How's the Jeep Compass

Jeep Compass (2021) with facelift in the test

What do you think of when you think of Jeep? Deeply furrowed mud slopes, dunes in the desert, snow mountains or maybe even rocky river crossings? Then you feel very much like me.

And I even have to think about it when it comes to C-segment SUVs like the recently relaunched Compass. It's Jeep on the hood and the seven radiator grille ribs and the trapezoidal wheel arches make me have dirty thoughts straight away.

By mid-2020, the Compass was technically pretty well equipped for such all-wheel messes. But then even the "real" 4x4 was thrown out of the Trailhawk and since then the compact Jeep has only been available with 4xe - i.e. with plug-in hybrid drive and conventional front-wheel and electric rear-wheel drive. No more limited slip differentials.

What remained: The exclusive "Rock" mode in the drive programs for the Trailhawk, improved approach angle, steel underrun protection and electronic components packaged in a watertight manner.

There used to be more all-wheel drive

That is why it happens to me all the more often that I like to think back to 2017, when I was allowed to ride the off-road slopes in Portugal with the last real all-wheel-drive compass. By the way, you can read the test here. The internet doesn't forget either.

But let's catapult ourselves back into the present. Because in order to remain interesting for the picky clientele in the competitive C-segment of SUVs, there is apparently no longer any need for tough all-wheel drives in this vehicle class. In addition to efficient drives with PHEV technology, the points of safety, technology and functionality are much more important. But still happy to pack it in a design that subliminally invites you to take an overland trip around the world.

With the lifted Compass, the visual changes are mainly limited to the front section. Everything looks a bit wider than before. Where the fog lights were previously housed in separate housings in the bumper, they are now integrated into a horizontal lattice structure that spans the entire width.

Trackhawk in miniature

In addition, the new full LED headlights, which are flanked by daytime running lights above, catch the eye. Nice about the "S" equipment line that is now being used? Jeep paints many otherwise mouse-gray plastic components in the same color as the car. In combination with large rims, this almost makes the Compass a small Grand Cherokee Trackhawk (at least visually).

But of course Jeep doesn't put a V8 with over 700 hp under the compact hood. You also want to heave topics such as sustainability into the compass. During my test drive, I decided on what will probably be the most common unit in the future. A 1.3-liter four-cylinder petrol engine with 150 hp, which is combined in the Compass with a six-speed dual clutch transmission. It drives the front wheels ... exclusively.

The 1.5 ton SUV is sufficiently motorized and even if the brilliant WOW effect does not materialize and the hectic double clutch is too European for the casual American look (but also for my compact SUV comfort habits), the drive train works otherwise pretty inconspicuous.

With a test consumption of 7.9 liters per 100 kilometers. When it comes to consumption, the new PHEV models do better, but only as long as the 11.4 kW battery has juice. In theory, that's enough for a purely electric drive of 47 to 49 kilometers. In practice, around 30 kilometers are more realistic.

Assistant, assistant, assistant

In terms of safety, the compact Jeep also retrofits. In addition to the "Forward Collision Warning" and "LaneSense Departure Warning" systems, electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll stabilization (ERM) and front, side and side window airbags, new active and built in passive safety features.

The traffic sign recognition is worth mentioning. Unfortunately, it does not compare the camera-based data with the speed limit stored in the navigation system. So now and then you can see a different top speed in the instrument cluster than in the navigation system. Take mean? Not a good idea!

The Compass is now also the first Jeep in Europe with "Highway Assist", a driver assistance system for autonomous driving Level 2, which combines the "Adaptive Cruise Control" systems on roads with more than one lane per direction of travel and structural separation of the lanes. and "Lane Centering" (optionally available in the second half of the year).

So I couldn't try the combined system. The other two helpers work, however. Even if very clumsy. Maybe the combination makes it better. Currently, however, the helpers are comparable to the system of ... difficult. Suzuki maybe.

The other facelift pillars of the Compass (technology and comfort) Jeep works mainly in the interior. The new center console between the front seats is now positioned higher and offers an almost five-liter storage compartment under the center armrest as well as an additional 2.4-liter compartment next to the gearshift lever, in which devices up to the size of a mini tablet fit. That is praiseworthy, but the processing quality is a little less good in detail. For example, shake this center console. She moves easily an inch to the left or right.

Another new feature in the Compass is the digital instrument cluster in full HD resolution with a screen diagonal of 26 centimeters behind the steering wheel. In addition, the latest generation of the "Uconnect" system moves as a free-standing infotainment unit with a screen diameter of 25.6 centimeters in the middle of the dashboard. Jeep promises a "very intuitive user experience".

People who also like the free programmability of Android smartphones could subscribe to this statement. Apple disciples who appreciate really simple usability could be overwhelmed by the abundance of setting options.

Convincing infotainment

But even as a Gen-Z Apple fan you can get used to the operation and compared to the previous system, the displays are really stylish. In addition, the processor runs five times faster than before. Means: The system is fast. Really. The TomTom navigation quickly calculates alternative routes and everything else runs wonderfully smoothly.

The adjustment options for the air conditioning are also integrated in UConnect. This can get a bit fiddly with detailed settings. However, Jeep continues to offer numerous buttons in the Compass for the most important vehicle functions.

More about Jeep:

Prices in Germany start at 28,000 euros for the 96 kW (130 PS) Compass 1.3 T-GDI in the Sport equipment variant and extend to the top models Trailhawk and S 4xe with plug-in hybrid drive (177 kW / 240 PS) for 47,600 euros each. My test vehicle is in the midfield at around 40,000 euros. Nevertheless. That is VW Tiguan level.

Conclusion: 5/10

During the facelift, Jeep is doing a lot of things right with the Compass and is sharpening the important points for fans of the model and the brand. So if you are into design, you can also make friends with the devils who have become less in detail.

Unfortunately - and not just since the facelift - Jeep is taking away its unique selling proposition with the elimination of the real all-wheel drive and making the Compass too interchangeable. Of course, the front-wheel drive with a small gasoline engine is sufficient, but then you can also opt for a VW Tiguan with regard to the price. And there is even a real four-wheel drive.

Picture gallery: Jeep Compass (2022) in the test

Jeep Compass S 1.3l GSE T4

Engine 1,332 cc, 4-cylinder turbo gasoline engine
Output 150 PS (110 kW) at 5,500 rpm
Max. Torque 270 Nm at 2,500 rpm
Transmission type 6-speed dual clutch transmission
Acceleration 0-100 km / h 9.1 s
Top speed 199 km / h
Consumption 6.6 - 7.1 l / 100km (WLTP) / test consumption: 7.9 l / 100km
Emissions 151 - 163 g / km (WLTP)
Width 1,874 mm (without exterior mirrors)
Departure angle 15.8 degrees (front) / 30 degrees (rear)
Luggage compartment volume 438 - 1,387 l
Trailer load 1,825 kg (unbraked on a 12% gradient)