The first generation Compass was not a car that any automaker worth its salt would be proud of, let alone Jeep. A front-wheel drive chassis wrapped in an unsightly package and given a name that suggests go-anywhere capability was an insult to the storied Jeep badge. But thankfully, the second generation that came out ten years later righted almost all that was wrong with its predecessor and brought in a much needed dose of a dose of character and style. And of course some real capabilities to venture off the tarmac.

The 2019 model of the Compass Limited variant receives new 19-inch Satin Gloss Granite wheels, Uconnect 8.4-inch infotainment centre with navigation, high-intensity discharge headlamps with signature LED light, LED taillamps, Satin Gloss Granite grille surrounds, gloss black roof with deep-tint glass, anodized gunmetal interior finishes and tungsten interior stitching. It also sees adaptive cruise control technology added as part of the Advanced Safety Group Package.


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Photos: Stefan Lindeque

Other than these additions, everything else about the 2019 model is pretty much the same as when the second-gen was launched. It’s indeed a good-looking crossover with crisp creases and muscular fender flares adding to its brawny presence. The simple, well-laid out cabin does its job well comfortably seating five adults, the front seats being particularly supportive.

There isn’t anything remarkable about the 2.4-litre petrol engine, which puts out 173 horsepower and 237Nm of torque. It feels hesitant in its response when sudden acceleration is demanded of it, and the nine-speed automatic transmission is slow to effect shifts. However, its driving dynamics are quite impressive for its class; the steering is well weighted, and the chassis is agile and solid.

Unlike its predecessor, the new Compass is capable of handling moderate off-road duties, thanks to its advanced, intelligent full-time 4x4 system. The Jeep Active Drive and Active Drive Low 4x4 systems include the Jeep Selec-Terrain system, providing four modes (Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud). The Trailhawk variant gets an additional Rock mode.

Driver and passenger safety features include Forward Collision Warning, Lane Sense Departure Warning, Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection, rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines, Automated Parallel and Perpendicular Park assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll mitigation and six standard air bags. It also gets a ‘safety cage’ construction with more than 65 per cent of high-strength steel.

The new Compass is one of the better options in its class. If performance isn’t the main consideration and if you’re buying it only as a compact urban family car, the Compass won’t disappoint.


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