2.2 CRD Limited 4x4
iconic American Jeep brand
is celebrating its 70th anniversary
in 2011 and the first of a raft of new
sale this week with
on-the-road prices from £16,995 to
£23,995 is the new Jeep Compass
range of two- and four-wheel drive
LAST YEAR THE JEEP BRAND, together with Chrysler, came under the ownership
of Fiat Group Automobiles Italy. The Chrysler Jeep alliance with Fiat follows
several ill-fated partnerships with other manufactures but worst of all the
brands were hit hard by the global recession, the increase in oil prices, the
high running costs of 4x4s and large-engined models and, in the UK, the anti-4x4
Sales of Jeep vehicles in the UK last year fell to just 2,078 vehicles
down from a 'high' of 15,000 in 2002. However, Jeep expect to sell around 1,500
new Compass vehicles in the remainder of 2011 in the UK, and over 2,000 in 2012.
new Compass continues Jeep's long-standing iconic heritage of SUV vehicles but
this updated range is the first line-up ever to offer two-wheel drive models
as well as 4x4 versions, reflecting the fact that between the years 2,000 and
2010 in the UK, the segment, which includes crossover SUV types, has grown nearly
threefold from 50,000 sales a year to 140,000 last year.
The new Compass
heritage of SUV vehicles
but this updated range
is the first line-up
ever to offer 2WD as
well as 4x4...
The current market leader is the Nissan Qashqai but this sector includes other
high-selling models such as the Land Rover Freelander, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4,
Peugeot 3008, Ford Kuga, Mitsubishi's Outlander and ASX, Suzuki Grand Vitara,
Volkswagen Tiguan and the premium brand BMW X3 and Audi Q5 models.
Jeep's revised design for the Compass includes shorter front and rear overhangs
to improve off-road performance with a revised version of the iconic Jeep 'family'
grille, new front and rear bumpers, flared wheelarches and more body brightwork.
In the cabin you'll find wide use of soft-feel upmarket trims with leather upholstery
and a high-end sound system with multiple speakers for top spec models but,
as in the past, even the lowest specification models still come very well equipped
as standard. Customers can choose from four trim levels: Sport, expected to
take six per cent of UK sales; Sport+ with 25%, Limited (55%) and 70th Anniversary
Three different engines are on offer: two petrol and one diesel. These have
four power outputs and deliver significantly improved performance and economy
over the powerplants they replace. Two thirds of sales are expected to be for
the new 2.2-litre CRD turbodiesel unit. This comes either with 134bhp or as
a high-output 161bhp version. It's an in-line four-pot Mercedes-Benz engine
featuring the latest common rail technology and has been co-developed specially
for the Compass.
petrol engines can be either 2.0 or 2.4-litre with 154bhp or 168bhp and are
Chrysler's 'World Engines'. Both feature dual Variable Valve Timing by twin
overhead camshafts. The
2.0-litre petrol engine drives through a five-speed manual transmission, has
2WD and around 25 per cent of customers are expected to go for this price-led
134bhp 2.2 diesel unit is mated with a six-speed manual 'box, is 2WD only and
will take around 33% of sales. The 161bhp 2.2 unit has a six-speed manual 'box
is fitted with Jeep's new Freedom Drive I active 4WD system; this version will
also take 33% of sales.
168bhp 2.4 petrol engine has a CVT automatic transmission plus Freedom Drive
I as standard and will take around 9% of sales. 2WD-only Compass models are
expected to account for 40% of UK sales.
is famous for its legendary go-anywhere ability and with its
Freedom Drive system
is no different...
Jeep is, of course, famous for its legendary go-anywhere ability
and with its Freedom Drive I system the Compass is no different. FDI is a full-time
active 4WD system featuring a locking mode that provides reassuring performance
in low traction conditions. During normal driving, power is sent to the front
wheels in order to save fuel.
However, the system automatically moves power from the front to the rear axle
as needed as soon as wheel slippage is detected. The system also features a
locking function to send an equal amount of power to the front and rear for
maximum traction in demanding terrain operating the T handle on
the centre console disables the automatic function and enforces a torque split
of 50:50 between front and rear wheels, enabling the driver to cope with deep
snow, sand or other slippery surfaces.
