ONE of the most famous names in four wheel drive motoring is back in business in the UK following the take over of Chrysler by Fiat who have just launched the refreshed Jeep Compass with both 4x4 and two wheel drive writes Bryan Longworth.
The sales of Chrysler and Jeep vehicles have been in limbo for almost a year while the sale of the company took place with Fiat being the eventual purchaser.
Fiat UK Sales Director, Rob Hatfield, told me that the company was to neaerly double its dealerships by 2014 and more new models were to follow the latest Compass including the all new Grand Cherokee.
The latest Compass is the first new generation Jeep to offer two wheel drive versions as well as 4x4 models following the trend set by other manufacturers including Nissan and Land Rover.
However, Jeep stress that despite offering compass with both 2WD and 4WD the vehicle still personifies the brand’s unique DNA symbolising free spirited adventure, the authenticity of the original 4x4 and mastery of adverse conditions both off and on road.
Competing in the rapidly expanding compact SUV segment Jeep’s new Compass range has been designed to appeal to a much wider audience now there are two types of transmission.
It is expected the two wheel drive models will appeal to hatchback owners wanting to trade up and the 4x4 models will appeal to those owners wanting a tough and top quality offroader especially those living in country and farming areas.
The latest Compass has undergone a comprehensive redesign inside and out and starts at £16,995 on the road with four trim levels, two diesel and one petrol engine and manual and automatic gears.
The most obvious changes are at the front where the grille combines with a new bumper, front valance, quad reflector head lights, projector fog lights and a new bonnet complete with power bulge.
At the rear there is a new valance and LED tail lights combining with a new rear tailgate spoiler to give a more premium appearance and there is an all new interior.
I had a quick drive in the Compass 4x4 with the 161bhp diesel engine and six speed manual gearbox on road where I found that the steering and handling had been improved giving the car a more positive feel about it.
Overall the latest Compass is a much better car with wider appeal and once it becomes established it should soon start blazing the trail for Jeep again in the UK.
My Verdict: New Compass points the way forward for Jeep.
Model: New Jeep Compass.
Engines: Two diesel and one petrol.
Drive: Two and four wheel drive.
Transmissions: Six speed manual and automatic.
Trim levels: Four.
Price: From £16,995.