Fiat Chrysler Automobiles after a long delay finally made their India debut back in 2016 with two exciting products which included the Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee. Both these SUV’s were sold in the Indian market via the CBU route and thus were expensive and well above the reach of many. However, that is all going to change now because Jeep has decided to launch a new SUV which is well within reach of buyers. Get deals on Compass
Jeep has unveiled the Compass SUV in India today, and the good thing is that the compact SUV is made in India product which also means that the new product will also be priced quite aggressively as well. The brands new product will be locally assembled at their Ranjangaon facility in Maharashtra from June onward. The new Jeep Compass replaces the old Compass and Patriot SUV in the International market, and apart from the Indian market, the same SUV is also produced in some other Countries as well. However, the good news is that India will be mother hub for right-hand drive Compass SUV from where it will also be exported to some other right-hand drive markets as well. For all your information the Compass SUV is offered with 17 engine options for different markets of the world.
DESIGN AND STYLE ;
In terms of design, the Jeep Compass has most of the elements one is looking for. The design has a good road presence, there is more than enough similarity to the Grand Cherokee. The Jeep Compass gets the seven slat front grille and somewhat hawk-eye line design. The higher spec model gets projector headlamps and daytime running LEDs. The bumper too is wide and its lower end is black matte to avoid any scratches on the paint if and when off roading.
The side profile does have the SUV like boxy styling, but the low stance makes it seem more like a crossover. The wheel arches are muscular and squarish. The door pillars are blacked out and there are roof rails too. The alloy wheels fill the arches well and they do not appear to be empty at any point. There are clean lines that run across the SUV. The rear styling of this new SUV also melds well with its overall design. The tail lamps are neatly integrated and they do look stylish. There is an integrated rear spoiler and reflectors in the bumper. The overall styling is just impressive and even the paint quality makes it feel premium.The Compass doesn’t seem to look very tall and its design will somewhat appear like a crossover. So, we aren’t certain on what will a buyer’s reaction to this design. The Jeep Compass India production will actually make it easier for the company to enhance their sales numbers as the pricing should be highly competitive.
CABIN AND COMFORT ;
The interiors of the Jeep Compass aren’t very swanky and lavish. The dashboard is simple yet functional having a dual tone treatment. You’ve got a chunky three-spoke steering wheel with audio controls but there are some dummy buttons for the cruise control, which is not being offered in India. The instrument cluster looks premium having a huge MID in the middle and is easy to read. There is a neatly integrated touchscreen infotainment system. The user interface looks good but the touch quality is just average. Jeep offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone connectivity. The sound quality of the audio system is rich and quite satisfying. Some of the features missing in the Compass are sunroof, electrically adjustable seats, auto headlamps, auto wipers, etc.
The ingress and egress is quite comfortable in the Jeep Compass and you don’t feel like you are sitting in a hatchback like other compact SUVs, it is relatively high and you have a commanding driving position with a good view all around. The quality, fit and finish is nice and you can hardly find any cheap quality panels inside the cabin. The seats are very comfortable and supportive, there is ample legroom and headroom at the back. Even the under-thigh support of the seats are pretty good. The boot is also well spaced out and can accommodate a lot of luggage.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;
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 of power 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.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
The steering unit on the Compass is a revelation. Though it is electrically assisted, it feels well-connected to the front wheels. While there is almost no resistance from the steering system at parking speeds, it weighs up nicely as you pick up speed.A brief drive on the beach also gave us a preview of how effective the ‘Selec Terrain’ system is. Controlled via a rotary knob on the lower centre console, it offers shift-on-the-fly traction modes – including ‘Auto’, ‘Snow’, ‘Sand’ and ‘Mud’. Though the Compass has all-weather tyres, which are generally just enough to cope with varying terrains, the AWD system made sure the Compass felt comfortable on soft sand. The system automatically sent power to the rear wheels when it detected slip and stopped it from digging in.
On a dedicated 3.5km long off-road track, the Jeep Compass felt like it was built to do such stuff. Water wading, steep inclines, slush tracks, slippery grass, wet rocky terrain and a very bumpy log path were all dispatched with minimal effort. We were tackling all these in the ‘Mud’ mode which locks the 4×4 system and disengages traction control. The short first gear compensates for the absence of a crawler gear and there is enough grunt low down the power band that you don’t need to slip the clutch to go over steep obstacles. The responsive steering wheel has to be given another mention here – it had enough feedback for me to know where my front wheels were pointing at, without tiring my arms.
BRAKING AND 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.
The Compass is a seriously impressive SUV that seems to take full advantage of Jeep’s experience with SUVs. In fact, look deep into its headlights, past that seven-slot grille, and you can see the years and years of know-how shining through. Prices for the Compass diesel start at a very competitive Rs 15.45 lakh (ex showroom Delhi), with this top-of-the-line Limited (O) 4 X 4 going for Rs 20.65 lakh. What you get for your money is real off-road ability, strong dynamics and plenty of luxury and comfort on the inside. Sure, the touchscreen isn’t really what’s expected of a car in this class and there are important bits of kit missing, like a sunroof; and those interested will have to contend with Fiat’s less-than-fantastic dealer network. Rear seat comfort could have been better for this segment, and those looking for a diesel automatic SUV will be disappointed as the Compass will get that only at a later stage. But this SUV’s fundamentals are so strong, it’s difficult not to compare it to cars from a class above, like the Volkswagen Tiguan which is a lot more expensive at where it stands today. And that’s the real kicker – the Compass may just be the value luxury SUV you have been waiting for.