Living with a Jeep Compass 4×4, review

New Delhi: With so many other luxury SUVs being launched, the question is should you consider the Jeep Compass now? The Compass is a familiar name that has been around for a while, but the update, coming in 2021, took it further towards a more premium SUV – a rather well-timed move with plenty of new products coming later. But to see if the Jeep Compass should still be on your list of premium SUVs to buy, we lived with the fully loaded diesel automatic 4×4 model for a considerable amount of time during our New Year break.

New Year’s break means time off, but the last two weeks of the year have actually been a lot of work for me in fixing up my room, which involved several trips to get furniture and other new stuff. That’s where the Jeep Compass came in India. The biggest plus point of the Jeep Compass, I feel, is the fact that it’s not huge.

In fact, it’s more of a large compact SUV rather than a full-size SUV which meant I could take it through narrow roads and heavy traffic areas. I think a lot of the big SUVs are only suited for more open roads but with the Compass I took it everywhere. It also helps the fact that I rather enjoyed driving the Compass more and didn’t feel like taking a small car which is due to its stiff suspension along with how the SUV feels to drive.

There is a major highlight of the Compass and that is with its ride quality that helps it go over potholes, speed breakers with ease and in the city, its suspension plus the compact size is what makes it stand out. The steering is also not too heavy and not too light but still has a proper SUV feel. You also sit high and thus have a commanding view of the road.

The Compass I drove was a diesel and the one to go for, a 2.0l 170hp/350Nm unit with a 9-speed automatic. Paddle shifters are not present but I certainly haven’t missed them around town with a decent, if somewhat uncomplicated, response from the gearbox. In the city there was a small amount of lag but the overall power delivery was smooth. You get to hear the diesel as it has that typical diesel sound filtering in. But apart from that, the Compass diesel gave me 10-11kmpl in the city, which was pretty decent considering the stop-and-go traffic I mostly used the car in.

The days of using the Compass in the city also highlighted the premium sound system and the rather nice interior. The car I had was the top model ‘S’ which costs Rs 30 lakh and yes, the cabin feels so when it comes to being premium. The all-new interior is much better than the previous one and is one of the best cabins with its multi-layer dashboard, soft materials, leather inserts and chrome etc.

Even the doors feel heavy and closed with the reassuring thud of a more expensive SUV. Another change is the equipment list and I found particular use for the fantastic 360-degree camera and dual power seats with even ventilation. There are of course other features such as connected car technology, a panoramic sunroof, a digital instrument cluster and much more. You can’t ask for more. But you think the compass needs more space. While I praised the Compass for its compact size, the rear seats are a bit small and lack the roominess of a similarly priced SUV—that said, it’s comfortable enough for four passengers in total.

With the new year celebrated, I took the Compass on a drive in the open on the first day of the year, which showed why having a 4×4 is important in many places. The off-road capability of the Compass is what gives it an edge along with its different settings to adapt to conditions such as snow/mud/sand. This allows the Compass to go places other premium SUVs wouldn’t normally go without 4×4. Although this model is not the more off-road focused Trailhawk, the Compass will still impress you with its off-road capability and again its compact size comes in handy here too.

In many ways, that sums up why you should still consider one as the Compass with 4×4 offers off-road capability, a premium SUV experience and toughness in one package. Of course, it may seem expensive at Rs 30 lakh, but it does little more than other luxury SUVs.

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