Jeep is unashamed of its internal plagiarism, describing its latest product as the "Grand" new Jeep Compass that "reflects the styling cues of the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee."

That's really not a bad thing as far as we're concerned, the previous Jeep Compass having been regarded as something of a pointless ugly duckling of the Jeep Range.

While sharing its car-based underpinnings with the Patriot, the Compass differentiated itself by being more car-like in the styling department too. Pity they chose the ugly side of that car-continuum, and while I acknowledge the subjectivity that goes with styling, I can imagine this new Compass being a whole lot better received.

The current Compass is not even offered for sale in South Africa anymore, although a Chrysler spokesperson has informed us that this new one is due in South Africa next year, likely during the second half.

Let's get another thing straight here, like most of the other products launched by Chrysler this year, the Compass is not all-new, but rather a facelift, as the side and rear styling has not changed in any significant way like the front has.

There's been a fair amount of tinkering beneath the skin, with engineers having upgraded the steering and suspension systems with the aim of improving both ride and handling characteristics.

Yet the biggest surprise is that it has become more off-road orientated - at least for owners that opt for the Freedom Drive II off-road package, which claims to make it the most capable off-roader in the compact SUV segment.

This aforementioned all-wheel drive package, which Jeep claims makes it 'Trail Rated', includes a continuously variable transaxle with low-range, 17-inch all-terrain tyres, a raised ride height and various other practical add-ons to the body.

The standard engine offered in the Compass is a 117kW/191Nm 2-litre petrol that's mated to a CVT gearbox. The bigger option is a 128kW 2.4-litre petrol with dual VVT and the option of five-speed manual or CVT transmission.

Jeep has also upgraded the cabin, with soft touch points and high quality materials, something that's become a standard line in its press releases these days. New features include the Uconnect media centre with an iPod interface and a Sirius Satellite Radio.

Jeep boasts of more than 30 safety features in the new Compass, including electronic roll mitigation, standard stability control, hill-start assist and curtain-level side airbags that cover the back seating row too.