Jeep Compass Hatchback First Drive & Transmission

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. Book a Test Drive for Compass in Hyderabad at Tryaldrive

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India also happens to be the mother plant for right-hand-drive Compasses and FCA has spent big (Rs 1,800 crore) to modernise its Ranjangaon facility to manufacture the SUV to the highest international standards. The benefit of local manufacture and component sourcing to you, the buyer, is keen pricing.

Jeep Compass Look

Buyers of premium soft-roaders do tend to care about the way their ride looks which means the Compass ought to look good. It is, in fact, instantly recognizable as a Jeep with its traditional design cues like the seven-slot grille, squared wheel arches and lots of clearance. The Compass’ mimics some of the Cherokee’s design bits like the clamshell hood with a dual break line and centre bulge besides the sleek pair of headlights.At the rear, the standout feature comes in the form of its LED taillights. Slim and rectangular in shape, the lamp design flows into the tailgate which heightens the sense of width. The other design highlight is the chrome strip that runs over the window line and flows around the car, differentiating the contrasting roof from the rest of the sheet metal.All in all, the seven-slot grille, that bulging bonnet and the high stance have some real presence, giving the Compass a charming veneer to an otherwise straightforward albeit a well-proportioned design.

Jeep Compass Comfort

The interior cabin of Jeep Compass boasts of a Ski Grey leather upholstery. It comes loaded with several exquisite features such as Leather wrapped steering wheel, Dual-zone automatic temperature control, 3.5-inch graphic information cluster, and a 7-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.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 Gearbox

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.

Jeep Compass Driving

This is the 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

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 in Hyderabad

Jeep Compass Ex-Showroom Price in Hyderabad ranges from 15,18,210/- (Compass Sport 1.4 Multi AIR Petrol) to 21,39,712/- (Compass Limited 4X4 O 2.0 Diesel). Get best offers for Jeep Compass from Jeep Dealers in Hyderabad. Check for the Compass price in Hyderabad at Carzprice

Jeep Compass Bottomline

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.

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