Jeep Compass 4xe Plug-in Hybrid | Our proof

Jeep Compass 4xe Plug-in Hybrid | Our proof

Jeep is proceeding quickly along its electrification journey – so much so that it has already opened pre-orders for the first 100% electric model, the Jeep Avenger – thanks to the 4xe range, which for some years now has brought in the Jeep catalog a series of proposals with Plug-in Hybrid engines: in this case we had the pleasure of testing the Jeep Compass 4xe Plug-in Hybrid , equipped with a hybrid engine of 190 horsepower overall, composed of a thermal part entrusted to a 1.3 T4 petrol engine and an electric part, or rather two, entrusted to as many electric motors positioned on the two wheel axles, with the rear one essential for having rear-wheel drive even in the absence of a transmission shaft. Let's find out together how the days spent aboard the Jeep Compass 4xe Plug-in Hybrid went.

What convinced us

The hybrid engine of this Jeep Compass 4xe Plug-in Hybrid is undoubtedly one of the strengths of this car: it is an engine capable of adapt to different needs, starting from city ones to end up in the mud of off-road routes: in Hybrid mode the car will use both solutions autonomously (thermal and electric) based on its calculations, in Electric mode you travel without ever turning on the petrol engine, while in e-Save mode the petrol engine can be used to recharge the battery without the need to connect to a column, with a significant increase in fuel consumption. Moving around in electric mode is a pleasure: zero noise, rapid movement and a few grams of CO2 saved thanks to the almost 50 km range ensured by the 11.4 kWh lithium-ion battery. During our test, the range indicated by the car always proved to be very accurate, with the significant advantage of allowing you to travel up to 130 km/h using only the electric part of the engine. With a charged battery, in Hybrid mode, the car is lively and ready to take a shot, especially if you make every effort to use the on-board sequential gearbox. On the other hand, when maximum tranquility is sought, this Jeep Compass 4xe gives its best thanks to a well-soundproofed passenger compartment and correctly calibrated suspension, which make life on board very comfortable.

Jeep Compass 4xe undoubtedly struck us for its rich endowment: the tested model is among the richest in terms of endowment and offers an enviable technological sector that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in wireless mode, advanced driving aids with Adaptive Cruise Control and lane maintenance system which in fact gives life to level 2 autonomous driving, which the car calls 'Highway Assist'. The highway driving assistant can only be activated on roads that the car recognizes as compatible (it also works on 2-lane highways) and not only allows you to set a cruising speed that will be automatically corrected based on traffic conditions , but also to proceed in one's own lane with the certainty that the car will always remain in the center thanks to small corrections made directly from the car. During our tests we wanted to test the capabilities of Highway Assist, which was able to cover long bends without difficulty at high speeds, executing the bend in total autonomy and without particular hesitations: the car is able to detect if the driver has taken his hands off the steering wheel while using Highway Assist and in that case an acoustic warning will sound after about 20 seconds inviting the driver to take the wheel again. If you insist on not touching the steering wheel, the car gets annoyed to the point of braking on its own – for an instant, but quite abruptly – so as to awaken any drowsy driver; method that we imagine works, but vaguely scary to test without knowing it.

All this and much more, like the Uconnect 5 infotainment system, has been enclosed in a completely redesigned passenger compartment with improved materials and finishes: besides the dashboard is crossed from side to side in a wide leather-covered band at the center of which is the 10.1-inch display, also improved in terms of hardware in order to be faster in responding to inputs, below which we find several physical buttons dedicated to activating and switching off the various on-board systems – it is not always obvious that these buttons, dedicated for example to switching off the parking sensors or the lane keeping system, are so obvious and positioned in the center of the dashboard . Another interesting key present is the one that allows you to turn off the infotainment screen, a small detail which, however, can come in handy when traveling at night and the light coming from the screen can be annoying.

What didn't convince us

First of all, the automatic gearbox, it is not for nothing that I recommended relying on the sequential if you want to have a car that responds in a more natural and predictable way: especially in the city and in sudden speed changes, the automatic gearbox present in the Jeep Compass 4xe it seemed to us not quick and reactive, with gear changes that arrive too late and sometimes even a little abruptly – if you want to have a cheerful start at a traffic light, it will not be unusual to see the rev counter touch 4000 rpm before the gearbox decide to put it in 2nd gear, fortunately the small petrol engine is very silent.

When maneuvering in tight city spaces, the Compass, which is not small, can occasionally find itself slightly in difficulty: the poor rear visibility is compensated for by a plethora of sensors and cameras – with rear and top view – which make life easier, while the automatic parking assistant did not shine during the n our tests; when we finally managed to get him to locate a parking space, the attempts to maneuver were always a bit uncertain, to the point of leading us to interrupt the attempt so as not to risk touching other parked cars by mistake.

The interior equipment could be even richer, given the price of this Jeep Compass 4xe: on the version we tested, which has a price starting at €52,401, some comforts are missing which are more than reasonable to expect on a vehicle of this caliber such as the heated seats and steering wheel, or the mirrors with automatic closing. Very comfortable, even if a little small with a volume of just over 400 litres, is the boot with hands-free opening and closing.

How to drive

In this sense we have already given some indications: Jeep Compass 4xe Plug-in Hybrid in the 190 horsepower version (a 239 horsepower version is also planned) is quite lively and fun despite the somewhat slow automatic transmission, and is further supported by a braking system and excellent quality suspensions, calibrated to the best. On asphalt, this Jeep is not afraid of high speeds while off-road it can boast fixed four-wheel drive up to 15 km/h thanks to the 4WD Lock system, which is guaranteed by the electric motor located on the rear wheel axle: if the battery is flat, the it will still be able to continue to take advantage of the rear-wheel drive thanks to a dedicated belt that runs from the front to the rear axle, precisely to ensure four-wheel drive.

The Jeep Compass 4xe Plug-in Hybrid drives well in all contexts , even those where space is limited and a more compact car is needed: precise steering is a faithful friend in these cases, it gives a feeling of lightness and makes the car very easy to drive.

For as far as consumption is concerned, when it comes to cars with Plug-in Hybrid engines, the necessary premises must always be made: cars of this type must be recharged daily in order to fully enjoy the benefits they offer, because when you feel roving without a battery you are in fact driving an almost 2-ton SUV powered by a 1.3-liter petrol engine which is therefore a bit underpowered. By recharging at home, via a classic 220 volt socket, it will take about 5 hours to bring the battery back to 100%, while at a column it will be possible to exploit the maximum recharging power of 7.4 kW, thus taking less than 2 hours to do full, or just 1 hour if you just restore the charge level to 80%. By doing so, it will be possible to obtain average consumption of around 30 km/l, calculating the routes covered by moving entirely on battery power: to give you an idea, of the 3000 km that the car we tested has traveled in its life, slightly less more than 1000 km have been traveled in 100% electric mode – the more this figure increases, the more you will be able to enjoy the savings that the Jeep Compass 4xe is able to offer.

It's worth it ?

If you are looking for a car to use every day and, occasionally, even on dirt roads, the Jeep Compass 4xe is an excellent entry-level solution – to do better, you should aim for the Wrangler 4xe with significantly superior. In its entry-level version called 'Night Eagle', the Jeep Compass 4xe has a list price of €48,751 which makes it more expensive than other SUVs with Plug-in Hybrid engines, even if the competition cannot boast the same capabilities in off road . The convenience of buying a Jeep Compass 4xe, or in any case of a plug-in hybrid car in general, depends almost entirely on the type of use you will make of it and on the possibilities for recharging – in the absence of a garage or private space easily accessible place to recharge the car, a plug-in hybrid becomes almost counterproductive.

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