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Jeep Compass Review

Jeep recently released a limited-run Blackhawk version based on the entry Compass Sport front-wheel-drive.

The premium-feeling steering wheel also has no column reach-adjustment, and coupled with the large bump of plastic that sits beneath said column, yields restricted legroom for a taller driver.

Cabin storage up front is decent, with a nice cubby ahead of the passenger, and good door pockets, though that flimsy dual-section centre console lets the team down.

Jump in the back (via the flimsy plastic rear door handles) and you first notice the excellent headroom. Legroom and knee-room is also fine, though the seat backs themselves are non-adjustable and the bases are short and flat.

Passengers in the back get hard plastic seat-backing greeting their knees, no map pockets, small door pockets, no vents and very little outward visibility thanks to the small rear-side window and fat D-pillar. The vinyl headrests are hard on the head, and offer little support.

Cargo capacity is a competitive 458 litres, expanding to 1269L with the 60:40 rear seats folded. This is decent, especially considering you also get a full-sized spare. The space itself is shallow, but has a very large surface area.

There’s no 12V socket back there, no way to drop the rear seats from the cargo area (you have to do this via a fabric pull-tab mounted at the base of the seats) and the plastics that line the tailgate likewise felt cheap.

Under the bonnet of our 1437kg (gross weight) test car was a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine producing 115kW of power at 6300rpm and 190Nm of torque at 5100rpm, sending power to the front wheels via (in this case) a CVT automatic transmission. Higher-grade Compass models use a conventional six-speed auto instead.

At lower speeds around town it lacks responsiveness, though with a light foot you could match the fuel economy claim of just over 8.0L/100km. That said, over our mixed urban/highway loop under routine driving, we managed 10.6L/100km.

A small sideline — the fuel filler cap has to be opened with a key. That’s a bit old school.

As its figures suggest, the engine requires a few revs to squeeze the best out of it as you whirr towards highway pace, which is always going to dent refinement. The doughy throttle, lack of low-end torque and droning ratio-less CVT make progress stately at best. There’s also too much wind roar through the A-pillars.

Published: Friday, December 5, 2014

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