Jeep Compass 1.4 Multiair 170 S 5dr Auto
There’s no sense in which the Compass is much of a driver’s car – it’s a top heavy family oriented SUV, you’ll need to get your kicks elsewhere – but even by the low standards of the segment the Compass is a mild disappointment. The sharp looks don’t quite match up to the lived experience – there’s a bit more lean than you’d care for through corners, the handling is vague and most versions of the car a touch underpowered.
If you’re getting the PHEV version of the car because you very much value its off-road potential, then you’ll be more easily able to look past the disappointing drive, but there are rivals out there (Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai) that offer a more sophisticated all-round drive.
We’ve driven the mild hybrid and PHEV versions of the car, but not the entry level ICE car. If the 1.3-litre engine in the PHEV is anything to go by (and that version even has 50bhp more than the entry motor) it’d struggle to keep the show going by itself and would need working hard. It’s an interesting sign of the Jeep’s euro credentials, though – can you imagine the Americans going for a 1.3 petrol in a 1.5-tonne SUV?
The 1.5-litre MHEV car offers electric drive at very low speeds (e-creeping, Jeep calls it) and a 20bhp boost on the move when there’s call for it. Again, with 128bhp from the petrol engine there’s likely to be call for it. The joint efforts are a little clunky whether you’re pottering about or trying to get a move on. The 0–62mph run takes 10 seconds on the nose and top speed is 120mph.
The PHEV set-up gets 237bhp from its combined 1.3-litre engine and e-motor, petrol powering the front wheels and electricity the rear for a newfangled 4x4 system with a variety of modes to get you through any sticky situation. It’s been trail rated by Jeep in Trailhawk spec, so it comes with the company’s off-roading seal of approval. That model gets specific bumpers to enable serious off-roading. It’s much perkier with the 4XE powertrain, the 0–62mph run dispatched in 7.3secs and on to a 124mph top speed. The electric and petrol options work well together here, but you can’t rely on either in isolation.
The official fuel consumption figures for the MHEV and PHEV versions of the Compass are 47mpg and 149mpg respectively. For the former you can expect much closer to 30mpg in the real world, while the latter will balance out at around 45mpg if you’re able to charge it up regularly at home.
Jeep says you’ll get 30 miles of electric range out of the plug-in car’s 11.4kWh battery, but in reality that’ll be nearer to 20. Once the juice has run out you can use the car as a standard hybrid, or set the engine up to act as a generator if you enjoy noise and using petrol.
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