Why I would buy it?
- Feature list
- Ride quality
- Premium appeal
Why I would avoid it?
- Interior space
- Nine-speed AT is not the most intuitive to use
- Costly top-spec trims
The Jeep Compass in its pre-facelift avatar was a competent package, mechanically offering two lovely engines, spot-on ride quality, decent handling for a vehicle of this size, as well as a very capable 4X4 system. However, its interiors and feature list had been lacking the premium appeal expected of the cars in this part of the market, something that Jeep has addressed quite well with this upgrade.
However, it is on the pricier side as compared to its rivals and that too while offering, on paper, lesser interior space than the competition. Still, it is a capable SUV and if it’s the brand name along with capability that you seek, then this upgraded Compass should definitely be on your list.
Engine and performance
There are two engines on offer for the Compass line up. The petrol range can be had with FCA’s 1.4-litre Multiair petrol engine producing 163bhp/240Nm and can be had with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DCT. The car that we are driving gets the 2.0-litre Multijet diesel producing 170bhp/350Nm and can be had with a six-speed manual or a nine-speed ATpaired with Jeep’s Active Drive 4X4 system.
This BS6 compliant mill has been carried over from the previous car and in our case has been mated to the nine-speed AT with the 4X4 system. Upon cranking, the engine settles into a gravelly rhythm with a noticeable clatter inside the cabin. On the go, it's quite audible and you do feel a certain amount of vibration on the steering and dashboard. The nine-speed gearbox while giving you an efficient driving experience is slow to respond with a noticeable lag between you stepping on the throttle and the gearbox downshifting to allow you to gain speed and perform an overtake. It's a driving experience where you need to plan your moves in advance and make progress using built up momentum.
However, once you get into the three-digit area the nine-speed box comes into its own and you can cruise on the highway without putting much strain on the engine, making it an able tourer if you need to cover long distances.
Ride and Handling
On the ride and handling front, nothing much has changed from the previous car. The Compass is underpinned by McPherson struts in front and a multi-link setup at the rear. The ride is on the firmer side but in no way makes the driving experience uncomfortable. In fact, Jeep has managed to find a good balance between ride and handling, with Compass having the ability to smoother almost anything in its path and it's only when you go over the really jagged-edged potholes and imperfections do you notice the firmness in the ride quality. Despite the high ground clearance, you still have to be wary of the low nose and air splitter element.
On the handling front, the Compass is predictable in its response. The steering feels heavy but it's a reassuring weight considering the size of this car. You get some amount of body roll through the corners considering the high centre of gravity but it's predictable. Given the slightly slow nature of the gearbox, it's better to brake early and load up the car before entering a corner. Finally, you need 2.5 turns to go from lock-to-lock making tasks like U-turns and parallel parking a breeze.
We didn't get a chance to test out the 4X4 system but since it's unchanged from the previous model and you can find links to the stories here.
Interior Space and Quality
The exterior may not have seen much of an upgrade but it’s a whole different story in the cabin. Jeep has overhauled the entire interiors taking it up a full notch in terms of luxurious feel and sophistication. The beige over black scheme has been ditched in favour of a full black setup and there’s a new dashboard, infotainment screen, instrument cluster, as well as steering.
The multi-layer dashboard gets leather inserts as well as this large chrome strip that runs from end-to-end. In fact, in a bid to raise the cabin’s appeal there are chrome inserts in the steering wheel, gear lever, around steering controls, and a large nice bezel around the infotainment screen. What’s more, there are swathes of gloss black to contrast the chrome inserts and add to the premium appeal. Of course, gloss black means, you will have to deal regularly with fingerprint impressions and visible dust particles.
The design of the steering is new as is this full digital instrument cluster which is bright, filled with cool looking modern funky graphics, and provides you with a wealth of information in a quick and easy to access manner.
However, the highlight of the front seats is of course this massive 10.1-inch floating display. It’s running on Jeep’s latest UConnect system. It’s an HD display with clear and crisp graphics. You get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 360-degree camera functionality, and even voice command for hands-free functionality.
What’s more, you get loads of connected car technology, online software updates, and even a dedicated Jeep App as has become the case with any manufacturer offering such a kind of system nowadays.
In terms of dimensions, the Compass remains unchanged so you get the same amount of space at the back as was offered with the pre-facelift model. This means the excellent legroom and wide seat base have been carried over making this quite a comfortable space. You sit a little high as compared to the front seats but it is not a bad place to be in. Features here include AC vents, USB charging socket, 1.0-litre bottle holders, and coat hooks.
The rear space is quite a value offering on most fronts except for the shoulder room. It’s good for two to travel in comfort but will be a bit of a squeeze if you want to fit in three healthy-sized adults in a comfortable manner. The boot space of 438-litre is segment standard and is capable of holding multiple bags which, of course, can be expanded courtesy the 60:40 split-folding mechanism for added practicality.
Features and Safety
Along with the vastly updated interiors, Jeep has also significantly upgraded the feature list for this facelifted Compass. Upfront, you have already seen the dual-zone climate control system, touchscreen infotainment with a 10.1-inch display, and the fully digital instrument cluster. In addition to these, Jeep has also fitted this top-spec model with a 360-degree camera with park assist, wireless charging, ventilated seats, double pane sunroof, power driver’s seat with eight-way adjustment, and memory and passenger seat with eight-way electric adjustment.
On the safety front, all versions get dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, ESC, ISOFIX child seat mounting points, and hill start assist. In this S model, you also have side airbags, side curtain airbags, tyre pressure monitoring system, and hill-hold and hill descent control for the 4X4 enabled models.
Pricing and Conclusion
As we said in the verdict, the mechanical package was sorted but the interiors and the feature list were underwhelming for a car in this segment. Jeep has addressed that with this update and it has really made a difference to the car’s appealing factors. It’s the most expensive car in the segment but also commands its place thanks to the badging and the heritage.
The Jeep Compass range starts at Rs 19.75 lakh to Rs 33.61 lakh (on-road, Delhi) for this Model S 4X4 diesel AT that we have reviewed in the story. It’s a rival for the likes of the Hyundai Tucson, Skoda Karoq, and the Volkswagen T-ROC. In terms of larger vehicles, it is also a rival for the MG Hector Plus and the Tata Safari.
Photography: Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi