Everywhere you go these days, all you see are SUVs – don’t you? Well, most car manufacturers would have you believe that anything with a ride height a few extra millimetres off the ground is a Sports Utility Vehicle. But that’s stretching it a bit. A true blue SUV has to be capable off-road, and thus far it was impossible to find one that was affordable, yet aspirational, comfortable, yet rugged, and well built, yet attractive. But that’s all changed with the introduction of the Jeep Compass.
After the pricing debacle of the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler models last year, the Jeep brand seemed to have lost the plot before even starting its innings in India. A lost opportunity it sure was, but Jeep had every intention of making up for it with their next offering – a locally manufactured SUV that would set the ball rolling for the manufacturer. When Jeep unveiled the Compass earlier this year for the Indian market, it definitely caught our eye. And, as you see now, the Jeep Compass has taken top honours in our ‘Best of 2017’ awards. Now, while we’ve already heaped praise on the Compass time and again, here are a few things that we believe make the Compass a winner...
First up are its aesthetics. An SUV is supposed to be desirable, and the Compass has everything going for it in this department. In profile, it looks like a mini-Grand Cherokee – which is a good thing. With its short overhangs, taut bodywork, squared off wheel arches housing 17-inch wheels, and signature seven-slot grille, the Compass looks purposeful and intimidating. Next, step into the cabin and you find it’s even more impressive on the inside. The quality of the components, the fit-and-finish and the overall design and layout of the cabin is simply class-leading. You feel like you’re sitting inside an entry-level German luxury SUV – which is high-praise, but that’s how good the interior really is. Even features-wise, the top-spec Compass comes loaded with equipment. Sure, the rear seat is a bit cramped but it’s not a deal breaker if you’re going to drive yourself.
Jeep offers the Compass with two engine options – a 2.0-litre Multijet diesel and a 1.4-litre Multiair petrol. Both come paired with a six-speed manual transmission, while the petrol can also be had with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The one we’ve tested here is the diesel version with 170bhp and 350Nm on tap.
Highlights? Well, the engine delivers oodles of torque and is super silky and refined – whereas the manual tranny is precise and smooth to use. Whether you’re trundling along in the city, or cruising at highway speeds, the Multijet unit never runs out of steam. While off-roading, the diesel engine provides plenty of grunt while the four 4WD modes get you out of far more trouble than you can imagine it could. The off-road capability of this vehicle, on stock tyres, is, frankly, remarkable!
The other aspect that really impressed us about the Compass is its ride-and-handling balance. The ride quality is impeccable, and it gobbles all the undulations in the road without breaking a sweat. On the highway, it remains rock solid at high triple digit speeds, and when you show it a corner it doesn’t wallow or get out of shape – it actually really handles well, this Jeep. Just look at the lap time – it’s only three-tenths of a second slower than the Evoque and it’s faster than the VW Tiguan.
All said and done, we truly believe that the Jeep Compass is a vehicle that’s suited to all occasions. On top of that, it’s priced really well and so offers great value. Most importantly, it’s an SUV in the true sense of the word!