Motoring:

Find Your Way

BY: Irwin B Fletcher
No matter what your destination is, with the all-new 2018 Jeep Compass you’ll take the long road home. Or perhaps no road at all
Where would you go if you could go anywhere? I’ve asked myself this question many times, but it normally involves me getting on a plane when I give my answer. But if an airport isn’t nearby, or flying isn’t within your monthly budget right now, is it possible to still get away and take that ‘road less travelled by’?

It has been a couple of years since we’ve seen the Jeep Compass on the market, but as it has returned this year completely redesigned with a whole new range of new tech jammed into it, the answer is a giddy ‘yes’.

NURTURING TRUE NATURE

Walking the line between the rough and tumble Jeep Wrangler and the smooth and sophisticated Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Compass is the right balance between the two to make it nearly impossible not to usher in your next adventure.

The limited version is laden with comfort from front to back. The piano black and silver bezels on each instrument panel as well as the chrome knobs all add upscale distinction to this diamond in the rough.

The black leather with accent stitching reminded me of the interior of a finely tuned supercar rather than the off-road wanderer that I was sitting in.

The all-new Uconnect technology system has taken a leap forward as well. You can now scroll, swipe, drag and drop, pinch to zoom, and shrink and move images to meet all your needs.

Even from the driver’s steering wheel, interaction is keener on being like the Compass’s bigger more luxurious sisters than that of the Wrangler. Fingertip controls allow you to scroll through a selection of data displayed on a 7-inch full color screen in the middle of the driver’s console. Information includes navigation, capability data, performance statistics, vehicle dynamics, alerts and much more.

NATURAL SELECTION

But let’s not forget that this is half Wrangler. Underneath the hood the 2.4 litre Tiger Shark engine brings with it 180 horse power; more than enough to get you through the rough bits when you’re not on pavement. Connect this with the nine speed automatic transmission and you’ll have the power when you need it with less overall noise and vibration.

Working our way down to the ground, the Selec-Terrain Traction Management System does the rest for you. This system has settings for snow, sand, and mud. However, simply leaving it in ‘auto’ will make the system do all of the work. It will automatically adjust vehicle dynamics to best suit the road conditions. When not needed the rear driveline disengages and it becomes a standard front-wheel drive vehicle, helping to save on petrol.

THE ROADS LESS TRAVELLED

For the weekend, I planned on putting it through the paces. Driving on city streets as well as the highway was comfortable enough; however, I thought that since it was the upscale version that power seats should have come standard. Ones that were ventilated would have also been nice for the weekend that I had it, as temperatures closed in on 42 degrees each day.

It handled well though with a minimum amount of body roll, which made me more enthusiastic about taking it off the beaten path to see how dusty we could get it.

The engine has a nice bit of horsepower, but nothing that is ever going to beat anything off the line; which is ok. It has enough spirit to overtake somebody easily and with the nine-speed gearbox it doesn’t take much effort anyway.

I didn’t have the opportunity to try the ‘snow’ setting, but I did utilise the ‘sand’.

With the body design that resembles the larger Grand Cherokee, I was not confident about taking it for a true ‘dune bashing’ afternoon. However, it did manage a rather smooth ride over the rougher gatch tracks and smaller dunes.

The throttle was more aggressive, and it tackled the looser, sand-covered surfaces with ease. Even with a little slip from side to side, I always felt in control.

GET LOST, IT’S OKAY

Overall, I like the Compass. It brings Jeep into the compact SUV segment that I’ve experienced with other lines, but it does it with a sense of Jeep adventure that has been the trademark of the brand for years. It’s certainly more spacious than it looks and if you’re looking for something a bit more upmarket yet rugged then the Compass ticks all the boxes.

It might not be as cushy as some of the higher end Jeeps or even some competitors, but I don’t feel this is where the Compass is trying to be. It will get you where you need to go, and it won’t complain while you’re going. It does exactly what an SUV is supposed to do, but with an attitude and ability that is historically Jeep.
 

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