The aggressive, carefree butch SUV is now environment-friendly at heart

The Compass has been in Jeep’s stable for around 13 years now. It was unveiled as a concept at the 2002 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Although revealed as a two-door concept, the Compass was ultimately launched as a four-door crossover four years after it made its world premiere in Detroit. Five years into production, Jeep decided to give the Compass a face that resonated with the Grand Cherokee. Soon, the Compass started receiving its own identity as with many off-road features and packages available. In 2017, the second-generation of the Compass was launched, and it replaced its predecessor, as well as the Jeep Patriot. It will not be the worst thing to say that even though it could not garner big numbers for the automaker from 2007 to 2017, there was consistent growth in the sales figures. However, 2018 turned out to be the breakthrough year for the Jeep Compass. Jeep sold 171,167 examples of the Compass in 2018, an increase of 87,914 from 83,253 copies it sold in 2017. That’s more than 100-percent growth! Carrying over its rich form from last year, the Compass came to Switzerland with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Compass did not come alone; the Renegade accompanied it with the same mill under its hood. It’s like two brothers wearing the same clothes to go to a party. That’s cute.

Exterior

  • Seven-slat grille looks fantastic
  • LED Daytime Running Lights
  • The 4X4e badge is the only differentiating factor
  • 16-inch alloys are standard
2019 Jeep Compass Hybrid High Resolution
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What once used to be its Achilles’ Heel is now the Compass’ selling point. We have no remorse in saying that the first-gen Compass, especially the pre-facelift model, was an ugly vehicle. Things got much better once Jeep decided to give it a Cherokee-esque look. The second generation came out looking all the more fierce and aggressive, and the Jeep Compass PHEV carries over similar styling cues.

It does not bear any difference to the standard Compass other than a badge on the boot.

The face features a set of smart, sleek HID Projector headlights. The LED Daytime Running Lights are bright even under the bright sun. The honeycomb grille is flanked by the signature seven slats that is more synonymous with Jeep than the ’Jeep’ logo itself. The foglamp housing makes a place for itself on either end of the bumper, and the turn indicator lights are integrated here as well. The bottom plastic cladding steeply rakes upwards in the Trailhawk trim, thus giving the Compass an excellent approach angle of 30 degrees. We have seen other automakers designing similar-styled bumpers on their models, but none of them have managed to make it look as good as Jeep has.

2019 Jeep Compass Hybrid High Resolution
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The profile of the Jeep Compass PHEV is rather clean other than the sharp crease starting from the front door that goes all the way to the taillight.

The quarter window in the rear sharply rakes upwards, adding slight character to the otherwise boring profile.

For a SUV of this size, Jeep should have provided slightly larger wing mirrors. Since the D-Pillars are quite thick, drivers will generally rely on the wing mirrors to get an idea of the action behind. Yes, there is the rearview camera and the blind-spot monitoring system, but there are people like me who rely on old-school methods more than technology. Anyway, the A-pillar is quite slim and its actually quite interesting because we have seen A-pillars larger than this one on hatches! The Compass PHEV rides on 16-inch rollers as standard, but can be upgraded to 17-inch alloys as an option.

2019 Jeep Compass Hybrid High Resolution
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Walk to the back and you’ll notice that the Jeep Compass has a bloated derriere. Just like the rest of the SUV, the boot is same as the standard Compass as well.

The rear view camera is housed right above the number plate, under the lip, which itself is between the taillights.

There might be some people who complain that the camera should have been placed lower, perhaps on the bumper so that it gives a clearer image of things right under the Compass’ ass. The LED taillights are a standard affair. The grab handle, however, is a sore point on the otherwise good-looking boot. Yes, it’s at a convenient location, but it does not look very elegant, or in line with the boot, for that matter. There is a new 4X4e badge on the left side, differentiating it from its fuel-guzzling counterparts.

Interior

  • Dedicated instrument cluster for the hybrid system
  • Seven-inch touchscreen system
  • Lot of buttons in the cockpit make the cabin look cluttered
  • Rear HVAC vents
  • High luggage loading lip is a pain
First Drive: 2017 Jeep Compass High Resolution Interior
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Step inside the Compass PHEV and you will be greeted to a familiar cabin.

The Compass PHEV features a dedicated instrument cluster and an infotainment screen that will display information about the hybrid system such as the battery consumption, all-electric range, and combined hybrid range.

Other than that, the cabin is same as the standard Compass. The center console features a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with a UConnect system. The top trim features an 8.4-inch touchscreen. Both of them support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The air control vents are tilted towards the driver and the passenger, but fortunately, Jeep has provided air vents for the rear passengers as well. Overall, there is nothing exceptional or exciting about the dash, but that doesn’t mean anything is bad either. However, at a time when automakers are using touchscreens for literally everything, the Compass PHEV comes across as rather cluttered with buttons all around.

