Driven 2020 Jeep Compass 2,4 4×4 Trailhawk

Driven 2020 Jeep Compass 2,4 4×4 Trailhawk

Now in its second generation, the Jeep Compass is a more accomplished offering. But it faces stiff competition from other mainstream brands.

Now, say what you will of Jeep’s continued reliance on such staple design cues as a seven-slot grille and squared-off wheelarches, but they’re used to positive effect on this compact Jeep. It is a handsome vehicle despite being nearly four years old. There’s a balance to the proportions that many rivals simply can’t replicate (there’s dumpiness aplenty in this crowded segment). Unsurprising considering this is a comparatively compact car; a Mazda CX-5 is a whole 152 mm longer.

Standard on this Trailhawk grade – other markets also offer Sport, Longitude and Limited spec levels – are dual-colour 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in sensible all-season 60-profile tyres; LED head- and taillamps and the Trailhawk package that includes Neutral Grey trim elements; that aforementioned bonnet decal and an off-road suspension package paired with reprofiled bumpers to boost approach, breakover and departure angles (ground clearance is a generous 220 mm). Badges on the front flanks confirm the Trailhawk is “trail rated”, Jeep’s own measure for its off-roaders.

The good news continues inside, where the heavily bolstered, heated front seats offer a driving position that’s easily tailored to pilots of varying heights thanks to eight-way electric adjustment. The steering wheel is a pleasure to hold and feels perfectly sized. Ahead, there are legible analogue dials supplemented with a seven-inch TFT info screen and an 8,4-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system offering both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (although six speakers are a touch feeble at this price point). While not on par with the best systems in the class, the Uconnect setup boasts easy usability. The sat-nav is woeful, though, often not registering street names or taking roundabout routes, but smartphone mirroring solves that issue.

The boot, at 248 litres, is one of the smallest in the segment and the loading lip one of the highest. That said, the rear bench is comfortably sculpted, there are two vents piping in air from the dual-zone climate control and the transmission tunnel isn’t invasive.

We subjected the Compass to only mild off-roading and it felt like it could handle far rougher terrain. Impressively, it boasts Jeep’s full-suite Selec-Terrain system offering five distinct modes tailoring the drivetrain response to the terrain. However, what we were more interested in is how the Compass’s underpinnings cope in traffic, on highways and byways. The answer is impressively well.

Higher speeds do unearth some pitching and tossing but nothing troubling. Certainly, the Jeep doesn’t feel as well tied down as a CX-5 but the carmaker has struck a respectable compromise between comfort and composure (aided, of course, by all-wheel grip). The steering is well geared and reasonably direct, although we would have liked a bit more weight.

In its current configuration, the 2,4-litre Tigershark engine has been in use since 2013 and traces its origins back to the noughties. While it offers variable valve timing and valve-lift tech, there’s no denying it does the Compass a disservice. A tested 0-100 km/h sprint time of 11,36 seconds is 1,51 seconds off the pace of the RAV4’s 2,5-litre option (not exactly class-leading). The gulf extends in-gear, where the Japanese vehicle is 1,44 seconds quicker from 80 to 120 km/h, exactly where it counts to overtake a slow-moving truck or bus. Turbocharged competition in the form of the Tiguan and Kuga are much quicker, as well as being more frugal. With Jeeps moving to petrol only we suspect they will mount more powerful engines

Their engines are more subdued, too. Fairly hushed in unhurried commuting, the Tigershark turns coarse at engine speeds nearing the 6 250 r/min redline. At least the nine-speed automatic transmission is more decisive here than in other applications.

To its credit, the vehicle offers a full suite of standard safety features including lane-departure and forward-collision warning, blind-spot and cross-path detection, and automatic park assist.

TEST SUMMARY

Specifications

Compass Jeep Compass 2.4 4×4 Trailhawk

68 / 100

0-100 km/h:

Power (kW@r/min): 129 KW @ 6400

Torque (N.m@r/min): 229 N.m @ 3900

Top speed: 185km/h

Claimed cons. (l/100 km): 9.5 l/100 KM’s

C02 emissions (g/km): 230 g/KM

 

 

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