Jeep Compass 4xe review
Despite improvements to the Compass' cabin and infotainment, Jeep's plug-in hybrid SUV still falls behind rivals in some areas
- Value for money
- 30-mile electric range
- Cabin quality improvements
- Ride quality
- Sluggish gearbox
Not only is Jeep set to launch its first battery-electric model in early 2023, the American brand is making sure its UK line-up of ruggedly styled SUVs is well stocked with plug-in hybrids. The latest to arrive is this: the Compass 4xe, which rivals other low-emissions family SUVs such as the Ford Kuga Plug-In Hybrid, Peugeot 3008 Hybrid and Toyota RAV4 Plug-In.
The addition of the plug-in hybrid powertrain for top-spec versions of the Compass comes as part of a recent facelift, with the refreshed SUV receiving styling tweaks like a more aggressive-looking front bumper, full LED headlights as standard and an overhaul of the cabin (more on that later).
It also saw the introduction of the Jeep Compass e-Hybrid. This non-plug-in e-Hybrid version sits somewhere between a mild hybrid and a full hybrid, as the car can be run on electric power alone, but only at very slow speeds and for a few hundred yards if you’re lucky. But, it's the plug-in hybrid Compass we're interested in here.
Under the bonnet of the Compass 4xe is a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine coupled with an electric motor for a combined power output of 237bhp – the same setup found in the smaller Jeep Renegade 4xe. The electric motor is fed by an 11.4kWh battery, which should provide enough juice for around 30 miles of zero-emissions driving, while CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km make this an appealing company-car choice, too.
According to Jeep, the Compass 4xe will do 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds, but it doesn’t feel that quick in reality. That’s largely due to the rather sluggish and lethargic six-speed automatic gearbox, which slowly kicks down when you put your foot down even slightly, as opposed to using the electric motor and its 250Nm of torque to fill in for the combustion engine.
The plug-in Compass also gets noisy when revved as the transmission fails to shift at the appropriate moment, so it's best to adopt a relaxed mindset behind the wheel, as that’s when the car offers more comfort and refinement. The Jeep’s steering is also light, which gives it a good sense of agility for an SUV of this size and ride height. Ride quality is fair, although larger bumps can upset the car somewhat.
It does offer some of the off-road qualities you’d expect from a jeep. With ‘eAWD’ as Jeep calls it, the electric motor that drives the rear wheels can help you progress on loose surfaces, meaning the Compass 4xe will be able to go further off the beaten track than many rivals.
The pre-facelift Compass’ interior simply wasn’t up to scratch in certain areas, but given this electrified version is looking to compete with the plug-in Volkswagen Tiguan and Hyundai Tucson, the overhauled cabin design and improvements in interior quality are big steps forward. In certain places, things could still be better, it must be said.
For example, you now get a 10.1-inch central infotainment touchscreen running Jeep’s new Uconnect 5 infotainment system, plus a 10.25-inch digital driver’s display. It’s certainly an improvement over the old system, thanks in part to a processor five times faster than before, according to Jeep, however, it’s not the most intuitive setup to use. And the resolution of the driver's display still leave a lot to be desired.
In better news, there's now three times as much interior storage space as there was in its predecessor, with a fair amount of room for rear passengers and a 438-litre boot capacity further boosting practicality.
The Compass 4xe’s claimed best fuel economy is close to 157mpg. That's far behind the over 200mpg that electrified versions of the Ford Kuga and Toyota RAV4 can return, but you can still expect substantially lower running costs than a purely petrol or diesel-engined SUV if you mostly make short trips. The 11.4kWh battery can be fully topped up in less than three hours from a standard 7kW home wallbox charger.
Prices for the top-spec S version of the plug-in Compass we drove start at more than £40,000, but it offers good value when it comes to standard kit, with 19-inch alloy wheels, a powered tailgate, sat nav, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, wireless phone charging, keyless entry and go, heated seats and adaptive cruise control all thrown in. You also get plenty of advanced driver assistance technology, too, with autonomous braking featuring pedestrian and cyclist detection, driver drowsiness alerts, traffic-sign recognition and intelligent speed-limit assistance.
Ultimately, while the Jeep Compass’ updated infotainment and cabin design – along with the potential efficiency of the plug-in hybrid 4xe powertrain and the S model's generous standard kit – are all welcome, Jeep’s latest plug-in SUV still falls behind others in its class when it comes to ride quality, fuel economy and technology.