Jeeps are also noted for their towing capabilities: the petrol and diesel 2WD
versions can tow up to 1,200kg; the 2.4 petrol 4x4 1,500kg; and the 2.2 diesel
Jeeps are also well-known for their high standard specification. Every Compass
model has automatic climate control or air conditioning, leather upholstery
is standard on the top grade versions as too are heated front seats and an electrically-operated
driver's seat. All models feature chrome rings surrounding the air vents, illuminated
cupholders in the centre console, leather-wrapped handbrake and steering wheel,
LED backlit gauges and a new rake-adjustable steering wheel with built-in controls
for the sound system, cruise control and handsfree 'phone.
Electric windows are standard throughout, the power-fold mirrors are heated
and there's remote central locking. The electronic vehicle information centre
incorporates a trip computer and displays key info such as average mpg, distance
to empty, a compass and the outside temperature. All models have alloy wheels.
and Sport+ models feature a Media Centre CD player with MP3 compatibility, while
the Limited and 70th Anniversary versions add a 6-CD system. All models come
with four speakers and an audio jack for connecting MP3 players. Owners of Sport+
models and above get a USB socket and can connect their mobiles and use them
handsfree with Uconnect Bluetooth. The Uconnect sound and navigation system
is available as an option on Limited and 70th Anniversary versions.
to ensure music fans get the most out of their stored tunes, the sound and navigation
option incorporates a Boston Acoustics premium sound system. This features an
eight-channel, 368-watt amplifier with nine speakers including a powerful subwoofer.
Speakers that flip down from the tailgate when it's open allow owners to enjoy
their music from outside their car too.
specification aside, the main idea behind the Jeep Compass has been to get all
the basics right.
Initial impressions of
the 161bhp turbodiesel
was its refinement.
And despite the high
gearing (for good fuel economy and lower
it was responsive
and easy to drive...
The rear seat is a good example it has plenty of leg, head and
shoulder room for three people and the backrest will recline through 12 degrees
for better relaxation; it also splits 60:40 and folds forwards and flat to make
the most of the load space. With the rear seats in use, luggage room
although not the largest in this segment is an adequate 458 litres.
With the seats folded down this increases to 1,269 litres.
My very brief 'first drive' was in potentially the best-selling new Compass
2.2-litre CRD turbodiesel Limited 4x4 version costing £23,595, which just about
undercuts most of the main competition. The initial impression of the 161bhp
turbodiesel engine from Mercedes-Benz was its refinement. Despite the high gearing
in the six-speed manual 'box (adopted for good fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions),
it was responsive and untroubled. Having peak torque of 236lb ft from only 1,400rpm
made it easy and forgiving to drive.
Officially, average fuel consumption is 42.8mpg and my test car returned 36.2mpg
driven over a short journey taking in winding country roads, dual carriageways
and some stop and start town traffic. The CO2 emissions of 172g/km means a high
road tax bill of £265 in the First Year and then £190 for the second year onwards
significantly higher than a Nissan Qashqai 2.0-litre diesel 4x4
and also higher than manual transmission versions of the 2.2-litre diesel Freelander.
The handling and ride comfort are not up to the standard set by the main 'soft'
off-roaders in the sector. The ride is firm and made worse by the 18-inch alloy
wheels on the top spec models; although there were no test versions available
with 17-inch wheels, I suspect they will offer a more comfortable ride. But
the new Compass, like all Jeeps of the past, is no 'softy' 4x4
it is absolutely the 'real-deal' in strength, durability and robustness so the
firm ride was to be expected.
Other fine handling SUV/4x4s have driven sales in this growing market sector
and the Compass follows rather than leads in outright ability and refinement.
It also incurs high taxes, has as yet unproven residuals and is currently serviced
by a small dealer network (Chrysler Jeep already has 48 UK sales points but
by the end of 2012 this will have grown to 70 dealers and a projected 90 in
On the plus side it has smart, clean-cut new Jeep styling, an iconic seventy-year
heritage, strong engine, good all-wheel drive system, should be good off-road
and reassuring on Winter roads, is well equipped and the brand is now under
new European ownership.
Overall, the Compass looks well put together and a definite improvement in design
inside and out. With the limited numbers Jeep expects to sell in a growing market,
I believe it will meet the demands of hardcore 4x4 enthusiasts who enjoy such
vehicles especially throughout the UK's unpredictable Winters.
Jeep Compass 2.2 CRD Limited 4x4 | £23,595
Maximum speed: 125mph | 0-62mph: 9.8 seconds | Overall Test MPG:
Power: 161bhp | Torque: 236lb ft | CO2 172g/km