4 reasons the Jeep Compass is the most competent compact SUV you can buy

We've driven the Jeep Compass in Portugal, here's four reasons we think it might be the most competent compact SUV around

In the summer T3 flew out to Portugal to try out the all-new Jeep Compass.

The Compass is a new model in Jeep's line-up, sitting between the small Renegade and larger Cherokee. It's been designed be the best in class off-roader, as well as offering excellent on-road driving and advanced user-friendly technology.

Here are four reason's we think the Jeep Compass is the ultimate compact SUV:

1. Rugged Design

The  Jeep Compass features a distinctive design. It's immediately recognisable and you know you're looking at a Jeep, with it's characteristic seven-slot grille and the trapezoidal wheel arches.

The Compass looks ready for business, with a wide stance, LED signature headlights, and a strong black outline.

We think it looks great.

It's not just an attractive design, the Jeep has been designed to go off-road as well.

The Trailhawk model features increased ride height of almost 2.5 cm, skid plates, red rear tow hook, unique front and rear fascias that deliver 30 degree approach, 24.4 degree breakover and 33.6 degree departure angles, aggressive 17-inch off-road tires and up to 216 mm of ground clearance.

Try doing in your Nissan Juke.

The Compass will be available in 11 different exterior colours, with seven allow designs, and more than 70 optional Mopar accessories.

2. Off-road tech

 Speaking of off-roading, the Compass offers best-in-class off-road capability comes courtesy of two advanced, intelligent full-time 4x4 systems.

The Jeep Active Drive and Jeep Active Drive Low (the latter with 20:1 crawl ratio) can send 100 percent of available torque to any one wheel when needed.

Both of these systems include the Jeep Selec-Terrain system, allowing you to select from five terrain modes (Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud modes, plus exclusive Rock mode on the Trailhawk model). 

These systems will instantly engage when needed, but are combined with a disconnecting rear axle and power take-off unit (PTU) to provide better fuel economy. 

All 4x4 Compass models also feature the 4WD “Lock” function, and, for even greater Trail Rated off-road capability, Selec-Terrain includes Selec-Speed Control with Hill-descent Control on Trailhawk models.

3. On-road safety features

 As well as being great off-road, the Jeep Compass has plenty of tech to keep you on the road as well.

In Europe, the Compass range is powered by one petrol and two diesel engines.

The petrol engine is the 1.4-litre MultiAir2 Turbo with Stop/Start delivering 140 horsepower and 230 Nm of torque.

The diesel engine range starts with the 1.6-litre MultiJet II with Stop/Start delivering 120 horsepower and 320 Nm of torque.

A higher output version of the 2.0-litre MultiJet II with Stop/Start delivers 170 horsepower in combination with the nine-speed automatic transmission and 4x4 configuration (including the Trailhawk specific low range mode).

The Compass offers more than 70 available active and passive safety and security features including Forward Collision Warning, LaneSense Departure Warning (both standard across the whole range in Europe), Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection, ParkView 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. 

That's a lot of tech.

For added protection, Compass boasts a “safety cage” construction with more than 65 percent high-strength steel. 

4. Modern interior

The Jeep Compass interior features refined materials and some new tech. 

The trapezoidal centre stack is a characteristic Jeep design cue and sports colour and finish that complements the interior choice. 

You've got the choice of a 5, 7, or 8.4-inch touchscreen display running FCA's Uconnect system. 

The centre console neatly integrates the functional features of the Jeep Compass, including gear-shift selection, Selec-Terrain controls, and connectivity ports within the cubby bin. 

Uconnect is capable of communication, entertainment and navigation. The two larger screens also include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing you to use Siri or Android Assistant on the move.

Compass Limited and Trailhawk models also feature "Jeep Skills", which provides off-road-specific indexes, that allow drivers to monitor their performance on trails.  

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Spencer Hart
Style and Travel Editor

As the Style and Travel Editor at T3, Spencer covers everything from clothes to cars and watches to hotels. Everything that's cool, stylish, and interesting, basically. He's been a part of T3 for over seven years, and in that time covered every industry event known to man, from CES and MWC to the Geneva Motorshow and Baselworld. When he's driving up and down the country in search of the greatest driving roads, he can be found messing around on an electric scooter, playing with luxury watches, or testing the latest fragrances.