The new plug-in hybrid Jeep Compass 4xe struggles with refinement, but still comes with plenty of plus points
3.5 out of 5
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In plug-in hybrid 4xe form the updated Jeep Compass is more competitive than ever, with improved infotainment and impressive efficiency potential. However, it lacks a little in execution; the powertrain isn’t the most refined and the ride is still a little lumpy, even if the tech and quality boosts are welcome. The Compass still offers relatively strong value however, with this top-spec S model receiving plenty of kit.
It’s a case of if it wasn’t broke then don’t fix it in many areas with the newly updated 2022 Jeep Compass. Customers of the pre-facelift car loved its looks, so Jeep’s designers have only tweaked and spruced the new car’s styling, with a wider lower grille as part of a more aggressive-looking front bumper. There are also full LED headlights fitted as standard across the range.
There are fewer changes elsewhere, with the Compass’s profile and rear end remaining relatively untouched.
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Inside, however, it’s fair to say many elements of the previous Compass weren’t up to scratch, so Jeep has gone through the cabin and treated it to a thorough overhaul.
There’s a new dash design, with a more horizontal design theme, a larger 10.1-inch touchscreen incorporating Jeep’s new Uconnect 5 infotainment system and a 10.25-inch digital dash. It’s a significant improvement, with a processer that’s five times faster than before, according to Jeep. However, it’s still not the most intuitive set-up to use and response times and screen resolution could still be better.
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Interior quality has taken a step up though, given the American brand is targeting rivals such as the Volkswagen Tiguan and Hyundai Tucson, and while it’s certainly better, there’s still room for improvement in places, even if the leather-lined dash on our top-spec S version is a nice touch.
This £40,895 top-spec model is only available with Jeep’s new 4xe (pronounced ‘four-by-ee’ like ‘four-by-four’) plug-in hybrid powertrain, which is another big step forward for this new Compass.
There’s also a 128bhp 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit, but the 4xe uses a 178bhp version of this engine assisted by an electric motor that is fed by an 11.4kWh battery for a total of 237bhp and a claimed all-electric range of “approximately 30 miles”. CO2 emissions from 44g/km make it a more appealing company car choice, too.
Jeep says the Compass 4xe will accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds, but in reality, it never feels that rapid. It’s down to the six-speed automatic gearbox, which is sluggish and lethargic. It kicks down (slowly) when you ask for even moderate acceleration where you might think the 250Nm from the electric motor would fill in for combustion unit.
It’s also noisy when revved, so it really is better to approach it with a more relaxed mindset, because the Compass offers more comfort and refinement as a result. The ride is fair, although bigger transverse bumps do still upset the chassis.
The steering is light though, which gives the Jeep a relatively good sense of agility given its size and ride height.
Of course, these qualities also mean it delivers the kind of performance you’d expect from a Jeep off-road. With eAWD, as Jeep calls it, the electric motor helps progress on loose surfaces and the Compass 4xe will go further than most people are willing to find out.
The usability element is enhanced by three times as much interior storage as its predecessor, while boot space stands at 438 litres, which is acceptable but not brilliant, and the same as the ICE model. There’s a fair level of room in the rear too, although it’s not class leading.
Efficiency is strong, at a claimed best of 156.9mpg for the 4xe, so if you only cover local trips expect super-low running costs. The battery can be charge from a 7kW home wallbox in less than three hours.
Even at more than £40,000 the top-spec S model offers good value when it comes to kit, with 19-inch alloy wheels, a powered tailgate, sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, wireless phone charging, keyless entry and go, heated seats and adaptive cruise control all fitted as standard.
There’s also more advanced driver assistance tech too, with autonomous braking featuring pedestrian and cyclist detection, a drowsy driver alert, traffic sign recognition and intelligent speed limit assist.
|Model:||Jeep Compass 4xe S|
|Engine:||1.3-litre 4cyl turbo petrol PHEV|
|Transmission:||Six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive|
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