Jeep is playing to a more mature and sophisticated market here than it was, three years ago, with the Renegade crossover. It has created an interior with less in the way of visual charm and intrigue – but, instead, what’s clearly intended to be a more refined and luxurious ambience, and a more upmarket feel.

But, judged against compact SUVs’ increasingly high standards on perceived quality and fit-and-finish, our test car’s relatively plain, monotone and ordinary-feeling cabin failed to make much of an impression. Parts of the Compass’s interior clearly represent attempts at material richness, but they’re not all convincing (the cheap-looking ‘leather’ on the centre armrest is a case in point). Meanwhile, the car’s nicer ingredients are significantly outnumbered by plenty of fittings (HVAC, headlight and infotainment controls) that look or feel a bit cheaper than the likes of the Tiguan and XC40 now lead you to expect.

Richard Lane

Road tester
Stereo has chunky volume and tuning knobs, which we approve in principle but, like notable other fittings, their look and tactile feel is a bit low-rent

The Compass’s cabin is adequately comfortable and broadly pleasant. Our test car’s front seats were a touch too flat to offer decent support and didn’t have enough head restraint adjustment for taller drivers to make themselves entirely at home, but ergonomic control layout and adjustability were otherwise good. This isn’t a particularly spacious car by class standards, but it’s competitive.

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Head room is eaten into in both rows by Jeep’s ‘double-pane’ sunroof, and typical leg room in the second row is only an average 740mm. The boot offers less loading space, according to the tape, than you’ll find in a Tiguan, DS 7 Crossback or Mazda CX-5, although our test car’s loading depth was a little adversely affected by an optional-fit temporary spare wheel that prevented use of its lower boot floor setting.

The car’s instruments are presented clearly. Its trip computer is easy enough to read and to navigate via the thumb consoles on the slightly awkwardly shaped spokes of the steering wheel. Meanwhile, our test car had both USB and three-pin AC power sockets for the use of second row passengers. The latter socket is useful for charging tablet PCs and other power-hungry mobile devices.

Our test car came with the Compass’s top-level infotainment system, which has an 8.4in touchscreen, and integrates smartphone mirroring for both Apple and Android phones (on entry-level Sport grade, you get a 5.0in set-up without mirroring, but that does have DAB radio). Just as well, because the fitted sat-nav is only averagely appealing to look at, could be easier to follow and doesn’t seem to plot particularly intelligent routes.

The system’s shortcut buttons, for switching audio sources or toggling the volume up and down, are on the reverse of the steering wheel spokes; it’s a surprise to find them there, but they quickly grow familiar to use. If you prefer to skip stations using the touchscreen display, there’s a line of shortcuts at its base to make your life easier, although the system takes its time to respond to inputs.

A reversing camera is included as standard equipment from mid-level Longitude trim upwards, but the one on our car had a tendency to crash the infotainment system, and contributed to our overall dissatisfaction with the set-up as a whole.

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