The uniquely distinct Jeep Wrangler and Cherokee have always represented a unique choice for the average motorist. With the trademark 7 slot front grille across the range, Trapezoidal wheel arches, rugged looks and off-road capabilities, this American icon has been turned into a worldwide brand. For over 76 years now, Jeep has established itself as the brand that represents freedom, authenticity, adventure and passion. With an ever-increasing loyal customer base, Jeep is exceeding sales targets worldwide.
With manufacturing bases in Brazil, China and India, Jeep has firmly established itself as an international leader in car manufacturing and development.
As a kid growing up in the 1980s, the Jeep Wrangler was always present in any American adventure film or TV series (usually Colonel Decker chasing the A-team in his army issue Wrangler) and in the 1980’s my wealthy best friends Dad had a Grand Cherokee. I recall feeling quite privileged and a bit different when travelling in the vehicle, particularly as it had such a luxurious feel to it with full leather interior, electric windows front and back, a really solid ride and was equipped with one of the first car phones. This was a big vehicle that any owner would be proud of.
The Grand Cherokee came with contemporary premium design, 4×4 off-road capability, unique and premium interiors and according to Jeep, these features have been carried over in to the new Jeep Compass.
Since then, car technology and Markets have moved on and the SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) market is now the fastest-growing sector within the car manufacturing industry. Measuring 4.4 meters long, the Jeep compass fits neatly into the CSUV (crossover sports utility vehicle) sector and comes with a host of Jeep Credentials.
In terms of overall first impressions, the Compass is undeniably a Jeep. It looks like the larger Grand Cherokee and slots between the smaller Renegade and Grand Cherokee in terms of size. The Compass feels large and retains the rugged appeal it has always had yet at the same time looks refined and considered.
The trademark 7 slot grill and Trapezoidal wheel arches sit elegantly alongside the black roof and angular pillars. The DLO (Day light opening) moulding to the windows is echoed in the kicked-up rear LED Tail lamps and headlamps, giving the compass an angular yet sleek appearance.
The cabin interior has a high flat roof and feels spacious and light. The high seating position gives you an exceptional field of vision for both driver and rear passengers (particularly with the optional extra of a full sunroof) and the two-tone leather interior in a hole punch type design is both contemporary and intriguing. The rear seating has plenty of legroom and the boot area is more than adequate for general use.
We test drove the 2.0 multi jet -2 170HP 4WD priced at £34,295 and the 1.6 Multi Jet 120hp 2WD priced at £28,995.00 around Brighton and the countryside. The 2.0 model comes with an automatic 9-speed gearbox and 4WD Active Drive with Jeeps own Selec -train technology.
As we drove away from the meeting point, the roar and volume of the engine was the most prominent sound. A reminder that despite its looks, this is a rugged vehicle that is powered not just for road use but also for off-road. The change through the gears on the automatic was surprisingly delayed and almost felt at times that the engine was underpowered, although at speed, this car competes with other road vehicles effortlessly.
The 1.6 model we test drove was actually quicker off the mark and felt nippier. The engine was noisier than the 2.0 model but that may have just been me getting used to the difference of engine size.
I felt very safe, almost cocooned within the vehicle and the high driving position gives you a great feeling of security in that you have an unobstructed view of the road ahead.
The ride is smooth and across the range, jeep has developed frequency sensitive dampening suspension shock absorbers. This Technology can change the absorbers behaviour, depending on what surface your on, be that off or on road.
The Macpherson front shock absorbers and rear Chapman suspension system are very unique to this segment of the market and has been developed to make the capability of the vehicle to have the best wheel articulation and to allow the Compass to keep the wheels on the ground at all times. This coupled with Jeeps unique active overdrive system, allows a seamless change when switching from 4wd to 2wd or vice versa.
Our test models came equipped with and 8.4 inch ‘U connect’ Navigation/stereo system with all the latest features, including a 9 speaker ‘Beats’ audio system.
This is the 4th generation of the ‘U connect’ and Jeep have certainly got it right. Once given brief instructions on how to use the system it actually became very intuitive. The sat nav recognised our destination immediately and took us effortlessly to it. The stereo works with Apple Car Play and Android Auto and at full volume, the sound is clear and precise.
There is no doubt that the Jeep Compass is a premium vehicle, both on and off-road. The more expensive models have the additional extras such as; as collision warning cameras, lane warning departure system and radar ‘stop and go’ functionality when using cruise control. It really depends on how much you want to spend, the look you require and how much you trust your own driving. The Jeep Compass has been independently crash tested and has a 5 Star rating in the NCAP 2017 rating. So whatever your budget, you can be assured this car is safe.
Added to the adventure is Jeeps innovative Selec-train technology, which as you would expect, enhances the whole 4×4 experience when off-road. It is recognised that in the SUV sector, this is lost on the average commuter. But if you’re a testosterone-fueled driver you’ll appreciate just knowing its there.
The Compass is packed with over 70 active and passive safety features, even on the entry-level and with a compelling starting price of £23,000.00, this is an informed choice of vehicle for any motorist.