The iconic American brand Jeep which is known for its SUV heritage didn't really have a dream debut in the Indian market as the unpredictable exchange rate for the rupee forced the automajor Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to delay the brand's introduction into the Indian market by over a year.
This hasn't stopped the consumers from flocking into the showrooms to check out the latest offering from the brands stable the Jeep Compass.
2017 Jeep Compass Exterior
Take a look at the Compass and you will instantly recognise it as a Jeep. The iconic design language of the brand makes the Compass stand out from amongst the crowd. The seven-slotted grille finished in piano black and accented with chrome surrounds is attention-grabbing, along with the flared wheel arches and a squared off bumper complete the dominating look.
Move over to the side of the vehicle you will notice the subtle yet muscular character line running across which also neatly integrates the door handles. To add to the rugged look the Compass features black body cladding from the front of the SUV towards the rear. The thick D-pillar along with the sloping roofline accentuate the sporty look of the Compass.
Towards the rear of the SUV, you shall notice a chrome surrounding that originates from the front that wraps around the rear windscreen which looks well crafted. The Jeep logo also gets a prominent look housed between the sharp looking rear lamps. The Compass comes shod with 17-inch alloys on the Limited variant and the Limited Plus variant gets smart looking 18-inch alloy wheels.
Keeping with the SUV tradition of being built to last, the Compass feels rugged with consistent panel gaps and a sturdy build-quality, with 70 per cent of the unibody structure of the SUV being hot-stamped steel. It's worth to mention that the Europian version of the Compass gets a 5-star Euro NCAP rating. However, it does not apply to the Indian spec model. The 4x4 Compass features Jeeps Active Drive all-wheel-drive system that works hand in hand along with the Selec-Terrain Traction Management system. The Selec-Terrain Traction Management system gets four modes that are optimised for various terrains – Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud.
2017 Jeep Compass Interior
Get inside the Jeep Compass and there is a premium air about it. The cabin feels upmarket given the materials used is soft to touch along with attention to detail bits like the contrast stitching on the leather seats and a chunky easy top grab steering wheel feels premium. There's also a pleasure to be derived from the (thud) when you close the door which gives a glimpse of how well built the Compass is.
The seats are large and cushioning is ample and can support people of different frame sizes well. The instruments get a hooded look and feature a 3.5-inch multi-information display which reads out everything from fuel economy reading, coolant temperature, oil temperature, battery voltage along with the trip meter and the odometer. The Compass features an 8.4-inch touchscreen audio system with Uconnect along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An electronic parking brake is standard across the range.
Moving over to the rear, the seating space is reasonable but not abundant. Legroom is decent, however, headroom will be a constraint for anyone who is 6 ft tall. The cabin width isn’t the most accommodating to seat three passengers for longer journeys. The seat cushioning at the rear enhances the comfort level, however, rear passengers will also have to deal with an upright backrest along with a short seat base. The rear also enhanced by a USB port and aircon vent.
There is a decent amount of storage space in the Compass with a usable space under the front armrests. Each of the door housings get a half litre bottle holder along with twin cupholders in the front and two more in the rear armrest. However, a glaring omission is that there is no space to house your phone near the front USB, AUX and 12V charging points.
The Compass features a 438-litre boot, the storage space can be enhanced by using the 60:40 split rear seat backrests. The opening to the boot is wide and in the standard configuration, you can swallow up 2 big suitcases with ease. There is also an option to adjust the floor height of the boot. You also get a full-size spare tyre (albeit on a steel rim) as standard that sits under the boot floor.
The Compass comes with the over 50 safety features including
Cornering Fog Lamps
Electronic Parking Brake
Electronic Stability Control
Reverse Parking Camera
Four-channel Anti-lock Brakes
Full-function Traction Control
Panic Brake Assist
Hydraulic Boost Failure Compensation
Electronic Roll Mitigation
Jeep Compass Performance
The Compass is offered with two engine options, and both engines are sourced from Fiat, 1.4-litre MultiAir turbo petrol and the 2.0-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel.
The 1.4-litre MultiAir Petrol engine develops 163PS @ 6600 rpm and 260Nm @2600-4000 rpm. What is unique to this engine is its hydraulically actuated variable valve timing for the intake valves. Jeep claims that the engine gets enhanced power along with improved efficiency. The petrol engine is mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. The petrol lakh low-end performance, but once the turbo gets spooling there is ample amount of surge forward,
However, the bulk of the consumers of the Compass will be looking at the 2.0-litre Multijet Diesel for its lower fuel cost. This engine develops 173PS @ 3760 rpm and 360Nm @1760-2600 rpm.and comes mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. There is ample power in the city to amble along with traffic if you keep the engine spinning at 1800 rpm or above. Out on the highway also the engine has enough power left in reserve for those speedy overtakes.
The gearbox is slick to operate and the throws are precise, however, the clutch can get bothersome in the city’s chock ‘o’ block traffic conditions. One thing to be noted about the Multijet engine is that it is not the most refined of the lot and also is gruff sounding when revved hard. But the ample amount of torque produced by the engine makes this SUV suited to munch miles on the highway.
Jeep Compass Ride and Handling
When it comes to Ride and Handling the Jeep Compass scores top marks with it not displaying the traits of traditional SUV’s. The Compass suspension setup impresses as it disposes of bumps and craters with equal aplomb. There is a hint of firmness to the ride, but nothing which is unsettling or not comfortable. High-speed stability is also impressive with the SUV feeling sure-footed, push it into a corner and of course, there is body roll but it doesn't display top heavy characteristics of traditional SUV’s.
Take it off the beaten path and still the Compass will impress you with the amount of off-roading it is capable of, sure it is no match with its elder sibling the Wrangler but the Jeep DNA is surely evident in the way it performs off-road.
Jeep Compass Verdict
With the entry of the Jeep Compass into the Indian market, the iconic American brand has become more accessible than ever. With the Compass, the consumer gets the heritage associated with the Jeep brand along with the tough build quality, premium interiors and rewarding driving experience. However, Jeep’s small dealer network and after-sales service remain to be a point of concern.