Talking about the space and comfort, the Jeep Compass PHEV is a comfortable four-passenger SUV. The front seats feel narrow and don’t have enough cushioning to keep you relaxed on long journeys. I’ll try to be as polite as possible here - the Jeep Compass PHEV has a cramped rear. You can squeeze in a fifth passenger as well, but he or she won’t be welcome for sure. The Compass is not very wide, but Jeep could have surely made it more spacious if it had played with the available dimensions better. The legroom and headroom is sufficient, however. The cargo space is quite generous, too, but with the high loading lip, you’ll actually have to lift the luggage 30 inches off the ground to put it in. The rear seats can be flipped down in a 60:40 ratio, which enables you to have 59.8 cubic-feet of space at your disposal. Mind you, these are the figures for a standard Compass. Jeep has not officially released the specs for the PHEV, but expect it to be marginally less than the standard Compass.

First Drive: 2017 Jeep Compass High Resolution Interior
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In terms of features, the entry level trim offer basic stuff like a seven-inch touchscreen, cloth upholstery, and air-conditioning. Move up the order and you can get features like:

  • Keyless Ignition
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Leather-Wrapped Heated Steering Wheel
  • Power Adjustable Driver’s Seat
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Blind-Spot Monitors
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Active Lane Control
  • Rear Parking Sensors
Legroom - 38.3 inches
Wheelbase 103.8 inches
Cargo Space 27.2 cubic feet

Drivetrain

  • 1.3-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine
  • 240 horses at your disposal
  • 0-60 mph in seven seconds!
  • Electric all-wheel-drive system
  • 31 miles on electric mode
2019 Jeep Compass Hybrid High Resolution
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Let’s talk about the most important aspect that sets the Compass PHEV apart from the standard Compass. It’s a little weird that a Jeep can be called environment-friendly, but it’s good to see the automaker make a move to reduce its carbon footprint. As the name suggests, it is a plug-in hybrid vehicle that is a lot more nature-friendly than the pure combustion Compass.

The Compass PHEV is powered by a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine paired to an electric motor.

The combustion engine powers the front axle whereas the electric motor drives the rear wheels, thus, making this an all-wheel drive SUV. It produces a combined output of 240 horses, which propels the SUV to sprint to 60 mph from a standstill in roughly seven seconds.

Things actually look better in here for the off-road enthusiasts. The off-roading capability is further improved over the standard Compass due to the torque supplied by the electric motor to the rear axle. Thanks to the new electric all-wheel-drive technology (eAWD), traction to the rear axle is not provided by a prop shaft, but through the dedicated electric motor. This allows the two axles to be separated and to control the torque independently in a more effective manner than a mechanical system without the need of a separate low-ratio gearbox. It also comes with three drive modes - Hybrid, Electric, and E-Save.

2019 Jeep Compass Hybrid High Resolution
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Jeep has not officially announced the fuel economy figures, but the emissions have been drastically reduced.

The same 1.3-liter engine without the electric motor emits 144 grams of CO2 per kg, but this figure comes down to 50 grams per kg in case of the PHEV. You can also drive it for 31 miles solely on electric power. Jeep said that you can drive it up to the speed of 80 mph only on electric mode; that will obviously drain out the battery faster, but it has enough grunt and pace without emitting any smoke.

Pricing

There is no word on the pricing of the Jeep Compass PHEV yet, but we speculate it to be in the ballpark of $30,000.

Competition

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
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Well, not exactly a direct rival to the Compass, but the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV should certainly be on your shopping list if you are in the market for an affordable plug-in hybrid SUV. It hit the U.S. shores in 2018 after a long-delay, which would have put it in a different league altogether. The Outlander PHEV is a flashy vehicle and wears a lot of bold makeup. The front end features a lot of chrome bit. The Outlander PHEV looks the smartest from the back. The interior has never a strong suite of any Mitsubishi, and the same goes with the this beast as well. However, it is one of the most comfortable and spacious SUVs out there. The only interesting feature in the cabin is the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Surprisingly, there is no seven-seater option available in the PHEV.

Under the hood, the Outlander PHEV features a 2.0-liter engine paired to two electric motors, one on each axle. It delivers 28 miles of pure electric range. The best part about the Outlander PHEV is that 80-percent of the battery can be charged in just 25 minutes. This is unheard of in a PHEV, thus making it the Outlander’s strongest selling point. In conclusion, the Outlander PHEV is the best-selling PHEV crossover for a reason, and perhaps one of the major reasons that the automaker was able to move more cars than Land Rover, Volvo, and Lincoln last year.

Read our full review on the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Kia Niro PHEV

2017 Kia Niro High Resolution Exterior
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The South Korean has made a name for itself and how. Although it can be considered a wagon, the Kia Niro is actually being billed as a crossover utility. Now, we are pitting it against the Compass PHEV solely because the Niro PHEV has enough in it to tilt your decision towards it. The Kia Niro PHEV does not stand out from the crowd, but it is still quite a handsome-looking vehicle. The sweptback headlights, the rounded hood, and the long nose will please all and offend none. There is space and comfort is above average all around the cabin. In terms of features, the crossover utility from South Korea features dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, rear camera, and a seven-inch touchscreen system, to name a few.

