Jeep Compass Overview
New luxury entrants like Jeep are an interesting bunch and we are often left questioning what they plan to do to compete in an extraordinarily cut throat market like India. That’s not meant in a “what are they even doing?” way but more like “why have they stepped in to a market that is going to be rather difficult to crack?” Nonetheless, having launched a couple of high-end luxury SUVs namely the Grand Cherokee and the Wrangler, Jeep has completed their 4×4 armoury (for now) with the crucial missing piece, a relatively affordable soft-roader. Meet the all-new 2017 Compass – a locally assembled Jeep that’s about to hit the showrooms soon.
Jeep Compass Design & Style
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).
Jeep Compass Cabin & 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.
Jeep Compass Engine & Transmission
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 Compass Ride & Handling
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.
Jeep Compass Braking & safety
The standard safety features list on the Jeep Compass is a long one. Anti-lock braking system (ABS), Electronic brake distribution (EBD), Electronic stability control (ESP), Traction control, Hill start assist, Panic brake assist (PBA – if driver slams the brakes in an emergency, the system applies consistently more pressure to ensure maximum braking effect), Electronic brake prefill (if the system detects the driver lifting off suddenly from the accelerator, it engages the brakes slightly so that there isn’t a delay in braking performance), Electronic rollover mitigation (uses a combination of brakes, traction control and engine torque control to prevent the car from rolling over during extremely tight turns), and dual front airbags are offered on all variants. The 4×4 variants, like the one we are driving, gets six airbags in total.
Other safety systems like cornering fog lamps, rear view camera with display on the infotainment screen, rear parking sensors, manually-dimming IRVMs also add to the sense of safety. Jeep could have offered an auto-dimming mirror on the inside, the manually operated unit does stand out as an avoidable cost-cutting measure.
Jeep Compass Ex-Showroom Price in Chennai ranges from 15,02,017/- (Compass Sport 1.4 Multi AIR Petrol) to 21,23,364/- (Compass Limited 4X4 O 2.0 Diesel). Get best offers for Jeep Compass from Jeep Dealers in Chennai. Check for Compass price in Chennai at Carzprice
Jeep Compass Verdict
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.