Jeep and cheerful | 

The new PHEV Jeep Compass looks good but battery and fuel efficiency are concerns

“She is a thirsty beast and in today’s cost-of-living crisis as fuel costs remain high, that has to be a worry”

The Compass comes as a Plug-In Hybrid

The Uconnect system

Daragh KeanySunday World

You could be forgiven for thinking that Jeep had disappeared altogether.

But now part of the Stellantis Group, it is back and they desperately want Irish car buyers to take note. With the highly-anticipated Avenger and Grand Cherokee coming out next year, for now we have to make do with the latest iteration of the Compass.

With looks to kill, dominated by the now-distinctive seven-gap grille and a new rugged styling with squared-off wheel arches (mimicked by others nowadays), there is no denying that it looks incredible.

It is powerful and elevated and you get the impression that even though it is not the biggest SUV around, it could easily hold its own in a dog fight.

Unsurprisingly, the Compass has now been electrified but not as a full EV. This Plug-In Hybrid comes with a 11.4kWh rechargeable battery to accommodate urban commutes.

The Uconnect system

There is also a 1.3ltr turbocharged petrol engine as an entry-level manual front-wheel drive which kicks things off at a tiny bit under €40k but expect to pay much more than that as you move up the range and especially for my test car, the PHEV 4xe, which will set you back €55k.

Inside is as spacious as you would want and expect and the seats look good and are comfortable too. Unfortunately, that is where the positives seem to end.

I really wanted to love this car but as I have discovered a few times in recent months, expectations are a dangerous thing in this business at the moment.

Some big car names are getting some of their models very wrong and while the Compass is far from the worst offender, I do need to stress that there were a few unforgivable misdemeanours that need a major overhaul before this can be a genuine contender in a very claustrophobic segment of the industry.

For starters, the dash needs a rethink and the ‘Uconnect’ system already seems dated. It’s clunky too and should really be called a punchscreen as opposed to a touchscreen; nothing deft or subtle about trying to navigate the various screens.

The 4XE claims a 240hp combined power output but the launch to 100km/h takes a calculated 7.4seconds. This isn’t something I tested so I will take their word for it.

Something I did test was the apparent 50km range of their fully-charged battery. After several attempts I can confirm that 37km was the best I could get and I was nowhere near a motorway for that stint. The reason I tested the battery so much is that the fuel efficiency (albeit on motorways) was not great.

She is a thirsty beast and in today’s cost-of-living crisis as fuel costs remain high, that has to be a worry. There is lots of power though and comparative to a lot of similar SUVs the steering was surprisingly light and easy.

Fingers crossed things improve for next year’s releases because as a former Jeep owner I so desperately want this brand to not only survive, but to thrive.

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