2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk 2.0 Multijet Test Drive: The Baby Grand Cherokee
Jeep adds a new member to its all-SUV range
Take the technical platform of the Jeep Renegade and mix it with the looks of the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The result is the new Jeep Compass, the fifth member of the family. It slots in the Jeep range between the Renegade and the Cherokee, and tackles the compact European SUV segment, one of the most competitive. It needs to lure customers from other models like the Volkswagen Tiguan, Seat Ateca, Peugeot 3008, Nissan Qashqai or the Ford Kuga.
Created for:highwaysoff road
Hats off for:sound system
Bang for the buck:meh
The new Jeep Compass uses the same engines found on the smaller Renegade and its Italian doppelganger Fiat 500X. The Multijet family of diesel engines is the core, but potential clients can alsp choose a 1.4 MultiAir2 Turbo petrol engine delivering 140 hp or 170 hp, or the TigerShark 2.4 unit that will be available only in Russia, Africa and the Middle East.
At the European launch in Portugal we got the chance to test drive the Trailhawk version of the Compass, equipped with the powerful 2.0 Multijet diesel engine. It delivers 170 hp at 3.750 rpm, and 380 Nm of torque at 1.750 rpm.
Paired with the 9-speed automatic gearbox, this engine is the most powerful diesel offering for the European market.
It pulls from low revs, and keeps pulling 'till the red line of the rev counter, but still the car feels heavy. The automatic gearbox does not help either, making you feel every gear change on the way.
The transmission feels set-up for off-road driving rather than the daily commute through town, and holds on to the first and second gear a bit longer that it should.
The Trailhawk version of the new Jeep Compass features extra body cladding, higher ground clearance, a low-range gearbox and steeper approach angles. But most buyers will probably spend more time on the road, and this is why the new Jeep feel a little compromised.
The steering has decent weight but provides little feedback to the driver. The suspension handles well on the smooth Portuguese roads, but when the speed rises it starts to feel unsettled.
The small amount of off-road driving we did on a rocky dirt road did not faze the car, and it has quite a lot of potential for doing some serious off-roading, a quality less frequently encountered in the compact SUV segment.
The Jeep Compass is still young, so it has yet to appear in front of the crash-test assessment organizations like EuroNCAP. But, its smaller brother, the Renegade, was assessed in 2014 and received a full five stars scoring. We expect a similar score for the new Jeep Compass.
With a spacious enough interior, the new Compass welcomes its passengers with comfortable seats. They offer plenty of support and a wide range of adjustments that make the front occupants to feel at home.
Space in the back is sufficient, but if the car is equipped with the panoramic sunroof, head room for adults is reduced.
Overall quality of the materials used is good, but there are still small pieces of plastic that feel brittle like the control stalks and the door-panel switchgear. Those elements are shared with the smaller Renegade. The chunky steering wheel is a nice addition, but the rest of the cabin switchgear cannot match similary-specced rivals for cabin quality.
The trunk of the new Compass provides a good amount of room, plus a floor that can be set on three levels. At the lowest level, the trunk has a volume of 438 liters, better than Nissan Qashqai, but short of the VW Tiguan's cavernous 615 liters. The rear seats can be dropped only from the side doors. Compass features a power liftgate helping ease cargo storage.
The Uconnect system is available with three sizes of touchscreen. The smallest measures 5.0 inches, while the top-specced versions get the 7.0 or the 8.4-inch screens. The system controls the sat-nav, entertainment, and other gadgets. it has good graphics but it's a bit fiddly to use. The air conditioning gets separate controls, but this means a lot of buttons on the centre console.
The larger 2.0 170 hp diesel engine is not the most efficient proposition from Jeep. If you seek an efficient version, then go for the 1.6 Multijet with 120 hp. This version has an official average consumption figure of 4,4 l/100 km. The 2.0 Multijet 170 hp from the Trailhawk top-of-range version will need 5,7 l for every 100 km.
On our test route in Portugal, route that also included an off-road bit, the Compass Trailhawk averaeged 11 l/100 km .
The Trailhawk version of the new Compass is the most expensive but offers a lot of kit. It's different from the normal versions by featuring more rugged looks, extra body cladding, higher ground clearance, a low-range gearbox and steeper approach angles. The Jeep Selec-Terrain system provides up to five modes (Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud modes, plus exclusive Rock mode on the Trailhawk model) for the best four-wheel-drive performance on any surface.
Prices for the new Jeep Compass in Europe are available for the Italian and German markets. They range from €24.900 to €38.500 for the top Trailhawk version.