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Jeep Compass Facelift Review & First Drive

Jeep Compass Overview

New luxury entrants like Jeep are an interesting bunch and we are often left questioning what they plan to do to compete in an extraordinarily cut throat market like India. That’s not meant in a “what are they even doing?” way but more like “why have they stepped in to a market that is going to be rather difficult to crack?” Nonetheless, having launched a couple of high-end luxury SUVs namely the Grand Cherokee and the Wrangler, Jeep has completed their 4×4 armoury (for now) with the crucial missing piece, a relatively affordable soft-roader. Meet the all-new 2017 Compass – a locally assembled Jeep that’s about to hit the showrooms soon. Jeep Compass price range in India is between 15,18,357/- to 21,39,484/-, check for detail pricing of Compass in Carzprice

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Jeep Compass Design

The Jeep Compass is an all-new product with styling cues derived from the Grand Cherokee. The front fascia is a reminiscent of Grand Cherokee’s design language, which flaunts Jeep’s traditional seven-slot grille, albeit with modern updates. There are trapezodial wheel arches, which once again provides a glimpse of the rich heritage of the company products since 1940. These elements reflect the true Jeep DNA in the SUV, while several other components in form of rear fog lamps, roof rails, bi-xenon headlamps, dual-tone roof, LED tail lamps etc. give it a suave and urbane appearance. The Compass SUV is available in a total of five paint schemes: Vocal White, Hydro Blue, Minimal Grey, Exotica Red and Brilliant Black.

Jeep Compass Cabin

The Compass’ cabin sits at a convenient height but the wide sill can prove to be bothersome during ingress-egress. Once inside, the Compass cabin can appear ordinary at first – the plain dashboard is to blame – but soon enough you’ll realise this space has a premium air about it. There’s a generous use of soft-touch materials, bits like the chunky steering feel properly expensive and even the leather seats with their contrast stitching look like they’ve been carefully crafted. Fit and finish, in general, is of a high order and most of what you touch feels built-to-last. And to our ears, the ‘clack’ from the military grade door locks is a fitting follow-up to the ‘thunk’ on door shut.

Given how well finished and upmarket the front seats look, you half expect them to come with power adjust. They don’t. Still, it’s easy to find a comfy driving position, the large seats are well cushioned and supportive, and what you also get is a fairly good view of the world outside. However, the thick A-pillar can be obtrusive at crossroads. Sitting pretty in the driver’s field of vision are the Compass’ stylish hooded instruments. The data-rich multi-information display shows everything from odo, trip and fuel economy readings to oil temperature, coolant temperature and battery voltage. What is an eyesore, though, are the blanked-out buttons on the steering wheel. On export versions, the buttons operate cruise control, a feature that’s frustratingly been left out for India. Another irritant is the position of the driver’s audio controls on the back of the steering spokes. The buttons are not only hidden from view, but are also small and fiddly, and easy to press inadvertently. All other controls fall easy to hand and even the 7.0-inch touchscreen, that does look lost amidst its gloss black plastic surround, is within easy reach. What is also a nice inclusion is the electronic parking brake that is standard across the Compass range.

At the back, space is reasonable but not abundant. There’s a good deal of legroom (a Tucson is roomier still), but headroom will be an issue for anyone taller than 6 ft and the cabin isn’t the most accommodating to sit three abreast in either. Rear passengers will also have to contend with an upright backrest and a slightly short squab. The fantastic seat cushioning does help the comfort factor and there’s a rear air con vent and USB port as well.Each of the Compass’ doors houses a 0.5-litre bottle holder, there are two cupholders up front, two more built into the rear armrest and there’s also a usable bay under the front-centre armrest. A larger glovebox would have been welcome but the bigger need is for a dedicated bay for phones in the vicinity of the front USB, aux and 12V charging sockets.

Jeep Compass Performance

Driving the Compass reminds us of Fiat’s expertise in diesel engine technology. The Compass, after all, is the first vehicle in India to feature Fiat’s 2-litre Multijet ll diesel engine developing 170bhp at 3,750rpm and 350Nm between 1,750-2,500rpm. First things first, Jeep has gone to great lengths to lessen NVH levels and improve the engine refinement and it shows right from the moment you press the starter button. The Compass is impressively refined at both idle and low speeds with hardly any diesel clatter. It’s certainly more refined than VW’s 2-litre unit in the Tiguan and as silent as the Hyundai Tucson.The Compass suffers from turbo lag below 1,800rpm but once past it, it pulls rather hard all the way till 4,000rpm. Despite the strong mid-range punch, the surge of acceleration is fairly linear on boost – it accelerates fast enough to put a smile on your face without being overpowered. Likewise the 6-speed manual gearbox is a joy to use, with slick and reassuring shifts and a light clutch.

