The pricing policy is simple to understand: you pay an extra £10,000 to get four-wheel drive, an automatic transmission and a PHEV set-up that practically doubles the power and cuts the official CO2 emissions by around two-thirds (from 152-159g/km to 44-47g/km).
Best of all, you get around 30 miles of electric-only range from an 11.4kWh battery, plus a helpful choice of driving modes: electric-only, set-and-forget hybrid and one that enables you to keep some charge for later use in EV-only zones.
The new Compass is a pleasant and capable car, although in some areas it lacks the polish of its competitors. The powertrain feels strong (it’ll hit 62mph in 7.5sec), but there are minor hesitations in the power delivery and the gearchanges that mean it isn’t as seamless to drive as the others. The engine can be a little slow to respond and sounds disappointingly puny when working hard, too.
The handling is easy and capable, with steering that’s relatively high-geared around the straight-ahead making the car easy to manoeuvre. It’s nicely weighted and accurate, too. There’s a bias towards understeer in tight corners, but the ride is comfortable and well damped.
On test, the Compass gave a very decent account of itself on a medium-difficult off-road course, showing that it had the right traction and body clearances for the job.