this famous name seems to have lost its sense of direction

This transition is not very fine-tuned, and since the petrol engine is quite laggy, it is still not very gritty, so you will find yourself pressing the accelerator pedal even harder. This spurs the gearbox to a rather sudden downshift, gets the turbo on song and pushes you forward perhaps more urgently than intended.

The compass’s way of bumping contributes to its rather crazy feeling on the road. None of the SUVs sitting on this Fiat-Chrysler “Small Wide” platform work particularly well, but the Compass feels particularly woody, stumbles stiffly over lumps in the road and thumps the wheels in pits.

You might think that this trend would erode on the fly, and it does – but 4xe still feels unshakable even on the highway, commuting and swaying over waves, which makes it feel anxious and not very relaxing.

Much better

If you expect this to be a rather uninspiring driving experience once you have entered a smaller, narrower road, you are partly right. But it’s actually not that bad.

This is mainly because when you switch it from “Auto” to “Sport” mode, the two powertrains work in parallel, rather than in series. This means that the petrol engine works with the electric motors, rather than turning on as a spare when the motors can do no more.

Now suddenly the driveline feels very well judged. At low revs, the compass moves forward, the electric motors fill the gap in torque left by the petrol engine’s turbo delay, and when the engines rev down, the engine’s turbo comes right on track, giving you plenty of great operation at the top of the rev range as well. Why can it not be so in “Auto” mode?

It’s even quite entertaining to drive, the body counteracts slopes quite well, the front end eagerly dives into corners and the engines on the rear axle work independently to give propulsion to the wheel that has the most grip, mimicking the effect of a limited -lide differential .

Underneath, you can also feel the hand of Italian chassis engineers, although their best efforts are overwhelmed by the numb steering, as well as the habit of the stiff suspension to turn off the car too easily, which makes you find yourself having to adjust your line a little too much in the middle of the corner.

Expensive choice

Is any of this enough to make Compass a car you would like to buy? Not really. Especially when you include its price; Although this S version is the top specific model, it will give you back almost 41,000 pounds. And you can add another £ 1,100 to it if you want them to paint the body in a color other than black, which feels like a bit of a rip-off.

With color included, a similar Kia Sportage PHEV will give you back only £ 400 more; it’s a better car, and has a seven year warranty for good, so it’s well worth it. And a Vauxhall Grandland Hybrid-E in top-specific Ultimate form costs more than £ 2,000 less.

Of course, this also affects the company car users’ voters, for whom the high P11D value will be a shutdown. And in combination with relatively unimpressive CO2 emissions – for a PHEV, that is – at 44 g / km, it will make this an expensive company car to choose from. In real terms, what it means for someone who pays the higher income tax is that the Jeep will cost almost £ 500 more per year in company car tax than Vauxhall – and almost £ 1,000 more than Kia.

Telegraph domains

Even at its best, the Compass 4xe is just mediocre – but in the worst case, it feels cheap, sticky and poorly finished. It’s OK to rush along a back road, but never more than that – and everywhere else it feels heavy and shady.

You might be able to forgive this if it was priced accordingly, but it is not. And so it is even if you choose one as a company car, which is really the last nail in its coffin.

With that in mind, it’s very difficult to recommend this car beyond its much more perfect rivals. Unfortunately, this particular compass is not one that will help Jeep change direction.

Telegraph rating: Two stars out of five

Facts

  • On test: Jeep Compass 4xe S
  • Body: five-door SUV
  • On sale now
  • How much? £ 40,895 on the road (from £ 30,705)
  • How fast? 124 mph, 0-62 mph in 7.3 sec
  • How economical? 149 mpg (WLTP combined)
  • Engine and gearbox: 1,322 cc four-cylinder petrol turbo, six-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive
  • Electric driveline: two AC motors with an 11.4 kWh battery, 7.2 kW built-in charger, type 2 charging socket
  • Electrical range: 30 miles (WLTP combined EAER)
  • Maximum power / torque: 236bhp / N / A lb ft
  • CO2 emissions: 44g / km (WLTP combined)
  • BY: £ 0 first year, £ 510 next five years, then £ 155
  • Warranty: 3 years / unlimited miles
  • Spare wheel as standard: No (optional)

Rivals

Vauxhall Grandland 1.6 Plug-in Hybrid-E 225 Ultimate

222bhp, 192 mpg, £ 38,125 on the road

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