Jeep Compass Overview
The Jeep Compass captured the imagination of many Indians when launched. This is an SUV which looks like it means business and comes at a relatively affordable price tag amongst the premium SUVs. Carrying a legendary brand value, the Compass has been selling well since launch. So much that FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) have been working double shifts to meet the demand and are gearing up to activate the third shift at their plant in Ranjangaon, Pune. The Jeep Compass was initially launched with a diesel engine only. Recently, the deliveries of the petrol version have commenced. We review the automatic version, which comes only with the petrol engine, unfortunately. How good is this version? Is it worth buying? Read further to know more about it.Book a test drive for Compass in Hyderabad at Tryaldrive.
Jeep Compass Exteriors
At first glance it is easy to see what inspired the designers of the Compass – its bigger brother, the Grand Cherokee; this is especially obvious when you look at it from the front. But apart from that, the Compass has its own identity.
The Jeep Compass looks tough but also premium, sophisticatedly brawny almost. At the front, the highlights include the wide swath of black that stretches from one headlight to the other – including the modern take on Jeep’s iconic 7-slat (chrome lines) grille. The headlamps have a white element in them which help them pop out – an almost animalistic ‘eyes’ look, according to Jeep’s lead designer Mark Allen. They also contain LED guide lights, these are not DRLs – the actual DRLs actually sit on the bumper, just above the fog lamps. The clamshell hood is sculpted, with a slight power bulge in the middle, but the lines on it are not harsh – Jeep wanted the Compass to look more inviting.
The Jeep logo sits on the bonnet, just above the grille. A small horizontal slat-like grille on the painted part of the bumper helps break the huge swath between the main grille and air dam, it also directs air towards the radiator. The air dam is as wide as the main grille and taller – it adds to the muscular look at the front. A chrome lip at the bottom of the air dam adds a bit of bling.The bulk of the Compass is actually hidden well thanks to the use of a thick black cladding that goes all around the car. The Jeep-signature trapezoidal wheel arches contain the 17-inch silver alloy wheels shod with Firestone 225/60 section all-weather tyres; it feels like larger wheels could have made the Compass look even better. Surface detailing like the lines over the wheel arches, the prominent line that passes through the door handles onto the taillamps etc. make the compact SUV exciting to look at. Prominent ‘Compass’ badges are placed on both the front doors.
The crowning jewel of the design here is the chrome line that separates the contrast-painted roof from the rest of the body – this line goes all the way from one outside rearview mirror (ORVM), over the windows, swoops down under the rear windshield, up over the windows on the other side to finally end at the other ORVM. The roof line seems to flow down towards the rear, while the windowline rises up, adding a kink at the very end of the windowline and the C-pillar looks like – according to Jeep – a shark fin! The roof rails and the spoiler do not stand out too much.
At the rear, the design of the Compass becomes a bit sedate. Highlights here include the wraparound rear windshield with the chrome line running across its base, a two-part taillamps which consists of a prominent LED guide-light (mimicking the units in the headlamps), a slightly recessed number plate holder and a two part bumper with integrated fog lamps. The Jeep logo sits on a carved out recess just below the windshield, a unique touch.Look all around and the Jeep Compass feels solid, the panel gaps are consistent and the paint quality is impressive. The Jeep Compass will be offered in five colour options – Exotic Red, Brilliant Black, Minimal Grey, Vocal White and Hydro Blue (the colour of the car you see in the pictures).
Jeep Compass Interiors
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.For Jeeep Compass check in ieso2013.in
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.
The 438-litre boot has a wide opening and is big enough for two large suitcases. You can free up more room by folding the 60:40 split rear-seat backrests and you also have the option to adjust the boot floor height. You also get a full-size spare tyre (albeit on a steel rim) as standard that sits under the boot floor.
Jeep Compass Engine
The Jeep Compass automatic comes with a 1.4-litre MultiAir engine that produces 162bhp of power at 5,500rpm and a torque of 250Nm at 2,500 to 4,000 rpm. This unit is the same as the one on the Abarth Punto but gets a MultiAir treatment and higher power. Now, if you think that like the diesel, this will also deliver a punchy performance when floored, then you might be dissapointed, because despite the difference of only 10bhp viz-a-viz the diesel, this engine delivers its power in a much more linear fashion.
Being a turbo petrol there is a noticeable lag initially, below 2,000rpm. Once you have crossed that, the power build-up is brisk, but does not feel as powerful as the diesel. The engine also is a bit noisy when pushed hard. But none to disturb you. In fact, the note is quite sporty.The 7-speed DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) unit is a smooth performer. The gearshifts are seamless and one can cruise easily at about 100 km/h, while the engine spins below 2,000 rpm.
There are no paddle shifters here, so in manual mode, you will have to stick to the stick!0-100km/h comes up in around 10.2 seconds. Which is not slow by any standards for this SUV. Its just that its lacks that punch and the ‘pushed back’ feel you experience in the diesel
Jeep Compass Driving
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.
Jeep Compass Safety
The standard safety features list on the Jeep Compass is a long one. Anti-lock braking system (ABS), Electronic brake distribution (EBD), Electronic stability control (ESP), Traction control, Hill start assist, Panic brake assist (PBA – if driver slams the brakes in an emergency, the system applies consistently more pressure to ensure maximum braking effect), Electronic brake prefill (if the system detects the driver lifting off suddenly from the accelerator, it engages the brakes slightly so that there isn’t a delay in braking performance), Electronic rollover mitigation (uses a combination of brakes, traction control and engine torque control to prevent the car from rolling over during extremely tight turns), and dual front airbags are offered on all variants. The 4×4 variants, like the one we are driving, gets six airbags in total.
Other safety systems like cornering fog lamps, rear view camera with display on the infotainment screen, rear parking sensors, manually-dimming IRVMs also add to the sense of safety. Jeep could have offered an auto-dimming mirror on the inside, the manually operated unit does stand out as a cost-cutting measure.
Jeep Compass On-Road Price in Chennai ranges from 18,13,629 to 25,65,097 for variants Compass Sport 1.4 Multi AIR Petrol and Compass Limited 4X4 O 2.0 Diesel respectively. Jeep Compass is available in 10 variants and 5 colours. Below are details of Jeep Compass variants price in Chennai,. Check for Compass price in Chennai at Carzprice.
Jeep Compass Final Thought
We had high expectations for the Jeep Compass and are happy to report that it delivers the goods. If the attractive design and pricing are the hooks, the Compass’ tough build, high-quality cabin and genuinely good driving experience seal the deal. Importantly, the Compass feels like a true-blue Jeep. But it is not perfect. It’s not particularly spacious for its size, the engines can get noisy and it’s missing some features as well. The last bit should be a quick fix for Jeep and we don’t see too many people unhappy to pay more money for a feature-loaded Compass.
However, as with all models from FCA, our concerns go beyond the product. Fiat doesn’t have the best reputation in sales and aftersales, and there is some rub-off on Jeep too. Jeep is expanding its sales setup in India and is also offering a 2-year/unlimited km warranty to instil confidence in buyers, and we can only hope it delivers the right experience.For the moment, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. As things stand, apart from pointing Jeep in the right direction, this is the best SUV today for the money.