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Jeep Compass 4xe PHEV review

We review the new Jeep Compass, which has undergone huge interior changes.

The Jeep Compass 4xe PHEV

The Jeep Compass 4xe PHEV

We all know the iconic standing the Jeep badge has in the motor industry.

And now, we have the American brand’s first plug-in hybrid.

Slotted into the latest version of the Compass, the powerplant delivers an all-electric range of around 30 miles. Perfect for the majority of daily journeys around town.

Updated at the end of 2021 for last year, the latest Compass — I’ve got my hands on a Compass 4xe PHEV Trailhawk 1.3 Turbo which pumps out 240bhp — builds on what had gone before.

Adopting something of an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ philosophy, the designers only slightly tweaked and spruced the new car’s styling. Why? Because customers of the pre-facelifted version loved its looks.

That said, the subtle improvements, which include a wider lower grille as part of a more aggressive-looking front bumper, certainly give the latest model more presence on the road.

It definitely looks more robust despite the designers essentially leaving the profile and rear end untouched. The Compass now also has full LED headlights fitted as standard across the range.

Any changes to the cabin?

There certainly are. While customers’ feedback to the pre-facelift model praised the Compass’s exterior, the interior didn’t fare so well.

So, Jeep has grabbed the bull by the horns and given the cabin a fairly significant and comprehensive overhaul.

The most noticeable change is the new design to the dashboard. Built around a more horizontal design theme, the standout is the larger 10.1-inch touchscreen. This now incorporates Jeep’s new Uconnect 5 infotainment system and a 10.25-inch digital dash. That upgrade is hugely significant because it now houses a processor which is five times faster than before, according to Jeep.

And given the Compass is focused on going head-to-head with the likes of the Hyundai Tucson and Volkswagen Tiguan, Jeep has lifted the standard and quality of the interior fixtures, fittings and materials — especially those which will regularly come into finger contact — to a new, higher level.

The Trailhawk I drove had a number of nice touches, including keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather-wrapped gear knob, six-way adjustments for both front seats, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, a rear park assist system with a rear camera, comfortable seating with red stitching accents, a front passenger seat which could be folded flat forward, and 17-inch alloys.

This latest version also has three times as much interior storage as its pre-facelift sibling, and it’ll swallow 438 litres of goodies in the boot. That’s the same as the ICE models in the range.

Ok, but what about the plug-in hybrid tech?

It’s a pretty good combo. The 4xe — and for goodness sake, don’t call it the ‘four-ex-ee’; Jeep would like you to pronounce it ‘four-by-ee’, in the same way you would pronounce ‘four-by-four’ … marketing people, eh? — is powered by a 1.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivering 178bhp. It’s mated to an electric motor fed by an 11.4kWh battery. Total combined output rises to 237bhp.

As I mentioned earlier, it means the Compass is capable of ‘approximately’ 30 miles of all-electric power. And if you’re thinking about the Compass PHEV from a business user perspective, what makes it even more attractive is its CO2 emissions of 44g/km.

What about performance?

Jeep figures state it’ll cover the standard 0-62mph sprint in 7.3 seconds and carry on to a maximum of 124mph. On the road and around town, it certainly feels nippy enough for normal everyday driving

Fuel efficiency and charging?

It’s frugal: well, certainly in terms of the quoted figures. It has a claimed best of 156.9mpg. I know, these are figures which will never be achieved in real-world driving conditions, but if you primarily use the Compass PHEV in its all-electric mode, your fuel figures and cost saving will still definitely be impressive.

When it comes to charging, plug the car into a standard 7kW home wallbox and you’ll top it up from 10% to max in under three hours.

Thinking of making the switch to electric?

What’s it like to drive?

Perfectly pleasant. Power is delivered to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic box. Perfect for winding your way through the town centre, and equally comfortable stretching its legs on the motorway.

It certainly pays to take a more relaxed approach to driving the Compass PHEV. Doing so maximises the comfort and refinement of the car. Steering remains reassuringly light, ensuring the Jeep feels agile and manoeuvrable, especially given its size and ride height.

Apart from ‘Electric’, other driving modes include ‘Hybrid’, which uses the petrol engine and the electric motor, and ‘E-Save’, which uses the petrol engine to save the battery charge.

Doesn’t it have 4WD?

It certainly does, in true Jeep fashion. Fitted with what Jeep calls its eAWD, the electric motor helps progress on loose surfaces. It’s fair to say the Compass PHEV is capable of much more offroad exploits than the average owner will ever put it through.

The eAWD system’s Selec-Terrain traction control system allows you to choose from four modes: Sand/Mud, Snow, Auto and Sport. And the Trailhawk adds another: Rock mode. There are also buttons for 4WD low and 4WD lock.

Pricing and verdict

The Compass 4xe PHEV Trailhawk 1.3 Turbo starts at £39,895, but the version I drove benefitted further from two additions, the Technology & Convenience pack and a Mode 3 cable. Combined, these added a further £2,750 taking the total price to £42,645.

There’s no denying the Compass 4xe PHEV is an appealing package. Its chunky looks are very American and robust, while the technology gives the owner a rite of passage into the world of all-electric driving with the security of a turbocharged 1-3-litre engine waiting in the wings.

It’s certainly a significant improvement on its predecessor and definitely worthy of a test drive.

Spec Panel
Model Jeep Compass 4xe PHEV Trailhawk 1.3 Turbo
Price £39,895 (As tested £42,645)
Powertrain 1.3-litre 4cyl turbo petrol PHEV
Power 237bhp
Transmission Transmission
Torque 270Nm
0-62 mph 7.3 seconds
Economy (WLTP) 156.9mpg
CO2 emissions 44g/km

About the Author

Jim McGill

Jim is an award-winning motoring correspondent with more than 30 years' experience in the industry.