Jeep UK's original plan to offer the new Compass SUV only with an aggressive bodykit fitted has been axed.

The U-turn is because feedback on the standard version during customer clinics was more positive than had been expected.

The Compass is on sale now with the choice of a 2.4-litre petrol engine or a VW-sourced two-litre diesel. The car is priced from GBP17,995 to GBP19,105.

A second compact SUV, the Patriot, will be launched in July. It will cost around the same, but has the more traditional 'boxy' styling associated with Jeeps.

A company spokesman said: "We know Jeep has a loyal following in the UK, and because of that history and how the Patriot looks, there's a group of people who really like it. We found that if you've had a SUV before you're more likely to pick the Patriot."

But he said the big surprise for the marketing team was how well the standard Compass rated compared to the body-kitted model, known as the Compass Ralleye.

"It did very well with certain groups, including women, but also people who haven't had an SUV before. These are the sort of drivers who are in family hatchbacks at the moment, but don't want to go all the way to having something like a Land Rover Freelander," said the spokesman.

It means the Ralleye project will be left on the back burner for the time being, perhaps even into next year. "It depends how the standard Compass does. Nothing is decided yet but it's very likely we will offer the body kit in some form. It could be as a special edition, or as a catalogue of accessories, such as side sills and a deeper front bumper, that owners could get from the dealers," he added.