A Unique First Drive Experience
For the first time ever, I had the opportunity to test out luggage during a first drive event. Now, before you jump to conclusions, let me clarify: I wasn’t overpacking for a two-night trip. The event conveniently took place just 15 minutes away from my house. How lucky is that? So, if you’re interested, I can share my thoughts on the 2023 Jeep Compass, which I had the chance to drive, or you can stick around for the exciting luggage test. Or hey, why not do both? It’s your call.
A Compact SUV… Kind Of
The Jeep Compass is often marketed and priced as a compact SUV. However, it falls far short of the size of popular models like the Honda CR-V and Kia Sportage. In fact, it’s much closer in size to the Honda HR-V, both in terms of back seat space and cargo area. I can say this with confidence because, as you can see in the background, I happened to be testing an HR-V at the same time. If anything, the Honda is slightly larger.
The Numbers Are Deceiving
According to the specifications, the Compass boasts a capacity of 27.2 cubic feet behind the back seat. Well, let’s just say that number might be a bit generous.
It’s worth noting that there was no cargo cover available for testing purposes, nor was there a designated storage spot for it inside the vehicle. This isn’t a criticism, just an observation. It’s not something you come across very often.
On the other hand, it’s disappointing to discover that the Compass doesn’t come with a spare tire, let alone a full-size one. And this is a Jeep we’re talking about…
Let’s Talk Luggage
Now, onto the main event: the luggage test. As per my usual routine, I brought along two midsize roller suitcases that you’d typically check in at the airport (26 inches long, 16 inches wide, 11 inches deep), two roll-aboard suitcases that just about fit in the overhead compartment (24L x 15W x 10D), and a smaller roll-aboard that easily fits (23L x 15W x 10D). Oh, and I mustn’t forget my wife’s fancy overnight bag, just to add a touch of elegance to the mix (21L x 12W x 12D).
If I prioritize rearward visibility, here’s what I managed to fit: the four largest bags. The HR-V, on the other hand, could accommodate all of them, except for the fancy bag, while still maintaining good rearward visibility.
Now, if I’m willing to stack the luggage almost to the roof, I can fit everything except for the fancy bag. There’s obviously some space left over for additional items. As for the HR-V, it could handle all my bags with a bit of effort.
It’s important to note that the HR-V didn’t perform particularly well in this test either. It’s in the middle of the pack at best. So, where does that leave the Compass? Well, let’s just say it’s at the bottom of the pack.
Here are some other vehicles that can handle slightly more luggage, offering better visibility and/or easier loading:
- Subaru Crosstrek
- Nissan Kicks
- Mazda CX-30 (barely)
- Chevrolet Trailblazer
And here are a few SUVs that can unequivocally accommodate more cargo than the Compass, often with a significant margin:
- Ford Bronco Sport
- VW Taos
- Kia Seltos
I haven’t had the chance to test the luggage capacity of the Renegade, but I can say with certainty that the Compass is larger than the subcompact Hyundai Kona.
A Design Quirk
To wrap things up, there’s an interesting design choice worth mentioning. The power liftgate button is located inside the cargo area instead of on the door itself, making it inconvenient to access when the vehicle is loaded. And judging by the limited space available, it’s more likely going to be loaded up compared to rival SUVs.
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