get a 1.3-liter compass in plush “limited” shape. Next up is the Compass e-Hybrid, priced from around £ 33,000 and offered in “Night Eagle”, “Limited”, “Upland” and “S” forms.

Obviously, you need to find more for the four-wheel drive, more powerful Plug-in hybrid 4xe versions. There are two, ‘Trailhawk’ (which costs around £ 40,000) and plusher ‘S’. As you would expect from a PHEV, you can only have 4xe variants with automatic transmission, this one with six gears.

Across the range, the equipment includes a 10.1-inch “Uconnect” central screen with navigation, wireless “Apple CarPlay” and “Android Auto” smartphone mirroring and “Hey Jeep” voice function. 18-inch glossy black diamond alloy wheels are standard, with 19-inch alloys optional on the “Limited” model. The headlights and taillights are of the LED variant and you can have an electric tailgate with kick sensor. Adaptive cruise control and Lane Keep Assist are both standard, along with Traffic Sign Information and Intelligent Speed ​​Assist.

Cost of ownership

The 1.3-liter Compass model “Firefly” series 1.3-liter petrol engine is very different from the aging green pump units we saw mounted on this MK2 Compass at its original launch. It is Euro6d compatible, includes ‘GPF’ ‘Gasoline Particulate Filters’ and has a completely aluminum construction that makes it impressively light. It uses the Fiat Group’s “MultiAir” technology in its third generation form, which improves combustion efficiency by adjusting valve lift and timing. Other technical focus points in the ‘Firefly’ series include reduced internal friction, a lower compression ratio and a very compact combustion chamber to promote thermal efficiency. In terms of numbers, expect up to 40.3 mpg on the combined bike and up to 152 g / km CO2. You can further enhance this display if you choose the alternative 1.5-liter e-hybrid engine.

Of course, the PHEV 4xe variant performs better, but only if you keep it connected. If you do not, you will only be driving around in a fairly heavy petrol-powered Jeep and there is nothing particularly economical or efficient about it. But make full use of the battery and the WLTP figures suggest that, with a full 30-mile mileage regularly maximized, the official fuel economy will be estimated at between 141.2 and 156.9 mpg. Of course, you will never register it in real driving, but you should get fuel figures that are comparable to those of the old diesel variant: and the low CO2 figure of up to 44 g / km will help with your BiK tax payments and VED tax records. The insurance is group 29E.

Summary

In its previous form, Compass was a marginal player in the mid-size SUV sector and we do not see much change. But it is a much better product than it used to be and the addition of e-Hybrid and PHEV technology to the range means that it is consistent with how the segment develops.

FACTS IN AN OVERVIEW

CAR: Jeep Compass

PRICE: £ 29,895- £ 40,895

INSURANCE GROUPS: 17E-29E

CO2 EMISSIONS: [4xe] 44-47g / km

PERFORMANCE: [4xe] 0-62 mph 10.1 / Max speed 122 mph

FUEL CONSUMPTION: [4xe] 141.2-156.9 mpg [combined]

BOOT CAPACITY: [litres] 438

WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE ?: Length / Width / Height mm 4395/1820/1640 mm

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