Photos: Hrishi Gade
Things that come to the mind when we say Jeep, is the go-anywhere-attitude, rich military history and loads of off road madness. When Jeep ventured back into the Indian market after nearly a two decades hiatus, it came back with the superstar Wrangler and the super successful Grand Cherokee, the cost factor was not all favourable to them, thanks to the insane taxation on CBU cars and we Indians being super sensitive about pricing gave a shock to the Americans when it came down to sales figures.
However it came as a blessing in disguise for them and that’s where the Jeep Compass came into the picture. With the aim of producing more than 47,000 units every year including exports for the right hand driving markets, the Jeep Compass is the now or never model for them to survive in the competitive Indian Market. We at PitStop drove the Jeep Compass “Limited Edition” (4×4) for two days and yes it just surprised us with all its capabilities.
What we drove was the 2.0L Multijetll (Diesel) engine laced with 173 hp and good torque of 350 Nm at just 1750 rpm, and for a while let’s just keep these technical terms and numbers aside and let me tell you something, it’s one hell of an SUV – and the new 2.0L engine is as fun to drive as it’s ancestor. All the initial lag will be just a passé once the turbo kicks in at 1700 rpm and every needle on the speedo and odometer points towards north. The clutch does feel a little heavy but then it comes with a task of managing this 350 Nm of torque. Throttle response is crisp but what would have my life little easier is the gear shift; just few niggles here and there, but having said that the aluminium gear knob is quite a pleasure on the left hand.
Since the Compass inherits loads in terms of looks from its elder sibling, the Grand Cherokee, off-roading capacity is what it is always taken for granted by many of us but what surprised me is it’s on road capacity and the way it tackles urban issues like potholes and sudden braking. It just goes through every possible pothole as if nothing has happened and this definitely spoils you. It is not only comfortable, and it’s a skitter of an SUV too. The reason I am telling you this strongly because you can do those triple digits illegal numbers on tight corners too easily with only the co-passenger screaming the hell out of her throat.
Now my confusion is always is about this small notion: does a car with numerous switches and fancy looking dashboard win the case or the car with a normal dashboard but heavily practical switches and sense of usability? For an enthusiast like me, I will go with the second option, because it’s me who has to drive it daily to work. The dashboard definitely looks a generation older but it is equipped with every possible gadget you need every day including USB port at the rear, air conditioning vents.
The 5 inch info system comes with a compass and is not cluttered and it does quite well what it is supposed to do: doesn’t confuse and play good music, and thanks to the four speakers in the SUV, it doesn’t need any additional aftermarket systems. With great support at the back and under thigh for the front seats is not a place one would like to exit anywhere soon once inside the cabin. Rear passengers are treated with enough leg space and comfortable seats with temperature controller AC vents. Did I forget to mention the Compass comes with a storage space of 438L and is loaded with configuration features like a front seat that folds forward and a three-level adjustable rear cargo floor for everyday storage ideas?
The baby Cherokee comes with host of designing excellence mostly inherited from its elder sibling. The seven slot grille with chrome rings, body-colour exterior mirrors with a touch of chrome, LED tail lamps, body colour door handles and many more just to add to the elite feeling of driving a Jeep.
Priced very competitively at INR 21 lacs ex showroom Mumbai, the Jeep Compass definitely gives a run for the money to most of its competitors in terms of performance and practicality. The black and Red Compass is simply stunning to look at on the road running and gunning, and it has great road presence. Let’s play the waiting game to get a complete report on the after sales service from buyers in the long run.