By Ian Strachan
If you’re going to have an off roader you might as well have a proper one. One that’s got the right credentials – and that means a Land Rover or a Jeep writes motoring editor Ian Strachan.
Yes, there are a few others that perform reasonably well off road, but far too many are for appearances only. Phrases like “all terrain” and “all-wheel drive” don’t always mean it’s a true mud-plugger.
For quite a few years now, manufacturers have fallen over each other to cash in on the boom in 4×4 sales in an unseemly “me too” scramble. Some are better than others
Which brings me to the Jeep Compass. This car has brought style and comfort to the off-road world in a big way. It has plenty of room, good economy, refined trim and brought a step change in reliability to Fiat-owned Jeep.
The Compass has all the grunt and capability it needs to tackle the rough stuff, with permanent four-wheel drive, a terrain-select system, long-travel coil spring suspension and good ground clearance.
The Compass is good on tarmac too. On the motorway at constant cruising speed the ride is comfortable, with minimal noise apart from a little wind noise from the wing mirrors, and very little body roll.
I test drove the Compass with a 140 bhp 2.0 litre MultiJet diesel engine. It averaged just over 54 miles to the gallon in mixed driving. That’s respectable for such a big vehicle.
The engine is a little noisier than some big diesels under pressure, but it’s smooth through the gears despite a fairly unforgiving six-speed manual gearbox.
The Compass comes with a great specification package which gives you everything you might need on a car like this, including dual zone automatic climate control, cruise control, powered and heated front seats and heated leather steering wheel, satellite navigation with 8.4 inch touchscreen display, nine-speaker DAB radio with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay, steering wheel mounted controls, electronic stop/start, keyless entry and ignition, front and rear parking sensors with rear camera, leather interior and chunky 18 inch alloy wheels. My test car was fitted with nearly £5,000 worth of extras including crystal pearl paint (£700), towing hitch (£650), panoramic sunroof (£1,200) and powered tailgate (£300).
The driving position is good, with excellent all round visibility and all controls in easy reach. Trim materials are high quality.
At £31,495 the Jeep Compass is not cheap, but you get an awful lot of car for your money, plus the comfort of knowing that this vehicle will cope with pretty much anything. When the guys at Jeep say “all terrain” they don’t mean wet grass.