Jeep has always managed to remain true to its original roots, with the American brand continuing to only sell SUVs and 4x4s. More recently, though, and as times change, we’ve begun to see a new side to this firm – electrification.
Yes, even the most traditionalist brands aren’t immune to their effect on the climate, so it’s why even Jeep has had to set about introducing hybrids to its range. While the Renegade 4xe launched last year as the firm’s first electrified model, there’s now a second option in the UK – the Compass 4xe.
Debuting at the same time as a revised Compass – Jeep’s mid-size SUV – the model has received a slight facelift, while inside it benefits from an overhaul in terms of both quality and technology. But does it all come together? Let’s get behind the wheel.
While Jeep will also offer a new 129bhp 1.3-litre petrol on its own, it’s this engine that underpins the 4xe plug-in hybrid powertrain.
For the PHEV, the engine itself is tuned to 178bhp, and is teamed with an electric motor on the rear axle to generate 237bhp in all. It makes it the most powerful Compass ever made by far, with 0-60mph taking 7.5 seconds and reaching a top speed of 124mph.
As the name might suggest, it’s also four-wheel-drive and uses a six-speed automatic gearbox. It also uses a 11.4kWh battery, which Jeep says allows for 30 miles of electric driving. Charge regularly and you could get up to 150mpg, along with sub-30g/km CO2 emissions.
Ride and handling
Out on the road the Compass feels smooth and comfortable, while the powertrain is more than punchy enough, if not perhaps quite as quick as the claimed figures suggest. It’s not the most refined choice, though, as the engine is noisy when you put your foot down, while the gearbox can be quite slow to respond as well.
Where it stands out from the class, though, is when it comes to its off-roading ability. Jeep says the hybrid is just as good in trickier conditions as standard four-wheel-drive cars. We got to try it on a relatively challenging off-road course, and it proved to be more than admirable.
Aside from the hybrid powertrain, the main change on the Compass is its interior. It really is night and day better than its predecessor, with the cheap-looking and feeling cabin being replaced by a lot more style and sophistication. The whole cabin layout has had a makeover for the better, while there’s a new tablet-like 10.1-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard, which is again a huge improvement. A new steering wheel and large digital instrument cluster are other very welcome additions too.
The cabin also offers a decent amount of interior space, while there’s plenty of room in the rear for adults to sit comfortably. This updated model also offers far more interior storage than before, too. The only downside is that the Compass doesn’t have the biggest of boots, with its 438-litre trunk lagging behind rivals like the Ford Kuga Plug-in Hybrid.
Kicking off the Compass range is the Nighteagle model, though it still gets plenty of standard equipment, such as 18-inch alloy wheels, front and right parking sensors, a 10.1-inch touchscreen with wireless smartphone mirroring and a 10.1-inch digital instrument cluster.
Up next is the Limited, which brings keyless entry, adaptive cruise control and self-parking functionality. This is followed by the S, which gets body-coloured front bumpers, black 19-inch alloy wheels, an electric boot and leather seats.
Right at the top of the range is the off-road focused Trailhawk, which gets a raft of new styling elements, an advanced terrain control system and a beefed-up suspension that gives the Compass greater ground clearance.
The Compass range is split, meaning that the lower-level Nighteagle and Limited versions are restricted to the petrol engine, with the higher trims only offered with the plug-in hybrid.
So prices kick off from £28,895 for the Nighteagle or £30,895 for the higher-spec Limited. Meanwhile the hybrid starts from £39,895 in Trailhawk guise and £40,895 for the S.
Compared to the previous Compass, this new model is better in every possible way. It’s the interior that represents the biggest step up, with technology and quality that really move the game on significantly for Jeep.
It’s also better to drive, while the addition of the 4xe plug-in hybrid is welcome too – especially for those looking to reduce their running costs without compromising any of Jeep’s ruggedness. While there might be more well-rounded hybrid SUVs on the market, there’s certainly lots to like about this new Compass.Enquire on a new Jeep Compass