Aggressively priced supermini steps up interior game, but lacks performance...
Because of this, we also have a little longer to wait for pricing and UK performance and economy stats, all of which are set to be confirmed in autumn of this year.
As well as the standard, more road-oriented version that is expected to account for the majority of sales in the UK, Jeep is also offering the Trailhawk, a more hardcore version with higher ground clearance and more off-road tech.
The standard version is likely to make up a greater proportion of sales, though, and comes with the mid-range diesel engine, all-wheel-drive technology and a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Inside, the dash is dominated by the new Uconnect infotainment system, which features an 8.4in touchscreen (lesser models come with a 5.0in or 7.0in version) that controls the navigation, entertainment and other in-cabin heating systems. It is a bit fiddly to use, mainly because most things are operated by touchscreen alone, although a large volume dial and manual air conditioning controls below are welcome additions, even if it does mean a large number of buttons to navigate.
The seats are comfortable and supportive, and offer a wide range of adjustment, and there's a good visibility from the driver's seat. A reversing camera and all-round parking sensors are available, but the latter are very quick to intervene, which makes the Compass a noisy drive through tight urban areas.
The space in the back is a mixed bag. Shoulder room is good, and visibility is decent but the panoramic sunroof severely cuts into head room for adults, which means you’ll end up slouching into what is a generous amount of leg room.
Jeep is keen to stress the Compass’s off-road ability, and the car dealt admirably with the limited off-roading we subjected it to, but the firm recognises that it will spend most of its time on the road - and this is where it is a bit compromised. The 138bhp engine pulls well, but is noisy and harsh under hard acceleration in a way that rivals aren’t. The nine-speed automatic gearbox isn’t as smooth as you’d hope, either; it changes down with a noticeable clunk that you would associate with a 'box with far fewer cogs.
The steering is also very light – that's good at low speeds, but less reassuring on the motorway. Add some wallowing body roll around corners and the Compass isn’t as composed on the road as the likes of the Seat Ateca. It does mean that it settles down to a comfortable cruise on the motorway, even if harsh potholes will send a jolt through the cabin at lower speeds.