The Niro PHEV is powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor. They produce a meager 139 horsepower when working in tandem. The driving experience is not at all impressive, and every time you step on the A-pedal, the Niro PHEV will remind you that you need to drive it sedately. You can run smoke-free for 26 miles. Overall, the Niro PHEV is an affordable city commuter and a lazy highway cruiser. If you expect anything more out of this vehicle, it’s your fault.

Read our full review on the Kia Niro PHEV

Final Thoughts

2019 Jeep Compass Hybrid High Resolution
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Since the Jeep Compass had such a great run in 2018, it made complete sense for Jeep to launch a plug-in version right away and make use of the hype. We see no reason as to why and how the Jeep Compass PHEV could fail. The only thing that can spoil Jeep’s plans moving forward is the way they price the car. The cheapest 4X4 in the Compass’ range begins at $23,500. The pricing we have speculated is for the mid-range Latitude 4X4. The Jeep Compass, along with the Renegade PHEV, is the company’s first vehicle to get electrified. The Compass has also added its name as one of the 10 cars that FCA will be electrifying in the near future.

  • Leave it
    • Has literally no differentiating factors other than the engine
    • No replacement for displacement - 1.3-liter engine is downright cruel
    • Rear space inside the cabin is still a major drawback

Further reading

2017 Jeep Compass High Resolution Exterior
- image 696029

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Compass.

Jeep Enters the Electric Market with Renegade Plug-in Hybrid
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Jeep Enters the Electric Market with Renegade Plug-in Hybrid

review of the new Jeep® Renegade and Jeep Compass with plug-in hybrid electric technology
New PHEV technology enhances the Jeep off-road performance taking advantage of the high torque control during take-off
The combined action of the two propulsion systems delivers up to 240 hp
Both Jeep SUVs feature batteries which can be recharged by the internal combustion engine or by the plug-in charging cable
The evolution of the Jeep brand in Europe continues and stays true to its core values of freedom, authenticity, adventure and passion

The Jeep® brand continues to surprise audiences at this year’s Geneva International Motor Show.

After setting a new global sales record in 2018, the Jeep brand welcomes 2019 as the year of an evolution that remains true to those core values that have been at the heart of the brand for almost eighty years. The Jeep brand has always pioneered new segments and new technologies: its legend started in 1941 with the Willys-Overland, the first 4x4 vehicle, followed in 1946 by the Willys Wagon, which first introduced the concept of the Sport Utility Vehicle. Its legendary reputation for off-road capability has lasted ever since. Comfort, handling and connectivity have been increased over time, in parallel with the all-terrain performance of Jeep SUVs. Today, the Jeep brand is making another major evolutionary step towards respecting the environment and reducing the total cost of ownership by presenting its new plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) models. A no-compromise hybrid solution, which integrates the unmatched technical layout of each Jeep SUV, will power both the Jeep Renegade and Jeep Compass and will turn them into vehicles that provide absolute freedom while taking their capability to the next level through some of the most advanced eco-friendly technology.

New Renegade and Compass PHEV: power and range

In the spotlight at the Jeep stand in Geneva, these new plug-in hybrid models are equipped with batteries that are rechargeable from an external power outlet and, as a consequence, can store more electric energy. This choice allows for the use of more powerful electric motors, which translate into a pure electric range of approximately 50 kilometers and about 130 km/h full electric top speed for both Renegade and Compass.

The electric units work in synergy with the new 1.3-litre turbo petrol engine to increase efficiency and power overall. For the Renegade, the power sits in the 190 and 240 hp range resulting in outstanding on-road performance: 0-100 km/h is reached in approximately seven seconds. The same figures - although still pending homologation - are achieved by the first plug-in hybrid Compass. Also, on the Compass, the simultaneous action of the internal combustion engine (ICE) and the electric motor delivers up to 240 hp of maximum power.

In addition, the new Jeep SUVs with plug-in hybrid technology are more fun to drive courtesy of improved acceleration and fast engine response. They are also extremely quiet and respectful of the environment with CO2 emissions lower than 50 g/km.

But above all, thanks to electrification, the Jeep range further improves its legendary off-road capability, courtesy of the greater torque offered by the electric motor and the ability to adjust it with extreme precision during take-off and while driving on the most challenging terrain, where a very low transmission ratio is needed.

Thanks to the new electric all-wheel-drive technology (eAWD), traction to the rear axle is not provided by a prop shaft but through a dedicated electric motor. This allows the two axles to be separated and to control the torque independently in a more effective way than a mechanical system.

Renegade and Compass PHEVs feature a dedicated instrument cluster and infotainment screen, updated in order to help the customer with information related to daily hybrid driving.

While being loyal to its mindset of overcoming any limit, the Jeep brand continues to evolve, to develop and to bring its SUVs to the next level in line with its core values of freedom, authenticity and passion. Today the brand is embracing a new challenge and setting new standards. Behind the wheel of Jeep Renegade and Jeep Compass featuring PHEV technology, driving fun becomes efficient and, for the first time, it will be possible to tackle the most extreme off-road trails not only in the utmost safety but also while listening to the sounds of nature.

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