The new plug-in hybrid Jeep Compass 4xe struggles with refinement, but still comes with plenty of plus points.
Jeep’s new 4xe (pronounced ‘four-by-ee’ like ‘four-by-four’) plug-in hybrid powertrain is another big step forward for this new Compass. Jeep Australia is currently assessing the model for introduction locally and we’ve been able to get a drive in the new car overseas to see how it stacks up.
It brings the new facelifted looks but with an electrified drivetrain, meaning similar looks all over. Inside, there’s the new dash design with a more horizontal design theme, a larger 10.1-inch touchscreen incorporating Jeep’s new Uconnect 5 infotainment system and a 10.25-inch digital dash. It’s a significant improvement, with a processer that’s five times faster than before, according to Jeep. However, it’s still not the most intuitive set-up to use and response times and screen resolution could still be better.
Interior quality has taken a step up though, given the American brand is targeting rivals such as the Volkswagen Tiguan and Hyundai Tucson, and while it’s certainly better, there’s still room for improvement in places, even if the leather-lined dash on our top-spec S version is a nice touch.
The 4xe uses a 133kW version of the 1.3-litre turbo four-cylinder, assisted by an electric motor that is fed by an 11.4kWh battery for a total of 177kW and a claimed all-electric range of approximately 50km.
Jeep says the Compass 4xe will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 7.5 seconds, but in reality, it never feels that rapid. It’s down to the six-speed automatic gearbox, which is sluggish and lethargic. It kicks down (slowly) when you ask for even moderate acceleration where you might think the 250Nm from the electric motor would fill in for combustion unit.
It’s also noisy when revved, so it really is better to approach it with a more relaxed mindset, because the Compass offers more comfort and refinement as a result. The ride is fair, although bigger transverse bumps do still upset the chassis.
The steering is light though, which gives the Jeep a relatively good sense of agility given its size and ride height.
Of course, these qualities also mean it delivers the kind of performance you’d expect from a Jeep off-road. With eAWD, as Jeep calls it, the electric motor helps progress on loose surfaces and the Compass 4xe will go further than most people are willing to find out.
The usability element is enhanced by three times as much interior storage as its predecessor, while boot space stands at 438 litres, which is acceptable but not brilliant, and the same as the ICE model. There’s a fair level of room in the rear too, although it’s not class leading.
Efficiency is strong, at a claimed best of 1.8L/100km for the 4xe, so if you only cover local trips expect super-low running costs. The battery can be charge from a 7kW home wallbox in less than three hours.
This top-spec S model we’re testing overseas offers 19-inch alloy wheels, a powered tailgate, sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, wireless phone charging, keyless entry and go, heated seats and adaptive cruise control.
There’s also more advanced driver assistance tech too, with autonomous braking featuring pedestrian and cyclist detection, a drowsy driver alert, traffic sign recognition and intelligent speed limit assist.
In plug-in hybrid 4xe form the updated Jeep Compass brings a drivetrain with impressive efficiency potential. However, it lacks a little in execution; the powertrain isn’t the most refined and the ride is still a little lumpy, even if the tech and quality boosts are welcome.
|Model:||Jeep Compass 4xe|
|Engine:||1.3-litre 4cyl turbo petrol PHEV|
|Transmission:||Six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive|