Compass is the smallest and cheapest of Jeep’s off-roaders and looks very much
like a smaller version of Grand Cherokee.
Introduced in 2007, Compass and its rebadged sibling Patriot were the first of Jeep’s
softer offerings, pitched at an entirely new customer.
Compass was rounder, cuddlier and generally more city-focused, while the Patriot
which was dropped in 2016 was squarer, chunkier and more macho.
The current model, launched in 2020, has changed significantly, with enhanced tech,
redesigned dashboard, a refined cabin and an extensive list of driver-assist systems.
Jeep describes the car as built for pragmatic dreamers who spend their weekdays in
comfort and style, and weekends escaping from the daily routine.
Compass comes in four grades, three with the same 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol
engine, while top of the range Trailhawk is the only Jeep in the current line-up to
retain a diesel.
The range kicks off with the front-drive Night Eagle from $39,950, the Limited from
$46,700, S-Limited from $49,700 and Trailhawk from $54,000 — all before on-road
Premium paint adds $645 to the price, with a top up option pack available for each
Our test vehicle the S-Limited was fitted with the $2950 S-Limited Premium
Package, which adds a dual-pane sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, a
heated steering wheel and 360-degree surround view camera — bringing the total
price to $52,650 before on-roads.
Finished in black with a grey roof and riding on 19-inch alloys, S-Limited is targeted
at those who want comfort and refinement, but are not prepared to compromise on
Standard features include leather with contrast accent stitching, two-zone climate air,
push-button start, power-adjust heated and cooled front seats and a heated steering
There’s also LED head and tail lights, auto high beam, parallel and perpendicular
parking assistance, front and rear parking sensors, auto lights and wipers, auto
dimming rear-view mirror and an electric parking brake.
A kick-operated power tailgate is standard on all but the entry level grade.
Compass comes with a 5-year/100,000km warranty and lifetime roadside assistance
for vehicles serviced by Jeep.
Capped-price servicing means you’ll pay $349 per visit for the first five services, with
intervals set at 12 months or 12,000km.
Infotainment is provided by the latest Uconnect 5 system, with a 10.1-inch
touchscreen and in the case of this model nine-speaker 506-watt Alpine audio.
It features voice control, built-in TomTom navigation, Bluetooth, DAB+ digital radio,
fully customisable homepage and new ‘touch and swipe’ mode with the option to
You can create multiple user profiles that store music preferences, apps, seat
position, mirror angles and aircon levels, plus frequent destinations and ‘Valet’ mode.
What you can’t do is play with the system on the move. No, no, no!
Try changing from DAB to AM/FM and back again. It can’t be done, not unless you
have a pre-set station for the destination band.
There’s also wireless charging and wireless integration via Apple CarPlay and
Android Auto, with first row USB Type A/C and second row USB Type A/C, 230V
and 12V outlets.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
With a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, Compass produces 129kW of power at
6400 revs and 229Nm of torque from 3900 revs.
It’s multipoint rather than direct injection with drive is to all four wheels through a 9-
speed automatic transmission and torque on demand.
That means it operates in front wheel drive most of the time, with the rear wheels
engaging when traction is required.
Compass gets a full five stars for crash safety, with front, side and curtain airbags, a
rear-view camera and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist
There’s also forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross path
detection and lane departure warning plus.
Add to this traffic sign recognition, intelligent speed assist and drowsy driver alert.
Weighing in at 1503kg, fuel consumption is a claimed 9.7L/100km and it produces
230gm of CO2 per kilometre.
In the US the latest model comes with a more sophisticated 2.0-litre direct injection
engine that produces 149kW and 300Nm.
A hybrid version, called 4xe, is also offered overseas, but is not available from the
Indian factory where our cars are built.
Although Compass looks terrific and draws plenty of admiring glances, its
performance doesn’t quite live up to those looks.
The dash from 0-100km/h takes a leisurely 10.1 seconds and factor in some
passengers, and it will take considerably longer.
Compass can seat four adults in reasonable comfort, but keep in mind it sits on the
smaller side of the spectrum, so rear legroom is limited and it has a smallish boot.
Inside the decor is a big step up from previous offerings, with better fit and trim, and
plenty of eye candy.
The driver gets a wheel that can be adjusted for height and reach, power-adjustment
for the driver’s seat and a token footrest — the size and placement of which are not
There’s also a new, high definition, 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster that can be
configured to show different information, including a digital speedo.
An interesting option is to display a smaller speedo, with a larger speed limit in the
centre of screen that flashes in warning when you are going too fast.
The boot which hides a space saver spare was just large enough to accommodate
the gear for four adults on a weekend away.
But a word of warning. If you need to remove the parcel shelf, make sure you do so
before putting anything in the back — even then it’s a challenge.
And, by the way, the foot-operated boot opener refused to cooperate.
Throttle response off the line is good and the engine likes to rev. But at other times it
takes a full two seconds to respond and the transmission tends to hunt on anything
but flat terrain.
Ride and handling are pretty good, with the car refusing to break traction even when
pushed hard through corners.
But the lane keeping assistance system is downright annoying and like me, you’ll
probably end up switching it off.
Turning circle is relatively large at 11.07 metres which means you’ll find yourself
doing plenty of three-point turns.
When it comes to going off road, this model boasts the same Jeep Active Drive Low
4×4 system as the Trailhawk.
The big difference is that it doesn’t have off-road suspension, or any underbody
At 212mm it has 13mm less ground clearance than Trailhawk too.
Although there’s a 4WD LOW option, neither model have a two-speed transfer case
and therefore no low range gearing. All this button does is keep the transmission in
first gear, which is possible with most automatics.
Another button is labelled as 4WD LOCK. What this does is transmit torque equally
to both the front and rear wheels.
None of the above suggests the S-Limited is up to more than ‘roughish’ dirt roads.
In terms of fuel consumption, it has a 60-litre tank and takes standard unleaded.
We were getting 9.4L/100km after more than 400km — less than the 9.7L claimed —
but still too much for what it is.
While the Jeep Compass is a head turner, its performance unfortunately doesn’t
match these looks, nor does it have any real off-road capability.
Given the unavailability of the hybrid, we’d be waiting at the very least for the new
2.0-litre direct injection engine to make an appearance in Australia.
AT A GLANCE
2.4 Night Eagle petrol: $39,950
2.4 Limited petrol: $46,700
2.4 S-Limited petrol: $49,700
2.0 Trailhawk diesel: $54,000
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact
your local Jeep dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Jeep Compass S-Limited 2.4L Petrol 4-cylinder, 9sp automatic,
Capacity: 2.4 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 129 kW @ 6400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 229 Nm @ 3900 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 9.7 L/100km
CO2 emissions: 230 g/km
Nine-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4398 mm
Wheelbase: 2636 mm
Width: 1819 mm
Height: 1644 mm
Turning Circle: 11.07 metres
Kerb Mass: 1503 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres
Front: Ventilated disc 305 x28 mm
Rear: Solid disc 278 x 12 mm
Five years/unlimited kilometres