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Jeep Compass 2.0 multijet-2 170hp 4WD Auto Limited
11 January 2018
Author: Debbie Wood
140 and 170hp 1.4
120hp 1.6, 140 and 170hp 2.0
Sport, Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk
Six-speed manual, nine-speed automatic
When it comes to rough and tough off-roading, few can boast a heritage as rich as Jeep and the firm is hoping to build on the success of the recent Renegade SUV, launched in 2015, which has been a surprise hit in both retail and fleet markets.
Both the Renegade and Cherokee offer some stand-out design features that aren't to everyone's taste; however, the Compass, unlike its siblings, opts for a more conservative look in the hope of appealing to a broader audience.
Slip behind the wheel and the cabin boasts good overall quality with plenty of head and legroom throughout ? although it doesn't quite feel as premium as its Volkswagen rivals, despite the firm's aspirations. That said, it is still a comfortable place to be, with materials that feel built to last and plenty of practical storage options too, plus a large 438-litre boot that easily stands up against the competition.
There's a choice of two petrols and three diesels here in the UK, available in both two and four-wheel guises. Our test car is fitted with the firm's most powerful 2.0-litre diesel and four-wheel drive system; however, it's the two-wheel drive versions that are expected to take the lion's share of sales in the UK. We didn't take the Compass off road on this occasion, but we're pretty confident of its abilities in this department. The car comes equipped with plenty of off-road wizardry including Active Drive, which switches from 2WD and 4WD automatically, and a Selec-Terrain system, which offers different driving modes for extra traction on various surfaces.
Mated to the engine is a nine-speed automatic, which for the most part provided slick gear changes, but the 2.0-litre diesel sounds fairly utilitarian at times and is not the most refined engine. However, the 170hp and 380Nm of torque provides plenty of power to gain speeds quickly - albeit noisily - plus the ride quality is surprisingly supple too, largely thanks to some new shock absorbers.
There's a little body roll in the corners, as you would expect from a car of this size (the Compass is no sports car, of course), but the steering proved well weighted and the car is easy to drive around tighter city streets as well as on the motorway.
When it comes to running costs the argument for this engine starts to come slightly undone, however, with an official combined fuel economy of just 42.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 148g/km. You really have to need the four-wheel drive capabilities to justify this spec; otherwise, the smaller lower-powered 1.6-litre diesel is probably the most sensible choice.
The Compass is available in four trims; Sport, Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk. Mid-range Limited, the model we're testing here, is likely to be the most popular here in the UK, and comes with an impressive amount of kit as standard including 18in alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay, keyless entry, heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, 8.4in infotainment touchscreen with sat-nav, plus a whole host of safety kit including lane departure warning - which will also steer you back into lane - blind spot monitoring, reversing camera, and front and rear parking sensors.
The infotainment system is easy to use, although not as technically advanced as some rivals, while the safety features are not too intrusive either and worked very well during the test.
We're yet to get the whole-life costs for the Compass, so where it sits in terms of rivals will have to remain a mystery for now. What we do know is that the Compass is a likeable and practical SUV that offers lots of character and some very generous standard equipment.
Our advice: don't go for this engine unless you really need the off-road ability - the lower-powered diesel or 1.4-litre petrol is a better bet for keeping running costs low.