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Jeep Compass review

The Jeep Compass is a compact 4x4 that sits snuggly between the mighty Renegade and Cherokee in the Jeep range. It comes with a choice of petrol and diesel engines and its roomy, practical interior makes it an ideal family car. Some versions have two-wheel drive while others send power to all four wheels for serious off-road ability.


The Jeep Compass’s rugged good looks compare very favourably with the styling of much of its SUV competition. The Jeep’s face is dominated by a wide, shallow grille and narrow headlights, the wheel arches are squared off and the rear end is neatly proportioned.  

Every Compass has a high-riding stance. The four-wheel-drive versions sit slightly taller and the off-road-oriented Trailhawk is even higher, with slimmed-down bumpers to help it negotiate steep terrain - hopefully without too much risk to the bodywork. 

All Compasses get alloy wheels, while the popular Longitude trim features front fog lights and power-folding door mirrors – handy when negotiating a tight gap. 

grey jeep compass front

The Jeep Compass’s rugged good looks compare very favourably with the styling of much of its SUV competition.

What’s it like to drive?

When new, the Jeep Compass comes with a 1.6-litre diesel ‘MultiJet’ engine, a 2.0-litre diesel and a 1.4-litre ‘MultiAir’ petrol engine. The lower-powered petrol and diesel engines come with front-wheel drive, while more powerful versions get four-wheel-drive for genuine off-road ability that could get you out of a sticky situation in a festival field. The more powerful diesel engine is also the one to go for if you want to tow a trailer. 

The Compass is also good to drive on the road. Sure, the body leans a bit on roundabouts though the suspension deals with most bumps effectively in town and is even better at motorway speeds, where none of the engine types struggles to keep up with the flow of traffic. 

grey jeep compass rear driving

The suspension deals with most bumps effectively in town and is even better at motorway speeds


It’s easy to get comfortable behind the Jeep Compass steering wheel thanks to a good range of seat and wheel adjustments and a high-set position that gives a good view out.  There’s plenty of head and legroom whether you’re in the front or rear seats, and even a centre rear-seat passenger will be reasonably happy.  

The Compass dashboard doesn’t feature as many soft-touch plastics as, say, a Volkswagen Tiguan. It’s still well put together. On most models, the dash is dominated by a responsive 8.4-inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring. The screen is used to operate the audio, sat-nav and some aspects of the ventilation. Physical buttons beneath it let you control temperature, air flow and audio volume. 

You’ll find a dial on the centre console to control the off-road modes on four-wheel-drive cars, plus an electronic parking brake, and the multi-function steering wheel has additional buttons for the cruise control and touchscreen. 

As standard, most cars have a digital radio with six speakers and Bluetooth, a USB socket, advanced brake assist, a raft of airbags, lane departure warning, a reversing camera and auto headlights and wipers. Pretty extensive package, right there.   

jeep compass interior


The Jeep Compass is known for its family-friendly credentials and has plenty of features to back this up. There are bins in all doors, as well as cubby holes scattered around the front of the interior, a glovebox, small netted areas and pockets in the backs of the front seats.  

The rear wheel arches intrude into the boot space a little, but there’s enough space for a couple of suitcases and squashy bags, though the Peugeot 3008 has more space. Most cars have a height-adjustable boot floor and the rear seat backs are split 60/40. With them folded, the boot will be able to accommodate longer loads, and once you’re finished some versions allow you to close the boot door electronically. 

Running costs and reliability

The most efficient engine is the 1.6 Multijet diesel with a manual gearbox, offering an official average economy figure of 43mpg. The thirstiest diesel is the 2.0 Multijet – this version averages 38.7mpg officially, though as always individual cars can vary. The most economical petrol engine is the 1.4 with a manual box – this has 36.7mpg on average.

What we love

We love the way the Jeep Compass looks. It’s a tastefully designed crossover that looks like it could get through a Dartmoor bog with no bother – and it probably would if you opt for a four-wheel-drive version. We also love the amount of space on offer for occupants and the safety kit. The outer rear seats also get Isofix mounting points for child seats – this makes the Compass well-suited to family life.


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Town and country drivers

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The Jeep Compass is for those who need a family-sized crossover and – in 4x4 guise – like the idea of go-anywhere ability when the weather and terrain throws a spanner in the works. There’s plenty of room on offer for passengers and their bags, plus the slick styling gets a bonus thumbs-up.

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