This baby Jeep has a rather sophisticated suspension setup. In fact, there’s fully independent suspension all around and what Jeep calls Frequency Sensitive Damping with variable damping rates based on road condition and driving style – basically it senses the amount of load and compression on the springs and adjusts the damping accordingly. The Compass, as it turns out, boasts an impressive blend of ride and handling, one that’s better than its arch rival – the Hyundai Tucson. Ride comfort in particular is its forte, with it being far more composed and absorbing than the fussy Tucson. The Jeep irons out small bumps and ruts remarkably well and while it isn’t as planted as the VW Tiguan at highway speeds, it’s never unsettled. We believe some of that absorbency is down to its Firestone all-weather tyres that, despite being an unknown name in India, offer good traction and compliance. While obviously it’s no high performance car, the Compass feels balanced through the corners and sits flatter than what was expected.

Being a Jeep, it only made sense for us to take the Compass through the unbeaten path to test out its off-roading capabilities. While it’s no Wrangler, the Compass is capable of dealing with steep climbs and medium-sized rocks. With four-wheel-drive lock and mud setting engaged, the little Jeep didn’t break a sweat even while going through some of the rough stuff including water wading, driving over wooden logs and encountering slushy fields.

Jeep Compass Rideing

This is the section of the Autocar road test that the Compass absolutely nails. We were blown away by the Compass’ ride quality when we drove the car for the first time around in Ranjangaon a few months ago. Recent sorties on the familiar roads of our test route in and around Mumbai have just cemented the initial impression that this is one of the best riding cars (not just SUVs) in India today. There is a hint of firmness at all times, so sharper surface irregularities like expansion joints do filter through, but the way the suspension dismisses potholes of all sizes is just incredible. The Compass remains unfazed by bumps even taken at speed, and this just takes the feeling of security to the next level. High-speed stability in general is top-notch, with controlled movements on long wave undulations.

And did we mention the Compass is somewhat of a driver’s car too? The steering, for one, is direct, well-weighted (the petrol’s is lighter but just as precise) and rich in feel. The Compass is happy to change direction and though it rolls, handling feels far from sloppy or top-heavy. The tyres will squeal in protest and the Compass will venture into understeer should you test its limits in the bends, but for a regular jaunt up to a hill station, it makes for a rewarding drive. That said, the front-wheel-drive petrol Compass is prone to torque steer under hard acceleration so you have to keep a firm hand on the wheel. In panic-braking scenarios, the Compass’ rear end tends to feel a bit light too. Sure, braking force is strong and the rear end won’t step out of line but you don’t get the same sure-footed feel as you would in a premium European SUV either. We also noted a fair bit of tyre noise on the concrete surface of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Book for Test drive Jeep Compass in Tryaldrive

Jeep Compass Safety

The Jeep Compass gets disc brakes at front as well as rear. The SUV comes with as many as 50 safety and security features in form of Four-channel Anti-lock Brakes, full-function Traction Control, Electronic Stability Control, Panic Brake Assist, Hydraulic Boost Failure Compensation, Electronic Roll Mitigation etc. Additionally, the company has incorporated 6 Airbags (side curtains for front and rear-passengers), Electronic Parking Brake (EPB) and Reverse Parking Camera to further strengthen the safety of the occupants.

Jeep Compass Price

Jeep Compass Ex-Showroom Price in India ranges from 15,18,357/- (Compass Sport 1.4 Multi AIR Petrol) to 21,39,484/- (Compass Limited 4X4 O 2.0 Diesel). Get best offers for Jeep Compass from Jeep Dealers in India

Jeep Compass Verdict

Cars like the Jeep Compass leave us wondering why we do not have soft-roaders in record numbers. Extremely comfortable, versatile and efficient with on-road dynamics similar to a hatchback or a sedan, they make all kinds of sense for a lot of buyers. Jeep has nearly nailed the brief for this segment at the very least with the Compass – not only is their new product spacious and practical, its hugely capable both on-road and off it.Jeep will launch the Compass in the next couple of months, with ex-showroom prices expected to range between Rs 20-25 lakh. At that price range, it will have the Hyundai Tucson to rival and while it’s not as refined or feature-rich as the Hyundai, the Jeep outdoes it in the ride and handling department and dare we say it, it’s better looking as well. A comparison test awaits.

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