Test Drive: Jeep Compass e-Hybrid: a bit of a drag

The Compass was launched back in 2017 and is based on a modified (longer) Renegade platform. Earlier this year, a new 48V mild hybrid 130 BHP- 240 Nm petrol powertrain arrived and the range revamped, with some new trim levels added. Mind you, nothing too exciting here, but let’s pretend we just bought a compact SUV starting from € 33,244 in Longitude trim and are very happy with it.


Plug-in hybrids are too expensive for private buyers who still favour ICE engined cars. For tax and cost reasons, most are company cars. Jeep offers mild hybrid powertrains in its Renegade and Compass ranges. They are less expensive and fuel consumption is improved anyway.


I like it

The Compass interior is quite cosseting and a very nice place to be. The top of the range trim gets high quality materials and even leather on the uncluttered dashboard. It is dominated by a large 10″1 central screen that looks modern and trendy, while navigating between the various menus is easy. The digital instrument panel provides the driver with all the relevant information about the car. The seats are comfy and welcoming, offering a perfect driving position. Grabbing the nice-looking steering wheel is a real pleasure.

Quite clever

This is a Jeep… it’s got huge interior space and a massive boot that goes from 438 to 1387 litres when the rear seats are folded down. That’s pretty good compared to its competitors and close to best in class.


I don’t like it  

While everything seemed to be going well, we were quickly disappointed on the road. The gearbox lacks progressiveness. City driving can be jerky and tricky as the system often hesitates between electric and ICE power. The steering could be more precise and engaging while the brakes could be more effective. Although the car weighs just 1475 kg, the small 1.5 cc engine will have a hard time if you drive it dynamically. In short, thanks to its elevated driving position and its original design, the Compass will suit most drivers but if you’re looking for some fun behind the wheel, just don’t bother and look elsewhere ! Compared to the excellent front seats, the rear bench (even more so the middle part of it) is way less comfy and welcoming.


Why I buy it

The 48V system gives the combustion engine a slight electric boost when you start it up and allows for short electric drives at low speeds. It kicks in when parking the car or when you drive at a walking pace in city traffic. Practice is needed to get the most out of it but it’s efficient. Claimed average fuel consumption is 6.1 l/100 km. We averaged 7.7 l/100 km during our 440 km test ride. However and as ever, we didn’t try anything and everything to get the lowest fuel consumption !


Why I don’t buy it

The Compass’ lack of driving pleasure may be in the American brand’s DNA. It produces mainly 4X4s and SUVs with off-road capabilities rather than sportscars. However, this mild hybrid SUV is not even available as a 4×4, at least with this engine. Keen prices and regular special offers that appear on the Belgian Jeep website are pretty tempting. Just like the design that manages to remain fresh and easy on the eye, while the welcoming interior and high equipment count could be decisive too. However, it’s not very dynamic on the road and pleasant to drive and it would be hard for us to live with it everyday. (Translation: Dimitri Urbain)


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