The powertrain in question is the 2.0-litre Multijet II diesel engine, now BS6 compliant putting out 171bhp at 3750rpm and 350Nm accessible at 1750rpm. Mated to this engine is a ZF-derived nine-speed torque converter. Compared to Trailhawk, the carmaker claims to have reworked the turbo-diesel to be better suited for stop-and-go traffic conditions while also enhancing fuel efficiency. This engine now feels more refined than its BS4 counterpart. Besides that, the diesel engine clatter is barely audible on the inside and the silent cabin manages to keep out other road noises as well.
On the move, the power delivery is linear and gearshifts from the torque converter are smooth with head nods reduced from little to none. However, the gearbox tends to hold on to the revs (around 2000-2500rpm) before upshifting and that’s when engine gets audible inside the cabin, which isn’t a dealbreaker. So in city commutes, where you will be pottering around at slow speeds, the diesel-automatic doesn’t disappoint.
On the flip side, the acceleration is more gradual than exciting. Likewise, out on the highway, the relaxed nature of the gearbox becomes more evident. Although the linear acceleration takes you up to the three-digit speed with ease and rather quickly, it lacks that immediate response. You do get the option of taking control and shifting manually, but there are no paddle-shifters on offer which could have made it much more engaging. This manual shifting surely helps since the gearbox isn’t one of the quickest to respond at higher speeds. And in the mid-range, the accelerator tends to act like an on/off switch where even a slight progression of the right foot induces an erratic forward motion and getting off the pedal makes the engine bog down a bit.
In terms of ride and handling, the Compass diesel-automatic continues to be a well-sorted SUV. At slower city speeds, the Compass feels supple and manages to take astride worst of the road surfaces with ease. And as the speed increases, the ride remains flat and you would hear the sharp bumps but wouldn’t feel it inside the cabin. Even the steering is light and easy to use in city driving. However, it remains sensitive as the speed increases and doesn’t weigh up enough at highway speeds. What also could have been better are the brakes as their lack of initial bite doesn’t inspire confidence.
Now, the diesel-automatic only comes in a 4x4 configuration. Although we didn’t plod in for off-roading much, the Jeep’s 4x4 is a proven one. Sure it doesn’t get the hardware of the Trailhawk, but Jeep’s SelecTerrain AWD system is potent enough to make sure the Compass treads through most situations easily.