The Jeep Compass has been in news since the automaker announced its plans of introducing a vehicle built in India for specifically the Indian buyers. Well, now after a wait for over a couple of years, it is finally here. And, we are immensely delighted that FCA India – the parent company – gave it a go ahead and launched it in the Indian market. The Compass is built at the Ranjangaon production facility with around 65 percent local content. The company has presented it in three trims – Sport, Longitude and Limited – with a total of 10 variants, out which 7 are in diesel fuel trim whereas 3 are in petrol guise. The SUV’s exterior styling is based on the elder sibling, the Grand Cherokee, with several sporty elements.The interior cabin is quite innovative with a plethora of comfort features and storage spaces. Jeep has paid utmost importance to the safety of occupants as it has incorporated as many as a dozen contemporary features. The SUV would also feature a 4X4 drive system, while also getting an automatic transmission.
EXTERIOR AND LOOK
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 is 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).
INTERIOR AND COMFORT
The Jeep’s cabin is a pleasant surprise. Yes, the design of the dash is quite boring and there are a few not-so-nice bits of hard and shiny plastic – the piano black surrounds around the vents being a prime example – and the touchscreen is small and a bit fiddly to use. Also, it’s quite a step up into the cabin, and the sill is wide, and that could be an issue for short or elderly folk. Otherwise, everything on the inside is executed to such a high level that there’s a genuine honest-to-god luxury car vibe here.
The soft-feel textures, supple leather, superbly finished bits of chrome and a build that’s genuinely tank-like, all leave a lasting impression. Jeep has been bold and has specified this top-of-the-line Limited 4×4 variant with premium Alpine leather interior. The soft and supple seats are finished in ‘snow white’ which won’t be easy to keep clean, but they feel so luxurious. And that’s not it: there’s the leather-wrapped steering wheel that gives the cabin a lift, the padded door pads are superbly crafted, the metal-tipped gear knob that gets cooled by the air-con vents is an absolute delight to hold, and the graphics on the screen inside the instrument panel are clear and easy to read. However, the dummy switches on the right of the steering wheel are all too conspicuous and a glaring reminder of missing features.
There is a bit of reflection from the dials, and storage space on the centre console is limited, but otherwise, the cabin is thoroughly practical as well. Space on the inside is huge, with plenty of leg- and shoulder-room, and the front seats are extremely comfortable. The bench at the rear has been changed for India. There is now a lot more thigh support due to the longer squab, the seat height is just right, and the backrest is a tad vertical, which, unlike the Tucson’s, doesn’t recline. In fact, rear seat comfort is where the Tucson is clearly better than the Compass and its limited width makes it only suitable for two adults.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX
A 2.0-litre multijet engine will be powering the Jeep Compass India . This will be offered with a six-speed manual . This engine will churn about 170bhp of power and 358Nm of maximum torque. The Jeep Compass India will be coming with AWD versions. This engine is likely to be shared with Tata Motors, upcoming new Harrier platform SUVs. Both the companies have a JV in Ranjangaon. The company’s plant is undergoing expansion at the moment. The diesel engine will be shared with the Tata Q501. This is also likely to be made in the same Ranjangaon plant. An automatic will be offered on the Compass diesel, but that shall be some time in 2018.
Jeep Compass – Gear KnobThe petrol engine will be the 1.4-litre, which will come in MultiAir avatar. This will churn about 160bhp of power and 250Nm of peak torque. This will get a six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic (dual-clutch) transmission. Both these engines will be manufactured in India as well. This is the same engine that is offered on the Abarth family but it has seen a jump in its power and even torque. This will improve its performance and even the six-speed/seven-speed transmission will improve its bandwidth.Whats more, both the companies are looking at exporting their cars from India. Jeep has just announced that there will be two gearboxes, manual and automatic (dual-clutch), we reckon the diesel should get the automatic if not the petrol. The 2017 Jeep Compass even gets Select Terrain Management System, which helps to enhance the driving experience, especially when driving on different terrain conditions. This is useful when driving off the road, on slush or sand or snowy conditions.
The new Jeep Compass will return about 13km/l in the city for the diesel and close to 17km/l on the highway. The petrol will have a mileage of 9km/l for the manual and automatic in city and close to 13km/l on the highway for both. There shall not be a major difference in the mileage for both the transmissions on petrol. Now going by the ARAI figures, the 2.0-litre 4×2 will return about 17.1km/l and 4×4 has 16.3km/l. No numbers have been released for the petrol engine.
Jeep has impressed us in this department by offering Frequency Selective Damping suspension. The Compass is dynamically rich both on and off-road, having such equipment such as Dynamic Steering Torque (DST), Selec-Terrain and Jeep Active Drive. The ride is fantastic that filters out the bumps and potholes very well. The suspension is well damped and it’s only on huge craters that you feel the thuds filtering inside the cabin. There is some amount of body roll when you push around the bends but the steering feel and feedback is quite impressive for an SUV of this size. The Compass handles corners cleanly maintaining its line very well, thanks to the grippy all weather tyres and the AWD system.
The AWD system comes with four modes Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud. The power is front wheel biased and when it feels the need, the rear wheels come to action. We had an off-road session with the Compass in Goa in slippery and muddy conditions including water fording and a couple of steep inclines and declines. The baby Jeep proved to be quite capable in the rough terrain and it can handle some serious off-roading. The ground clearance is good but still, the front lip panel manages to touch the ground. The brakes are quite effective and offer strong stopping power.
SAFETY FEATURES ;
Ofcourse the Jeep SUV is a global SUV, and the auto manufacturer will maintain Global safety standards when it comes to the safety of the occupants inside. The Jeep Compass will be equipped with airbags for both the front and rear passengers, while some other safety features like ABS, ESP and hill start assist will also be offered as standard.
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. Its pricing then is key to the success of the Compass in our country, which is a highly price sensitive market, and we expect Jeep to price it in the 18-24 lakh rupee price bracket. The Compass is certainly a bread and butter model for the Jeep brand in India, and if priced well at the time of its launch this August, will certainly help Jeep rake in volumes and even achieve the cult status it enjoys the world over as an SUV maker.Check the price for Jeep Compasso on carzprize.com