The woolly, imprecise impression given to you by the Compass’s pedals and gearlever finds its equal in the car’s overly permissive initial body control. It’s loose enough to admit enough pitch and headtoss into the car’s ride on motorways, A-roads and faster B-roads as to disrupt your comfort levels just a fraction, and to make the car carry just a suggestion of restlessness and dynamic coarseness with it wherever it goes.
This is perhaps the result of Jeep’s adoption of ‘frequency selective’ dampers for the car. Each damper has a pair of reservoirs and switches to a firmer damper setting when quicker inputs force the oil it carries through a pre-defined threshold on pressure.
What that means in practice, on the road at least, is that the Compass isn’t without a sense of suppleness or support; and also avoids backing up its soft initial ride with handling that lets the body run out of control in extremis. Even so, you’d say the car’s ride tuning lacks a bit of sophistication in comparison with a better-checked, better-tied-down compact SUV class average.
The Compass’s steering has a similar flavour in that it’s slightly spongy and vague just off-centre, progressing to improve as you add lock by picking up more tangible road feel. At all times, it feels a touch over-assisted in its normal setting, getting even lighter at parking speeds to the extent that the parking steering mode included on every new Fiat and now FCA model for a decade or more, which adds even more power assistance, would seem superfluous.