Upgraded from decade-old Fiat Punto to Jeep Compass: Ownership Review

I had considered many cars, of which there were a couple of serious challengers and 2 canceled pre-bookings – Mahindra XUV300 2019 and Volkswagen Taigun 2021.

BHPian crazy driver recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

At the time of publication of this report, our compass has covered ~ 1 month and 4000 km. The first impressions below will be updated and relevant links will be included in the glossary during different stages of the ownership experience.

What we like

  • Worth the asking price. Feels built according to international standards, uncompromising for India!
  • Strong suite of safety features: Six airbags, disc brakes on all wheels, TCS, ESC, ABS with EBD, RBS, Rollover Mitigation, HSA, Dynamic Steering Torque, etc.
  • 2.0L Multijet II engine provides 170 hp and 350 Nm in combination with a good 6-speed manual transmission. Provides fast performance and easy driveability
  • Diesel FE!
  • Timeless (subjective!) Exterior design and proportions – now even better with the facelift
  • The interior! Lovely leather white and brown interiors provide a nice contrast to the dark blue exterior shade
  • Spacious, airy and practical cottage for four
  • Thick sheet metal, tough construction and high seats give that “tank-like” feeling
  • Color quality deserves a special mention! The blue hue and finish do not look out of place on a Beemer. Excellent color choices otherwise too!
  • Independent suspension set-up with Koni FSD provides mature ride quality and rock-solid stability on motorways
  • Nicely set EPS is simple at parking speeds and communicative on the highways
  • Excellent mile muncher. Can make day-long car trips with ease
  • Features – Panoramic sunroof with double windows, 8-way electrically powered driver’s seat with memory function, 10.1-inch touch screen with wireless Android Auto & Apple CarPlay, Dual zone climate control with rear a / c valves, connecting suite with functions, electric tailgate, Car headlights and IRVM windshield wipers, LED headlights with DRL, LED fog lights, 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, electronic parking brake, reversing camera, sun protection glass, TPMS, keyless entry, etc.
  • Excellent reseller experience

What we do not mind, but may be missing for you

  • Compact size (compared to XUV7OO / Harrier / Safari) – Compass was actually in the higher part of our budget and (parking) size limits
  • The same comment applies to the seating comfort for the 5th passenger, or a missing third row of seats
  • Some missing features like wireless charging, fully digital instrument cluster, etc (available on Model S) – do not miss them in person
  • Difficult to maintain white interiors. In fact, I prefer it and think that the cabin looks very exclusive in comparison with the all-black, top model S
  • The Connectivity Suite is not as comprehensive as in Hyundai-Kia cars. Again, nothing I care about, personally. The same applies to ADAS
  • Famous Devil – The Service Network. After living with a Punto for 10 years / 2.06 L km without problems, I hope the experience remains the same.

What we do not like

  • The Indian version has not been crash-rated. Hopefully no shocking revelations await!
  • A Jeep without 4 * 4! Diesel AWD AT was ~ 5L way more expensive and far beyond my budget
  • The excellent overall build quality has a couple of weak links. There are occasional squeaks or rattles in the cabin
  • Some of the modern “assist” functions are intrusive and annoying – Autostart stop, HSA and the mandatory speed reminders!
  • Cruise control (only available on AT variants!) Will be missing
  • 18-inch wheels provide stiff ride quality at lower speeds. Feels like a sorted vehicle with a step frame inside the city
  • Dummy buttons galore – even on the key! Ridiculous IMHO, given the asking price
  • Missing features such as 360 camera, ventilated seats, electric passenger seats, etc., are only available on the Model-S and Trailhawk variants. Front parking sensors are also missing!
  • Nice, but still technically mediocre, unmarked sound system with 6 speakers.
  • High GC and wide doorsteps make it difficult for parents (who, however, mainly use our Hyundai Xcent). The low hanging aero lip jeopardizes the high GC!

Index

The story of Punto

As some of you know, the compass replaces my FIAT Punto which was sold in March, after being part of the family for 10 years & 2.06L km. Full ownership report here.

To sum up – a beautiful machine that taught me about mechanical skills, driving / handling / steering ability, build quality and even reliability! The service support, even if it was the weakest link, was never a problem either – even though I had traveled ~ 400 km for service from time to time. Just a day of inconvenience for 364 days of fun!

Where it felt extremely outdated at the end of these 10 years was when it came to the interior and features.

Why FCA again? Why Jeep Compass?

“When in doubt, let yourself be fooled. There’s a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.” – Cynthia Heimel

Contrary to many people’s expectations – it was not a natural transition from Punto to the compass. Agree, I have always wanted one – but then budget restrictions always kept it on the wish list. In the meantime – I had considered a whole range of products that could replace Punto.

