Jeep Compass review

The Jeep Compass is a tough looking family SUV with impressive off-road capabilities, but it’s not as good to drive as some alternatives.

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wowscore
6/10
This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Styling helps it stand out
  • Capable off road
  • Good safety kit

What's not so good

  • Limited rear seat space
  • Not as comfortable as alternatives
  • Cabin is quite noisy on the move

Find out more about the Jeep Compass

Is the Jeep Compass a good car?

The Jeep Compass is the sort of car you might consider if you want a family SUV which is capable off-road, and is a funky alternative to the likes of the Skoda Karoq and Nissan Qashqai. It’s immediately identifiable as a Jeep, if the Cherokee is an iPhone 13 Pro Max, then the Compass is an iPhone 13 Mini.

It’s a fairly rugged looking thing thanks to its boxy shape. Go for the Trailhawk version and you get some black cladding around the car and a black skid plate on the front for tackling those extreme off road courses, or the overflow car park of your local car boot sale.

If you get carried away and pick up more supplies than you bargained for, the Compass has a boot big enough for all your nick nacks. The back seats are ok for the kids, but lanky teenagers may struggle for knee room. Up front, space is decent and the seats are comfortable, however drivers over six feet may wish the seat went a bit further back.

At least sat further forward you can appreciate that the Jeep Compass’ interior is a huge improvement on the previous model. The design is smart and the materials in your eyeline feel nice enough. There’s also a big infotainment system with a bright display. It doesn’t feel as plush as a Peugeot 3008 though.

Sadly, it doesn’t ride as well as a Peugeot 3008 either. It’s ok on the motorway, but around town and on back roads it can feel a touch fidgety. Once you’re up to speed, you may notice some road and engine noise creeping into the cabin, which you don’t get in something like a Kia Sportage.

The plug-in hybrid Compass can handle itself off-road well - plus it can do 30 miles on electric power.

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

The light steering makes low speed manoeuvres a doddle, but it ends up feeling a bit vague when you try and point it down a twisty road. It doesn’t lean too much though, and generally the handling is perfectly acceptable for this sort of car.

There are three engine options available: a 130hp 1.3-litre petrol; a 130hp 1.5-litre self-charging hybrid; and the 240hp 4Xe plug-in hybrid. No diesels to be found here. The regular petrol model is nippy enough around town and comes with a manual gearbox. The self-charging hybrid offers marginal efficiency gains around town, but lacks a bit on the refinement front and can be noisy when you put your foot down.

Meanwhile, the PHEV has an automatic gearbox that is smooth enough and takes the strain out of town driving. It can be a bit slow to respond in traffic though. That said, it’s ability to drive for around 30 miles on electricity alone is a plus for those looking to lower their running costs.

The Compass comes with a raft of safety tech in case you’re slow to react in traffic. Front collision warning can detect if you haven’t seen an obstacle ahead and alert you, while lane keeping assist can stop you inadvertently drifting out of your lane on the motorway.

This makes it one of the safest cars in this class, however this isn’t quite enough to make up for some of the shortcomings. It’s just not as well rounded as some alternatives. That said, if you’re after something that looks rugged and can handle itself off-road, it’s definitely worth considering.

If you want more information about the Jeep Compass, you can read the in-depth driving, practicality and interior sections of this review. Alternatively, head to our deals page to see how much you can save on a Jeep through carwow.

How practical is it?

The Jeep Compass offers plenty of boot space for a growing family’s needs. But some rivals offer more room in the back seats.

Boot (seats up)
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Boot (seats down)
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Up front in the new Jeep Compass there is enough space for two adults to sit comfortably. There is plenty of headroom, even with the optional sunroof, and shoulder room is generous. Leg room is ok, but if you’re over six feet tall you might appreciate being able to slide the seat back a bit further.

If you’re not that long in the leg, then there’s plenty of adjustment in the driving position to get comfortable. All models get lumbar support as standard, and eight-way power adjustment is available on mid to top spec cars.

The front seat passengers may find themselves sliding forwards to accommodate larger adults in the rear, as space back there is tighter than you’ll find in a Skoda Karoq or Volkswagen Tiguan. It also feels quite claustrophobic thanks to the small rear windows.

Fitting a child seat isn’t too much of a bother though. The rear doors open wide enough and the Isofix anchors are easy to locate. However, you will have to move the passenger seat forwards to accommodate a bulky rear-facing seat.

There are various cubby holes scattered around the cabin for you to hide your bits and pieces away in. There’s a tray in front of the gear lever for your phone with a wireless charging pad, and some good cupholders behind that. The door bins are a good size as well and will fit a big bottle.

There is storage under the centre armrest, however it’s not massive. The glovebox is an average size with enough room for the owner’s manual, but not much else. The rear seats get some smaller door bins and pockets in the back of the front seats. There are also some cup holders in the armrest.

The Jeep Compass has a 438-litre boot, which is slightly bigger than a Nissan Qashqai but lags behind the Skoda Karoq and Peugeot 3008. It’s a practical shape though, with no load lip to haul a heavy suitcase over and enough space for a pushchair and a few other bags no problem.

The rear seats fold completely flat as well, so pushing larger items to the front is easy. There are a few cubbies and some tie down hooks around the boot, plus some underfloor storage to put your charging cables in if you have the plug-in hybrid.

What's it like to drive?

The Jeep Compass can handle itself pretty well off-road , but it lags behind some alternatives in terms of refinement on the tarmac.

The Compass is available with three engine options. There is a 1.3-litre petrol engine, a 1.5-litre self-charging hybrid, or the 4Xe plug-in hybrid, which pairs the 1.3-litre petrol engine with an electric motor. The 4Xe and the self-charging hybrid are only available with a six-speed automatic gearbox, while the petrol car gets a six-speed manual.

If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll be better off with the petrol model as it’s £10,000 cheaper than the 4Xe. The 130hp engine feels nippy enough around town and will return around 40mpg.

The 4Xe will be better for long journeys thanks to its automatic gearbox and more powerful engine. It has 240hp and, thanks to the hybrid system, will return around 150mpg provided you charge it regularly and make the most of its 30-mile electric range. It’s low emissions make it ideal for company car drivers as well.

If you don’t want to stretch to the plug-in model, you’ll probably find the self-charging Compass to be the sweet spot of the range. With its small battery it can run for brief periods of time on electric power alone, so around town you’ll save on fuel costs while still being able to rely on it for long-distance drives. It’s a pity the system is a bit unrefined, though. The transmission is really jerky at low speeds, and the engine makes a lot of noise when you put your foot down. Still, it’ll be more comfortable to use in town than the standard petrol car with its manual transmission.

Around town, the Compass has light steering and is easy enough to manoeuvre thanks to some big mirrors and the reversing camera. There are some blind spots however due to the fat A-pillars. The suspension can feel unsettled over bumps, and the automatic gearbox can be slow to respond in traffic.

There’s not much fun to be had on a twisty road, but this is the case for most SUVs. The steering is accurate enough and it doesn’t roll around too much in the corners so children in the back should be able to keep the car sickness at bay

Get out on the motorway and you may find a bit more noise creeping into the cabin than you’d like, both from the tyres and the engine. It’s not too bad, but it’s not as refined as a Volkswagen Tiguan. It feels stable though, and the 4Xe has plenty of punch for overtaking.

If you spend a lot of time off road, this is where the Compass makes most sense. The 4Xe gets four wheel drive and the Trailhawk model gets raised suspension and special tyres for tackling the rough stuff. It can hold its own off the beaten track very well compared to alternatives in this class.

What's it like inside?

The Compass has a smart design inside and it feels solidly made, it’s a huge improvement on the previous model. It’s just a shame that it lacks the panache of some alternatives.

Jeep Compass colours

Solid - Black
Free
Special solid - Alpine white
From £700
Special solid - Blue shade
From £700
Special solid - Colorado red
From £700
Special solid - Glacier silver
From £700
Special solid - Graphite grey
From £700
Bicolour - Alpine white with black roof
From £1,100
Bicolour - Blue shade with black roof
From £1,100
Bicolour - Colorado red with black roof
From £1,100
Bicolour - Glacier silver with black roof
From £1,100
Bicolour - Graphite grey with black roof
From £1,100
Next Read full interior review
Buy or lease the Jeep Compass at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £30,705 - £40,895 Avg. carwow saving £2,222 off RRP
carwow price from
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Monthly
£319*
Used
£26,980
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