A really strong contender in Europe’s burgeoning compact SUV segment could do wonders right now both for the Jeep brand and its FCA parent. But, while we don’t doubt that the Compass will bring a dose of growth, it’s unlikely to feature at the very top of the class’s sales chart on merit.

While it’s rare for SUVs of this size to offer the most spacious of cabins, the Compass’s practicality is average at best. It has a torquey but gruff diesel engine that performs well enough in a qualified sort of way and ride and handling that’s passable but conspicuous by its lack of a premium-brand dynamic finish. When you look at the stated capabilities as an off-roader (strong but not outstanding), there’s also perhaps one less reason to indulge it.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
A spunky design and a well-known brand may have been all the Renegade needed to succeed, but the compact SUV market is full of more grown-up cars

Moreover, where the biggest success of other compact SUVs may be to make the luxury of their bigger siblings available at a lower price, the Compass seems to do the opposite, taking interior fittings common with cheaper FCA-group relations and trying its luck with them at a higher price point. In this and other ways, it seems a car doomed to mediocrity.

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