In recent years, we have been thinking about:

  • Mahindra Thar
  • Mahindra XUV 3OO
  • Mahindra XUV 5OO / 7O
  • TATA Nexon
  • TATA Harrier Dark Edition
  • Kia Seltos D AT
  • Skoda Kushaq
  • Skoda Slavia
  • 5th generation Honda City Petrol
  • Volkswagen Taigun

Of which there were a couple of serious challengers, and two canceled pre-bookings – Mahindra XUV 3OO 2019 and Volkswagen Taigun 2021.

XUV 3OO (canceled) pre-booking – February 2019

Reason for pre-booking:

Saw XUV 3OO at Phoenix Market City Mall in Bangalore yesterday and checked it out. Will let the pictures speak – (the engine is the elusive 1.2 turbo petrol).

However, the day ended with a big twist – an uninterested better half was converted by the product, in a way that only Compass has done before – and it ended with us pre-booking the W8 (O) variant. 7 airbags, ESP, steering positions, 300Nm of torque, good build quality, sunroof, cruise control – all in a small footprint of a sub-4m product, everything sounds very interesting – but I still have a big lump in my throat when it even comes to think about being separated from Punto.

Will make a final decision after the price has been announced and after test runs.

Reason for cancellation:

The product is excellent in the space under 4 m, and IMHO – If I have to choose a product under 4 m right now, I will still continue with XUV 3OO. It is fun to drive, functionally charged, safety-charged, premium, spacious and what not – maybe everything but practical and now VFM. Ecosport is almost there too, but it’s so old – it does not bother me anymore.

That said – I’m not strictly limited to sub-4m, nor am I in desperate need of a new vehicle, so I decided to listen to my gut feeling and just wait a year. BS6 should be sorted until then, a buffet with new products will be out there (Kia SP, New Creta, New Ecosport, new XUV 5OO, Hyundai Carlino, MG Hector etc, basically what it feels like it can keep me excited and happy for the next 10 years, maybe even new Thar if they manage to carve some rough edges to have it as a single car in the family) and I could enjoy the loan-free period another year while I save up for a down payment on something nicer .

Mahindra would probably have succeeded in the deal if the price was perfect – but for now I have to wish them better luck next time and move on.

Troll credit: KarthikK

Taigun (canceled) pre-booking – August 2021

The original reason for pre-booking:

I will vote for Taigun because of the interior as well. Kushaq feels a bit sad and gloomy IMHO – the gray with black is the reason. You really do not feel like sitting in a 20L car. Skoda should have chosen all black, or black with beige.

The Taigun has the same gray parts, but the lighter painted shades and seats lift it a bit. The difference may not be drastic, but enough to not be a deal-breaker anymore.

In fact, I may have put my money where my mouth is.

PS: Do not be surprised by the Kushaq pictures on a Taigun post. I attended Taigun Media Drive and canceled before the official launch, so all my personal parking requirements were tested with Kushaq instead!

Reason for cancellation:

Skoda Kushaq breakdowns and worries about a freshly baked VAG product! There are at least half a dozen Kushaq owners who have reported crashes (see Kushaq’s review thread or visit Skoda Kushaq’s club page on FB), EPC warnings and power outages within just 2,000km of delivery. Preparing for the gearbox to break down a few times in 10 years is one thing, expecting niggles on a brand new car is another – but going in with a mindset and expecting the new vehicle to break down within the first one the month is something else.

Guess that’s the most basic expectation when someone buys a new car? To run without being stranded on the road. There was already a big leap of faith with friends and family who advised against the gearbox! Zac says that this is normal, they are working to get the cars back on the road and the number of accidents is less than expected for a new launch. Strangely enough – this despite high prices and fewer features in the name of superior Euro quality! And VW does not have a Zac Hollis for owners to reach out to.

Is this the end of Taigun for me? Do not know. But not sure about taking the first batch either! Will in any case bring his wife to see the car when it arrives at the showrooms and if it does not make her fall head over heels (and I with the price) – will re-evaluate the purchase for Jan-Feb. Hope VW learns from Skoda before then – maybe they have already learned and correct it before launch. Not sure if I want to find out the hard way! Thankfully, not in a hurry because the WFH situation is ongoing.

PS: Compass facelift can also have some good offers at the turn of the year.

Good. With such high volumes – they will not miss one!

With another half a dozen cars (the Kushaq thread has details) that reported crashes over the weekend – some for the second time even, I went ahead and released the cancellation email today.

No need to wait for the launch, as I am now 100% sure that I will not spend my hard earned money on this car for at least another six months – no matter how good (or bad) they price it.

Anyway, everything is good that ends well!

Continue reading CrazY Driver’s ownership experience for BHPian comments, insights, and more information.

Leave a Comment