What is it?
Despite the fact that the UK is very much Land Rover’s home turf, Britons have long had a soft spot for Jeeps. Some say it goes right back to the age-old reputation for ruggedness of wartime editions that still ply our roads in summer.
Whatever the reason, the British reception of the new Jeep Compass, with its all-new interior and new 237bhp plug-in hybrid powertrain, looks like being the warmest yet.
This soft-roader seems to have just about everything going for it. It lands in the UK’s biggest market sector (C-segment SUVs), which accounted for a thriving 22% of sales in 2021 and is predicted to grab more like 26% in 2022. Jeep UK’s bosses also expect it to be better built and much easier to order than the previous model, because production has been moved from India to Italy.
Best of all, the leading variants in the range – the off-road-focused Trailhawk and the plusher S – are both powered by the PHEV powertrain, which lobs them into a category for which British demand has doubled in a year. Throw in a better-designed interior, distinctively Jeep styling, lots of equipment and keen pricing (the full-house S we tested costs £40,895) and you have a highly competitive entry. It needs to be, mind you, because the Germans, Japanese and Koreans are extremely serious about this market and buyers have well over a dozen strong options.
Although manufacturing has moved halfway across the world, the Compass is easily recognisable from the model that went out of production in the second half of last year. (In another piece of luck, Jeep UK built up its stocks of the outgoing model, so the 1700 examples it sold here to October 2021 were in easy supply.)