Balacco, Fiat’s proving ground close to Milan in Italy, was chosen for the recent press launch of the new range of Jeep vehicles. Since June 2009 Fiat and Jeep have worked together to launch three new models. 2011 sees Jeep celebrate their 70th birthday, and from June this year the new Wrangler, Compass and Grand Cherokee will be available for Irish Motorists to purchase.
The Jeep Compass is of most relevance to the Irish market. It will be available in three versions, a 2.0l 156hp front – wheel drive petrol model, and two diesel variants, a 2.2l CRD two-wheel drive which produces 136hp and a four-wheel drive 2.2 CRD with 163hp. This new 2.2l turbo-diesel will be the top seller in Ireland, prices however are yet to be confirmed, although I would expect to see the Compass range commence in the mid twenties. The two-wheel drive will be placed in tax band D, while the 163hp four-wheel drive is in band E. Fiat is currently working on reducing these emissions figures and expect the 2.2 CRD two-wheel drive to fall into band C in time for its Irish launch.
I drove the four-wheel drive version over a mix of motorway and country lanes, its 163hp turbo-diesel engine pulls well, although it’s somewhat harsh if pushed.
The Compass benefits from a fresh exterior look, a new front end complete with a power-bulge bonnet and seven-slot grille modernises its face, whilst the interior has been treated to a makeover too, you now receive a leather multi-function steering wheel and full leather interior including heated front seats as standard. Also included as standard is climate control, a centre armrest and keyless entry.
This new, much-improved Jeep Compass, if priced correctly will be an attractive alternative to the congregate of Japanese SUV’s currently on offer.