The brand JEEP doesn’t require an introduction. However, for most of us Jeep is the name we associate with that sturdy and reliable work horse from Mahindra. It all started changing when the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) introduced the Grand Cherokee and Jeep Wrangler models in India.
However, the cars really didn’t take off the shelves due to the hefty price tag that came along with these SUVs. Things are going to change with the introduction of the new Jeep Compass which recently forayed into the Indian automotive scene. This is a car built in India for India by the Jeep. All and sundry are excited whether the Compass is worth its hype. Then why wait? Let’s test its mettle the IBB way.
The design philosophy adopted by Jeep is simple and straight. The Compass has a classic boxy design with a broad shoulder line with no loud (trying hard) styling elements. The car has an intimidating presence head on. The legendary seven slat grille finished in gloss-black with chrome inserts dominates the front.
The mean looking 3-D headlights have LED DRLs and projectors housed inside. The signature square wheel arches and clean lines give the sides a simple but powerful stance. However, the small tires don’t fill the wheel arches well and that is the only flaw in the entire design package. The roof is finished glossy black and has a floating feel, which looks suave. Continuous chrome strip that starts from the A-Pillar goes all around the car and finishes off at the other A-Pillar. Unlike most of the SUVs, Jeep has not gone overboard with the chrome elements. The car has a muscular hunkered down look. The rear carries over the same ‘keep it simple and straight’ philosophy. The rear lamps have LED strips.
The major highlight of the design is the similarity the Compass has with its big brother, the Grand Cherokee.
Jeep has done an impeccable job in adapting the Cherokee design into the smaller Compass. The results are here to be seen. Great job guys!
The dashboard is simple and utilitarian with high-quality materials and design elements. The interior is finished in a black and unusually bright shade of white. The car has decent space at the front as well as the rear. All seats are pretty large and have adequate support.
However, the rear seat can accommodate only two adults along with a child. Compass gets a small boot (for SUV standards) of 438 liters which can be extended up to 770 liters by folding down the rear seat. The top-end variants get a 7-inch Uconnect infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity however sans built in satnav. The lower end models get a touchscreen 5-inch display. The rear passengers get AC vents.
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Engine and Performance
The Jeep Compass is powered by a 2.0-liter Multijet II diesel engine that dispenses 171hp and 350Nm peak power and torque respectively. Yes, it is the new gen variant of the massively popular MJD engine doing duty faithfully under many cars running on Indian roads. The engine is mated to a 6-speed manual gear box. The car, unlike the old smaller 1.3 MJD, has a reasonably linear power delivery, but you feel the extra surge around 1800 rpm when the turbo starts kicking in. The MJD II is a very responsive unit. The car touches 100kmph in 11.9 seconds, which is pretty decent timing for an SUV. Also, the car doesn’t have a jerky feel at the lower rpm making it pretty easy and calm to hustle in the bumper to bumper traffic conditions. The engine calmly hums at 1800 rpm while it does 100kmph on the speedo. The Jeep also has a 1.4 Liter FIRE Multiair four cylinder petrol unit (160hp/250Nm).
Jeep Active Drive 4x4 System features a rear axle disconnect that seamlessly switches between two and four-wheel drive to help increase efficiency when 4x4 capability isn't needed. Jeep gets Selec-Terrain® dial on the 4X4 variants with four modes (Auto, Snow, Sand, and Mud) for the best four-wheel-drive performance on or off the road, in any weather.
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Ride and Handling
The Jeep Compass gets MacPherson struts at the front and Chapman struts at the rear. The dampers get Segment first technology of Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) suspension helps in a composed ride on any terrain giving a safe, secure feel to the drive. Jeep has beautifully balanced the ride and handling part of the Compass.
Though there is a fair amount of body roll on demanding tight corners, for SUV standards we can simply tell Compass is a great handler. Also, the electric steering on the Compass offers fantastic feedback and nicely weighs up as the speed builds up.
Safety and Security
Jeep has done a fantastic job in the safety and security department. The Compass is also equipped with advanced chassis controls including Four-channel Anti-lock Brakes, full-function Traction Control, Electronic Stability Control, Panic Brake Assist, Hydraulic Boost Failure Compensation and Electronic Roll Mitigation. Dual airbags are standard across the variants and the top trims get six airbags (Full-length side curtains for front and rear-passengers, seat mounted side airbags for front occupants, driver single-stage, and front passenger dual-stage air bags). Don’t search for the hand brake lever as the Jeep Compass gets Electronic Parking Brake (EPB) which can be activated with the press of a button and it automatically engages when it senses open doors and unbuckled seatbelts while the driver exits the vehicle without engaging the parking brake.