IF you think there's something slightly European about the recently introduced Jeep Compass, you'd be right.
Certainly the traditional seven vertical bars still adorn the nose, and it's just as capable as its Yanky forebears to romp up a mountainside, but the re-introduced Compass shares a platform with the Fiat 500X, the SUV version of the iconic baby car.
That's because Jeep is now part of the giant Fiat Chrysler Automobile group. Of course, the platform has been stretched by seven centimetres or so to enable it to fill the gap between the Renegade and the Cherokee.
Available in four wheel or two wheel drive with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, we drove the 1.4-litre petrol with 4WD and automatic transmission, known as the Multi-Air in luxury Limited trim.
It's a smart set of wheels with well balanced styling - resembling a miniature version of the Grand Cherokee. But the marketplace is a tough one for this new arrival with established competition from VW with the Tiguan, the Audi Q3, Peugeot 3008 and the best selling Nissan Qashqai.
But most of the rivals do not offer the level off-road ability that the Jeep does, and the brand name itself is sure to be big draw for outdoor types.
A 1.4-litre engine might at first sound a bit puny for a mid-sized crossover with mud-lugging tendencies, but the unit is turbocharged and knocks out a useful 168bhp, although a smaller 138bhph version is also available.
While acceleration is hardly of the neck-snapping variety, 62mph comes up in a creditable 9.5seconds and top speed is 124mph. Torque can't quite match a diesel's but for most purposes is more than adequate.
The payback, understandably, is fuel consumption. With emissions of 160g/km most owners will struggle to top 35mpg over general motoring, although I did hit the 40mpg mark on a gentle cross-country drive.
With a high stance and deep windows , visibility is good and handling is pleasantly firm causing there to be little body roll. It handles securely and predictably without being particularly sporty. I liked the nine speed auto which fitted the refined, relaxed nature of the Compass.
At low speed the ride can be a tad fidgety but as you get a move on things smooth out and generally it copes well with Britain's scarred surfaces.
The cabin is smart and contemporary in style with sturdy switchgear and well located dials and instruments. There are quite a few bottle holders, pockets and storage bins to accommodate the usual family-on-the-move trappings.
Luggage space is about average with a 438 litre boot, but that doesn't measure up to that of the 3008 or the Tiguan. Also it is quite a high platform so heavy cases could be an effort to load.
Standard kit in the Limited is impressive. Sat nav, heated seats and streering wheel, reversing camera and dual-zone climate control are all included.