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The Top Gear car review:Jeep Compass
On the inside
Layout, finish and space
Don’t come looking for the happy, cartoonish cabin motifs of the Renegade. The Compass is more grown-up. Materials and finish are class-average, at least.
The touch-screen is easy to navigate and has menus that make sense to the anglo-saxon mind – that’s a benefit of having a system designed for Americans not Germans. The general snappiness of the system is impressive too. On-board apps include a set of graphics to help when off-roading. The Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration is pretty tight too. Just near the USB port is a handy mesh pocket to hold your phone.
Sensibly, the touch-screen isn’t overburdened with functions best left to hardware switchgear. The climate controls are on the console, albeit duplicated on the screen if that’s your preference. Next to them are buttons that let you defeat the lane-keeping and ESP. Then the 4WD system controls. Oh and the steering wheel has 16 buttons on the front (cruise, menu and phone) and another 6 hidden on the reverse of the spokes (audio). But it’s all laid out logically enough to be useable.
There’s good-average space, as the car’s family job demands. In the front the seats are Euro-style supportive, not US squishy. Pity the RHD conversion has little driver left-foot space.
Grown-ups can sit in the back, if not exactly stretch out. They get USB and 12V sockets, to add to the ones in front. Plus aimable vent outlets and small reading lights. Drop the centre armrest and a gaping hole opens up into the boot. Jeep passes this off as a ‘pass-through’ feature. We call it cheap.
The boot itself is broad but shallow in our test car, but that’s because under the floor is an optional full-size spare wheel, something off-road adventurers will be relieved about. With a space-saver, there’s a multi-level floor and more cargo space.