Jeep Compass Facelift First Drive

Jeep Compass Overview

Jeep’s re-entry into India didn’t begin on the right foot. The launch of the iconic SUV brand was put on hold for a year by parent Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), thanks to a weakening rupee which threw Jeep’s cost structure out of the window. And when Jeep finally did decide to take the plunge, it found few takers for the fully imported Grand Cherokee and Wrangler that were simply priced out of contention. But matters are very different today. There’s a massive buzz at Jeep dealerships and it’s all thanks to the Compass. The Compass may be a small SUV in Jeep’s line-up but it’s a model with big sales potential. In fact, bookings crossed the 12,000 mark in four months since its launch, making it the most successful model from FCA in India in years. Jeep Compass price starts from 15,02,017/. Check for price details of Compass in CarzPrice.

Jeep Compass Design

The Compass will be the most affordable Jeep in our country and is positioned as a premium compact SUV. With a design similar to the far more expensive Grand Cherokee’s, the Compass looks striking. The trademark seven-slat grille and rectangular headlamps make for a stunning face, and it looks properly upmarket and modern.

The Compass is easily the best looking SUV in its segment, and the scores of people checking it out on the road only confirmed that. The squared wheel arches are a nod to the typical Jeep design, and while the tail lights do remind of the Grand Cherokee’s, Jeep tells us their design is inspired by the Ironman. The Jeep name sitting on the hood and ‘Compass’ on the lower half of the front door instead of the rear of the SUV are small but unique touches, as is chrome lining across all window sills. The Compass isn’t too tall at 1640mm, and that makes for a hunkered down stance with the flared wheel arches and muscular lines.

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.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 Performance

The diesel version we drove comes powered with Fiat’s new generation 2.0-litre Multijet II engine that debuts in India on the Compass. It makes 173PS ofpower at 3750rpm and 350Nm of torque between 1750rpm and 2500rpm. The torque is available from 1800rpm onwards below which there is noticeable turbo lag. The narrow, winding roads of Goa didn’t quite allow us to accelerate hard but the motor did feel like the power delivery could have been punchier. The engine is smooth but sounds clattery at idle and is a tad noisy even on the go, especially after 3500rpm.

Interestingly, the diesel version of the Compass will not be offered with an automatic transmission and will only come with a six-speed manual transmission. There will be a 7-speed automatic on offer as well, but only with the petrol version powered by the 1.4-litre Multiair engine. That said, a new 9-speed automatic is expected to be offered in the diesel by the end of the calendar year. The manual gearbox feels slick to use though, and gear changes have a precise feel which makes shifting up or down a delight when driving enthusiastically.

Jeep Compass Ride & Handling

The Jeep Compass’s suspension set up manages to bring a bit of comfort, ruggedness and impressive handling. It gets a MacPherson strut set-up at the front and an independent Chapman strut set-up at the back with Koni’s frequency sensitive dampers. This system works like adjustable dampers without all the expensive and complicated electrical systems. It uses hydraulic valves to control how much damping happens, depending on the frequency of suspension movement – high frequency (when you drive over bad roads) will reduce damping for better ride quality, while low frequency (when on smooth roads) will increase damping for better stability and handling.

Jeep Compass Safety Features

The Compass is available in three trims and, for its part, Jeep has equipped the SUV with a fair bit of safety kit as standard. All Compasses come with electronic stability control, electronic rollover mitigation, hill start assist, dual airbags and Isofix child-seat mounts on the rear seats. Unfortunately, there’s no hill descent control and only top-spec 4×4 versions get side and curtain airbags.

As for creature comforts, the top-spec Limited trim gets most of what you’d like, just not all of it. The Compass Limited comes with leather seats, keyless go, dual-zone climate control, a rear air con vent, rear parking camera and a touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Further, an Options Pack on the Compass Limited adds bi-xenon headlights and the black roof as on the model pictured here. Still, the Compass misses out on cruise control, a sunroof, auto-dimming mirror, auto headlights and rain-sensing wipers. Given that all of these features (as well as a larger 8.4-inch touchscreen system) are already onboard export-spec models made in India, it’s no biggie for Jeep to incorporate them on the India car. Perhaps Jeep is leaving the door open for the introduction of a new range-topping Compass variant in the future.

Jeep Compass Price

Jeep Compass Ex-Showroom Price in India ranges from 15,02,017/- (Compass Sport 1.4 Multi AIR Petrol) to 21,23,364/- (Compass Limited 4X4 O 2.0 Diesel). Get best offers for Jeep Compass from Jeep Dealers in India

Jeep Compass Conclussion

Come to think of it, the dynamic abilities of the Compass are what make it shine as an SUV. Be it on road or off it, the Compass gave us little to complain about with its handling. Sure, the diesel engine is a bit noisy but that’s something that hardly comes in the way of an engaging drive thanks to the well set-up suspension and responsive steering. Boot space could have been slightly better, but most buyers wouldn’t mind trading that for the excellent legroom for second-row occupants. The feature list, at least on the Limited version we drove, is up to the mark as well, which adds to the SUV’s appeal.

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