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  • Writer's pictureAlain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

2020 Jeep Compass

Updated: Apr 4, 2021

This week we are reviewing the 2020 Jeep Compass Trailhawk. Our vehicle was assembled at the Toluca Assembly in Mexico and has an MSRP of $44770.00 CAD.

Fun Factor: 5

Can it Family: 6

Off-Road: 6

Fuel-Friendly: 5

HWY-warrior: 4

Karaoke Friendly: 6

Baby friendly: 6

City Cruising: 6

When we first drove away with the Compass, we weren't sure what we would expect, especially since the previous generation Compass was far from being a true Jeep. While the Compass is no Wrangler, it does infuse the Jeep DNA in a fashion that totally makes sense for a lot of people. While most don't need to have a hardcore off-roader on a daily basis, the Compass fills very well a market for people that need something that feels as good on the pavement as it does on a light trail. The Compass excels in finding a middle ground where other crossovers have failed. We drove it over some pretty bad pavement in Montreal. The Jeep Compass made it look easy and hence reassured us that this wasn't just any type of crossover where a Jeep badge was slapped on. At the same time, it gave us no choice but to test the Jeep Compass off-road to see its capabilities. The Jeep Compass offers a 4WD lock when Mother Nature throws lousy weather your way and a 4WD low in our Trailhawk when the trail throws obstacles along the way. It's quite practical when the terrain becomes muddy, or when you need to drive over rocks; it has skid plates under the vehicle on the front and back to protect sensitive components from damage.

Under the hood of the Jeep Compass is a 2.4L Tigershark engine that produces 180hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. The acceleration from a standstill is decent and should get you to 100km/h in an estimated 9.1 seconds. The ride is smooth, and we would say that it's an enjoyable package overall. We found room for improvement in the transmission; we found the time it took for the 9-speed automatic to downshift to a gear that enabled it to gain speed took some time. This hesitation was most noticeable when going from 80km/h to 120km/h.

Now, does the versatility of having a vehicle that you can drive both on-road and off-road compromise the interior space? As the interior is geared towards an off-road vehicle, storage inside is more limited; we find less generous compartments in the doors, the cup holders are smaller. As a family, we always prefer more room for travel essentials: wipes, water bottles, snacks, etc. The large windows provide great visibility and make the cabin feels airy. In our perspective, the seating position for the drive is made for drivers who are smaller than 5ft10. The seats, even at its lowest option, still felt quite high. My spouse, who is 5ft tall, felt quite happy with the seating position as it gave her the flexibility to find a comfortable seating position for her height. Often we find that other vehicles offer comfortable seating for taller drivers; however, forget everyone else in the mix. The seats were made of both leather and fabric; they were more on the firmer side. Overall, they are smaller, the seating is shorter, and the backrest didn't reach the top of my shoulders, my wife was just fine. Seating in the back is limited to 2 adults. The middle seat is more suitable for a child. The trunk is spacious enough to fit a stroller and to keep space for other items too.

The average fuel consumption we observed on the Jeep Compass during our 730km test was 10.7L per 100km, on the HWY we averaged 7.6L per 100km, and in the city, we averaged 11L per 100km. Our average fuel consumption includes driving off-road, and without the off-road portion, the average fuel economy lies around 9.2L/100km. While the engine feels adequate, the 9-speed automatic transmission is always gear hunting to find the best fuel efficiency gear. The downside is that when you need to overtake, the transmission takes quite some time to downshift before the engine reacts.

The Alpine sound system, in general, sounds good in other FCA products; in the Jeep Compass, we weren't too impressed because it sounded echoey. We found the infotainment's use quite easy and loved how efficiently the integrated navigation system worked. It was quite simple to find an address, and while driving, the vocal commands worked promptly. To be honest, this is quite rare, often just trying to find an address on a native system is a pain, and we just revert using Waze or Google Maps. The Uconnect infotainment does also offer the possibility to have both Apple Car Play and Android Auto Compass whole connected via a USB cable.

The Jeep Compass's rear doors almost open to 90 degrees, making it easy to get car seats inside the cabin. Once placed inside, you have the option to install the car seat on one of the outer seats. Those seats have buried ISOFIX ports and require a little playing around to be latched, the same goes for unlatching. A front-facing car seat with rigid connectors provided simpler latching and unlatching of the car seat. Front-facing car seats will require adjustment to the front passenger seat and can accommodate a person no taller than 5ft7. Finally, in our toddler test, our youngest was able to grab the door handle and open the door with ease and hop inside the cabin without any help.

In the city, the Compass felt at home; road imperfections were smoothed out similarly to a vehicle in the premium/luxury segment. The steering did feel a little light and sometimes quite vague at lower speeds. The lighter steering, on the other hand, helped us quickly maneuvers and park the Compass on narrow streets. The resolution of the camera of the Compass could greatly see improvement as even during a sunny day; individual pixels can be recognized.

Why would we buy the 2020 Jeep Compass, or what we liked about it? The Infotainment is responsive and easy to use, comfortable ride, off-road capability, large cargo room for its class, it's a baby Jeep!

Picture by Maryna Kuhn Von Kuhenfeld

Why we would not buy the 2020 Jeep Compass, or what we did not like about it? Slow shifting gearbox when the vehicle is in motion, or while trying to overtake. The air conditioning took quite a while to cool the vehicle. Storage spaces limited

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