Now for this car to make a lasting impression in the market, it needed to be priced right. And this time around to keep the prices low, Jeep India decided to manufacture this at FCA manufacturing plant near Pune. And it is called the Jeep Compass.
When someone hear the word compass, they already gets a sense of adventure or thrill. That’s exactly what Jeeps are all about. The jeep compass might look compact if you look at it from side or certain angles, but let as assure you there is nothing small in this small jeep. To the front the compass have these sharp projector headlamps with integrated LED daytime running lights and between those headlamps is that signature Jeep grill with seven slats with chrome inserts. Underneath is a chunky heavy looking bumper with huge air dams and fog lamps cluster which also houses the turn indicators and have chrome bezels. At the bottom there is something that seems like a fauw skid plate but seems more of an ornament thing. The proportions are huge and this is nothing like what you will see on any other car which gives this car an unmistakable character while roaming inside the urban jungle. Sides have these massive squared out wheel arches and then there are two sharp lines that are running across the length of car. There is a chrome beading that starts from the front, runs above the door glass and then tucks underneath the rear windshield in rather smooth way. The back though looks most compact with a wraparound windshield that wraps to the sides and split clear tail lamps. There is thick black plastic cladding at lower front, around the wheel arches, sides and back too. These are make the car look a lot tougher than you might think it is.
The base sports variant gets 16 inch steel rims while the other trims get 17 inch alloy wheels in different styles.
Get inside and you will be surprised to see an unusual color scheme. The interior is done in white leather which is quite surprising and tend to get dirty very easily. But nonetheless it looks premium and soothing to eyes. The dash primarily consist of three materials. Top is covered with dard soft textured plastics and the lower part is white in color. Then there is piano black finish around the touchscreen and AC vents. There is tasteful use of chrome around the AC vents, some knobs, on the steering wheel, around gear knob and many other places. The seats are wrapped in black in white leather and are quite comfortable too. The are some nice touches like the red stitching which really looks sporty. There is a 7 inch touchscreen infotainment system and it is quite very easy to use. This system is also compatible to Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Now this cabin is quite practical also with tons of storage spaces and even the door pockets are huge enough to gulp a big 2l water bottle each.
The rear seats are quite large also and offer good support though what is to notice is that you sit a bit low here and your knees tend to go skyways. The floor board is also nearly flat and the rear AC vents don’t intrude much so three people can sit here though they might find it quite difficult to adjust over longer journeys. The rear windows also feels a bit small but that is subjective to each and everyone’s taste but overall you won’t feel cramped is this cabin, thanks to the use of white leather.
Jeep has packed compass with all the goodness like Bi-xenon headlamps with LED DRLs, LED tail lamps, keyless entry and go, 7 inch infotainment system compatible with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, power folding and adjustable door mirrors, electric parking brake, reverse parking assist with reverse camera, dual zone automatic climate control and many more.
This is a 1.5 tonne car and to power this there are to engine options. A 2.0 litre turbocharged diesel multijet mill which produces 173ps of power @ 3750 rpm and 350 Nm of peak torque @ 1750-2500 rpm. Another one is a 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol multiair motor which produces a maximum output of 163ps @ 5500 rpm and 250 nm of peak torque @ 2500-4000 rpm. Now here the 4×4 is only available with diesel and automatic transmission is only paired with petrol for now. The petrol motor though is extremely refined but it do lack excitement, partly because of its size. It doesn’t mean that the power is inadequate or something, it’s just you won’t get that sudden burst of power when you put your foot down. The gearbox though is a 7 speed automatic unit and is ultra smooth and shifts rather nicely. If you really want to explore its meat you have to push it till its 5500 rpm redline. Diesel was a better motor and feels a lot punchier and responsive than the petrol. It is paired with a 6 speed manual transmission and though it does it job fairly well but still the automatic unit was better than this one.
The suspension is quiet on the firmer side and this means the low speed comfort has taken a back seat. Go over a bad section of road and you get to tossed around a bit. Now this is a monocoque chassis car which means that you can hit corners with fair amount of confidence. Steering wheel feels chunky and provides good feedback of what is happening on the road. Though you won’t get to hear any much vibrations and the cabin is quite nicely insulated.
There is also an option for 4×4 version though we didn’t drove that car but we can say that you can do a fair bit amount of offroading with compass. With a ride height of 210mm unladen and nearly 500mm of water wading capacity, this car can handle a lot of rough stuff. There are also some off road modes like auto, snow, mud and sand which alters the steering response, accelerator pedal sensitivity and many more things. And for when things get wrong there is active traction control, upto six airbags, ABS with EBD and ESP, rollover mitigation, hill start assist and some more tech to keep you safe.
Prices for the jeep compass starts from 15.34 lacs for base petrol trim and goes upto a sliver below 22 lacs for the range topping 4×4 diesel trim. Prime competitors of Jeep Compass are the Hyundai Tucson which comes at a lot premium over the compass but is also a much more powerful and luxurious vehicle. But for the asking price, you get a tough built car with legendary offroad DNA and a name your neighbours would be jealous of. In a segment dominated by Koreans and Japanese, this American car has a character of its own and looks different on the road too.