AFTER a fabulous week in the Mojave desert as a guest of Jeep a few years ago I was left in no doubt as to the off road capability of their cars.

So our latest test vehicle will, I know, cope with any terrain thrown at it but what is the 2022 Compass PHEV like to live with for a week?

Well those awfully nice people at Jeep sent me a near range-topping Trailhawk 4XE version which had a 1.3 turbo petrol engine and electric motor giving a combined 240bhp with plenty of performance (0 to 60 in 7.3 seconds) and a claimed combined mpg of over 141 miles per gallon.

The 4×4 Compass can also do around 30 miles on electric only from a full charge which is easily possible on a standard domestic socket overnight meaning most people’s commute can be Co2 free.

The plush all-new interior has lots of standard kit including adaptive cruise and sat-nav plus useful safety equipment like collision warning and avoidance systems.

And it is a nice place to be too, mind you it needs to be as this car is competing in the UK’s biggest market sector (C-segment SUVs) which accounted 22 per cent of new car sales in 2021 and is predicted to win more like 26 per cent in 2022.

The new range consists of four models. The entry-level Nighteagle and slightly plusher Limited both come with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox and are powered by a conventional 129bhp 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine. They cost £29,895 and £30,895 respectively.

The Trailhawk (£39,895) and S are four-wheel-drive PHEVs with a 178bhp version of the same engine linked with an electric motor on the rear axle to make the full 237bhp put down through a six-speed automatic gearbox. Opting for a PHEV almost doubles the power and cuts CO2 emissions by around two-thirds to just 46g/km.

Best of all, you get that 30 miles of electric-only range from the 11.4kWh battery plus a choice of driving modes: electric-only, hybrid and one that lets you to save charge for use in EV-only zones.

Evidence of that all-terrain capability comes with standard equipment like Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system and off road suspension plus skid plates on the underside to protect vulnerable areas like the front suspension, fuel tank, transfer case and transmission.

Other highlights include heated seats, digital instruments and a central 10” touchscreen plus Trailhawk badges and a bonnet decal to let everyone know just what you are driving.

A week with the Compass showed it to be a capable vehicle with plenty of room for passengers and luggage – mind you the load space is a little more restricted than the non PHEV version as the batteries have to go somewhere.

So if you want something a bit different than all those Land Rover and BMW SUVs we see on our roads then the Jeep is a real alternative which has an equally illustrious history and is rugged off road yet refined on the black stuff.

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By Motoring Editor Steve Howarth