Jeep is celebrating its 80th anniversary – so it’s a perfect time to test drive the latest vehicle from the company whose engineering forefathers brought a rugged 4×4 designed for the military to the fun-loving civilian masses.
Also incredible to consider that the original go-anywhere Jeep was created and manufactured in just 49 days, just in time for America’s entry into World War II following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
To bring things up to speed, I’ve driven the new Jeep Compass – specifically the Trailhawk trim – available for the first time as a plug-in hybrid 4×4 designed primarily for the road but with decent off-road capability.
All Terrain: The new Jeep Compass is designed to handle on- and off-road driving
This is one of four compass variants. The entry-level Night Eagle (from £29,895) and Limited (from £30,895) are front-wheel drive, powered by 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engines mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.
The Compass S (from £40,895) and my Trailhawk (£39,895) are 240bhp all-wheel drive plug-in hybrids with six-speed automatic gearboxes.
The 180 hp 1.3-liter gasoline engine is combined with a 60 hp electric motor, powered by an 11.4 kW battery, which drives the rear axle.
With sharp design and the traditional Jeep grill, it stands out from the army of SUVs.
On the road, it’s comfortable on both twisty lanes and motorways, accelerating to 62mph in 7.3 seconds up to a top speed of 124mph (80mph in electric-only mode, where the range is 30 miles).
It strains under hard acceleration, but in a Jeep you’d expect to take a bit of rough with the smooth. The upgraded interior is comfortable, even on long highway stretches.
Fuel economy of up to 156.9mpg is impressive and it has low average CO2 emissions of 44 to 47g/km. I limited my off-road antics to navigating a mud track, which it handled well.
Driven: Ray with the compass. Prices for the entry-level Night Eagle start at £29,895
It is packed with high-tech security kit. But this was my main gripe. A little too much babysitting. I was startled by sudden, loud, and apparently random security warnings and alerts that couldn’t easily determine exactly what the alert was about.
Warnings are good and welcome. But they need to be more specific and easy to understand.
The compass generates its own power during transport through regenerative braking.
There’s voice control, Alexa, and the ability to drive up to eight electronic devices – a far cry from the days of World War II.
Fittingly, production has shifted from India to Melfi in Italy, where the original Jeep saw some action.
Will it fit in my garage? Jeep Compass Trailhawk PHEV
Award: from £39,895
Price as driven: £42,645
Jeep Compass range: from £29,895 to £40,895
Length: 4398 mm
Width: (with mirrors): 2033mm
Width (without mirrors): 1819 mm
Height: 1664 mm
Height (including roof rail): 1659 mm
Wheelbase: 2636 mm
Wading depth: 500 mm
Propulsion: Petrol-electric plug-in hybrid (PHEV)
Petrol engine: 1.3 liter turbo T4 petrol (180hp) Electric engine: 60 hp
Total power: 240 hp
Transfer: 6-speed automatic four-wheel drive
0-62 mph: 7.3 seconds
Top speed: 124 mph
Top speed electric only: 80 mph
Electric Range Only: 30 miles
Fuel tank capacity: 36.5 liters
CO2 emissions: 44 to 47 g/km
Fuel efficiency: 141.2 to 156.9 mpg (assuming fully charged)
Drive settings: Sport, Auto (standard), snow, sand/mud and rock.
Driving modes: Hybrid, electric or a “save” mode.
Boot space: 438 liters
Compass trim levels: Nighteagle, Limited, S, Trailhawk
EXTRA ON MY CAR
Technology and Convenience Package: £1,750
Colorado Red Color: £700
Total options: £2,750
Facelift for Skoda’s Karoq family
Skoda’s Karoq family SUV has received a New Year facelift, with improved infotainment technology and a look designed to appeal to vegetarians and vegans, including seat covers made from recycled materials.
The manufacturer says: “The seat covers contain details made of vegan, leather-like materials and the armrests are made of Suedia (microsuede) exclusively in suede brown.”
All change: The upgrade comes four years after the Karoq’s launch in 2017
There are five engine types: two diesels and three petrol engines from 110 hp to 190 hp. A 2.0 TSI (190PS) is reserved for the Karoq SportLine with four-wheel drive. 2.0 TDI diesel (150 hp) is available with front or four-wheel drive. Prices start at £24,500. There is a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG for the three engines.
The upgrade comes four years after Karoq’s launch in 2017.
Engine myths shattered by new research
Myths about female car buyers, ‘stingy’ Scots and financially cautious pensioners have been shattered by a new survey of car buying behavior which car manufacturers and dealers should ignore at their peril.
It reveals that despite marketing’s emphasis on the edgy ‘youth market’, it is retirees who are most likely to buy a new car.
In the driver’s seat: Women are most likely to remain loyal to their original retailer
Women aged 56 and over make up the largest segment of new car customers. Women are also most likely to remain loyal to their original retailer.
Across the UK, Scots are more likely to buy new than drivers in England or Wales, which are proportionally the biggest used car markets.
The study of more than 7,000 new car buyers and almost 9,000 used car owners was conducted by Autovia, which includes motoring magazine and website Auto Express.
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