Karthick Annamalai reviews the Jeep Compass for Karnataka Today’s readers.
Fiat (now FCA) has atleast twice tried to conquer the Indian market but both the times its efforts came a cropper. Now the country’s love for SUV’s due to its macho image, has pushed the Italian automaker to bring the Jeep brand to India. Here again, the Jeep brand’s first two CBU models – the grand Cherokee and the Wrangler were priced exorbitantly and failed to attract buyers. The Compass is the first vehicle to bring in the customers. The FCA has invested around Rs 1800 crores to make this one in India. Let’s see whether the Compass will live up to Fiat’s dream
No one designs better cars than the Italians do. That holds true for the Jeep Compass too. It’s jaw dropping! Isn’t it? Compass is a Neo SUV (carrying the retro SUV theme camouflaged with a modern skin). Compass gets the much needed macho looks and looks like a mini Cherokee. The front sports a Seven-Slot Grille surrounded with chrome rings that is striking and makes the Compass a vehicle you cannot pass by without a second glance. Squared-out wheel arches housing the tall profile tyres at the side and LED tail lamps at the rear accentuate the overall attractiveness quotient of the car.
The Compass measures 4395mm in length, 1818mm in width and 1640mm in height. It is smaller than the Hyundai Tucson and the VW Tiguan with which it will compete in the Indian market.
The Compass will get the 2-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine (multi-jet family engine) which pumps out 171bhp of peak power and 350 Nm of torque. It will be available with a 6-speed manual gearbox. For the petrol lovers, Jeep offers 1.4 Multi-air petrol engine that belts out 162 PS with a torque measure of 250Nm. The petrol compass gets a 7-speed Dual Dry Clutch Transmission. This lends itself to split second gear changes which ensure a smooth drive at all speeds while keeping the vehicle fuel efficient.
The diesel is a pleasure vehicle to drive and conquer. Once the initial turbo lag is over the motor turns punchy. You don’t have to downshift to overtake as the power delivery is linear and torque is available across a wide band. Cruising at 130kmph in the Compass is a breeze.
Ride and Handling
Compass gets an electric steering but that doesn’t prohibit it from delivering fun with driving dynamics. The stiff chassis and precise feedback from the steering makes the driver seat a hotly contested place among the occupants. The Compass’s Koni FSD(frequency selective damping) technology in its shock absorbers where an in-built valve filters out both high and low frequency shocks depending on the driving conditions makes travelling in the Compass a pleasure. With the Compass, you can be confident through rough terrain too. It is as capable as any other Jeep. The 4x4 wheel drive selector lets you to switch power trains at will.
Features and Safety
You will get 6 airbags, electric parking brakes, all-speed traction control system, electronic stability control, ABS with EBD, electronic roll mitigation, hill start assists and more with Compass. But for the feature loving Indian customer, the most desirable features like a sunroof, a powered driver seat, a powered tail gate, cruise control, auto headlamps, auto wipers and an auto dimming mirror are missing.
The prices have not been announced as yet. However, we expect the compass to be pitted against Tucson and Tiguan. It will undercut both the cars in pricing and is expected to be priced between Rs23 and Rs24 lakhs.
The Compass is a genuine “Make-in-India” product and has all the credentials to make the Fiat’s dream come true provided it is priced right and Fiat spruces up its dealer network and after sales support.