The Jeep Compass made its debut in the Philippine market about a year ago, and to our surprise, unlike most Jeeps from the past, this model was not rocking any form of all-wheel drive (AWD) gear. However, this decision was deliberate, because based on market research, there appears to be a growing trend that women have shifted their preferences towards SUVs and crossovers. This includes this 2021 Jeep Compass, which had the notion that it was designed primarily for outdoor adventures–a predominantly male activity.
Even in the Philippines, more women can be seen alighting from a Montero, an Everest, or a Fortuner. But before we discuss further the gender preferences, let me guide you first with some of the basic features of the new 2021 Jeep Compass.
The Jeep Compass retains the form of what the brand is popularly known for and we know these vehicles are naturally taller and have the usual better ground clearance compared to its competitors. Notwithstanding the trademark of Jeep for its all-terrain strength, the higher sitting position of crossovers and SUVs nowadays are usually within the natural hip height of the average person. This makes it easier for occupants to get in and out of the vehicle aside from the fact the road view is much more accommodating for Filipino women drivers. As a result, more and more women are appreciating the value of a slightly taller vehicle than your average passenger car due to easier ingress, egress and because of the vantage wider front road view.
Size-wise, the Jeep Compass is a five-seat crossover SUV that’s slightly bigger than the Renegade, though the two vehicles ride on the same platform. It’s also not as big as the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Its rivals may include cars like the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Seltos, to name a few.
The Compass’s exterior starts with Jeep’s iconic seven-slotted grille, which are flanked by a pair of halogen headlights with LED position lamps that give the Compass an inviting look. In addition, the rear end features a striking pair of LED tail lights with a 3rd brake light embedded in the rear spoiler. To assist you when reversing, the Compass has a standard rear wiper and a rear-view camera, though it has no parking-assist feature. Still, these features are more than enough to guide you when backing up. This particular variant also wears a set of 17-inch alloy wheels, though we wish they were an inch bigger to give the Compass better proportions.
Moving into the interior, and you’ll see a well-designed dashboard layout. Upfront, drivers will definitely enjoy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) well-loved 7-inch UConnect infotainment system. The user interface is snappy and very responsive. Plus most of the icons are quite large, meaning it’s easy to tap the icons while on the move. There’s also Apple CarPlay smartphone integration that lets you access your Spotify playlist easily, along with Waze for real-time traffic updates. Unfortunately, this does not have automatic climate control, and frankly, we’re not aware of any other SUV at this price point that still uses manual air conditioning.
While the interior design of the Jeep Compass is interesting, its build quality and materials are on the average side of things. Sure, there’s a decent amount of soft-touch plastics on the dash, but the majority of the switchgear such as the stalks and switches don’t feel reassuringly solid.
On the upside, since I have been known to be a road trip warrior in our publication, my three kids and my wife loves panoramic sunroofs during long drives. Not only does it bring in a lot of light when the shade is open, but the large front half of the glass can easily be opened. It’s basically the second-best thing to owning a convertible, but with the benefit of having your other passengers enjoying al fresco road trips.
The sheer practicality and usability offered by the 2021 Jeep Compass is something that my wife truly appreciates. Of course, adventures are always better if you’ve got family members with you. Thankfully, they’ll appreciate the generous space on all seats, along with the three charging ports and rear aircon vents. The kids also do not need to pack light as its 438-liter trunk can accommodate all of their bags, including the golf bag of my daughter or the racing gear of my energetic son.
Out on the open road, the 2021 Jeep Compass does not disappoint as a long-distance road trip cruiser. Under its hood is FCA’s 1.4-liter Multi-air turbocharged inline-4 gasoline engine that produces 162 hp and 250 Nm of torque. This powertrain drives the front wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT). Once the engine and gearbox are in rhythm with each other, power delivery is excellent and relentless. The great low-end torque means you don’t have to rev the engine as hard in order to overtake.
Perhaps the best part about driving this compact SUV is its stability and high-speed refinement. Road and wind noise is well suppressed. Yet when you bring it out on twisty roads, the Jeep Compass is willing to have a little bit of fun. This is thanks to its electric steering that’s responsive to your inputs.
Unfortunately, its performance in city driving isn’t that stellar. The 1.4-liter engine’s reliance on boost makes it feel slow when accelerating from a standstill. In addition, the DCT, which is a dry-type system, isn’t the most refined transmission out there. Shifts are responsive, but they can feel quite clunky at times, especially when crawling in stop-start traffic.
Fuel economy is otherwise good, though not impressive. This compact SUV had an average fuel economy of 9.6 km/l during our stint with this SUV.
The 2021 Jeep Compass has truly left a mark on my wife. During the entire lend-out, my wifey opted to work from home during that week so she can really experience and the Compass. Yes, it has its quirks, but it’s still a charming compact SUV that’s ready for adventure when you want it and practical when you need it. With current promos in place, the Jeep Compass is priced within the ballpark of a number of SUVs at a size class lower.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★☆
Interior Design: ★★★☆☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★★☆
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★☆
Value For Money: ★★★★★
Overall: 4.0 out of 5
*Pricing is correct and accurate as of this article’s time of writing.