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First drive: Jeep Compass

Date: 20 December 2021   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Jeep's facelifted family SUV is its second PHEV for the UK market.
Standard equipment:
18in alloy wheels, LED headlights and DRLs, 10.1in infotainment touchscreen with wireless smartphone integration and charging, 10.25in full digital instrument cluster, front and rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist recognition, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, intelligent speed assist, drowsy driver alert.
Petrol: 130hp 1.3
Petrol plug-in hybrid: 240hp 1.3
Equipment grades:
Nighteagle, Limited, S, Trailhawk
Six-speed manual, six-speed automatic

The complications of sending power from a conventional petrol or diesel engine to all four wheels of a car mean such models inevitably consume more fuel and emit more CO2 than their two-wheel drive counterparts. For company car drivers then, especially in rural areas, there can be a trade-off between all-terrain capability and a bigger tax bill. Happily, the advent of plug-in hybrids has provided a solution. For SUV brand Jeep (now part of the giant Stellantis group) this takes the form of the 4xe system, with a petrol engine driving the front wheels and an electric motor the rear. This powertrain made its debut in the UK with the Renegade small SUV, and is now being rolled out with the newly facelifted version of the mid-sized Compass.

The Compass 4xe features a 180hp petrol engine and a 60hp electric motor (a front-wheel drive 130hp pure petrol powertrain is also available). Left in hybrid mode, the system will choose the best combination of engine and motor power for each given situation, but it is possible to select a pure EV-only mode that will get you all the way up to motorway speeds if needed, though unsurprisingly it's hardly sprightly like this (a battery-only driving range of up to 30 miles on the WLTP cycle is quoted). 

The powertrain is well resolved, with no hesitations around town from the automatic gearbox, and it also comes with Jeep's off-road driving tools such as locking four-wheel drive and hill descent control, meaning it will deal if necessary with far rougher terrain than most family SUVs of this type could, as you'd expect from the Jeep brand. 

On the road, the combined 240hp offers more than adequate acceleration, while in corners, although you can feel the cars weight with that PHEV powertrain, body roll is well controlled and there are no dramas, although the firmness required to achieve this means the ride can get jiggly on rougher roads.

Powertrains aside, the main developments with the facelifted Compass are with the interior. A redesigned dashboard displays a new-generation 10.1in infotainment touchscreen, which is impressively responsive, graphically sharp, and features easy to find touch shortcuts. A 10.25in digital instrument cluster is also new and ready with useful hybrid driving information. The interior retains easy-to-use physical heating dials and buttons, and there's a reassuringly chunky feel to the steering wheel and other controls. With our high-end S grade test car there's also quite a bit of leather dotted around the cabin, though tinnier plastic around the transmission tunnel lets the perceived quality down a little. Passenger space in the back is pretty good, but a 420-litre boot is smaller than some rivals.

Another element of the facelift is upgraded safety systems, including traffic sign recognition, drowsy driver detection, intelligent speed assist, and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist recognition. However, it was annoying on our test drive to be subjected on several occasions to a piercing tone and 'stay in lane' warning for no apparent reason. 

Exterior styling tweaks with the facelift include a redesigned front grille, new full LED lights, repositioned DRLs and updated alloy wheel designs.

We're yet to have Kee Resources cost data for the updated Compass. However, its 30-mile EV range will place the model in the 11% company car tax BIK band - far better than ICE alternatives, and evenly-matched with all PHEV rivals except for the 7% Toyota Rav4, Suzuki Across, and Peugeot 3008, all of which are more expensive to buy. 

It's enough to make the Compass look worth checking out for company car drivers who want four-wheel drive with their SUV.

Jeep Compass S 4xe 

P11D: £40,840

Residual value: TBC

Depreciation: TBC

Fuel: TBC

Service, maintenance and repair: TBC

Cost per mile: TBC

Fuel consumption: 156.9-141.2mpg

CO2 (BIK %): 44-47g/km (11%)  

BIK 20/40% a month: £75/£150

Luggage capacity: 420 litres

Engine size/power: 1,332cc/180hp plus 60hp electric motor


  • Proper off-roading ability without high emissions
  • Smart interior updates
  • Rogue lane warnings
  • Boot on the small side