Jeep Compass Facelift First Look Review

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Jeep Compass Overview

This is the Jeep Compass Trailhawk, the more capable off-road spec version, that is. It comes with a BS-VI compliant diesel motor, an automatic transmission, mechanical and cosmetic upgrades, and then some more. But, do these changes make it a potent off-roader in the premium mid-size SUV segment? We find out.

Firstly, let me give you a brief overview of the SUV that has turned the fortunes of Jeep in India. With over 36,000 units sold since its launch in India, the Compass is to Jeep, what water is to a fish. The SUV created a frenzy when its prices were announced back in 2017, and over the span of time, the Compass has established itself as a premium offering in its segment.

Jeep Compass Exteriors

At first glance it is easy to see what inspired the designers of the Compass – its bigger brother, the Grand Cherokee; this is especially obvious when you look at it from the front. But apart from that, the Compass has its own identity.The Jeep Compass looks tough but also premium. It looks modern, no doubt, but the squared off edges give it some old-school charm, ensuring a look that says SUV, not crossover. At the front, the highlights include the wide swath of black that stretches from one headlight to the other – including the modern take on Jeep’s iconic 7-slat (chrome lines) grille. The headlamps have a white element in them which help them pop out – an almost animalistic ‘eyes’ look, according to Jeep’s lead designer Mark Allen. They also contain LED guide lights, these are not DRLs – the actual DRLs actually sit on the bumper, just above the fog lamps. The clamshell hood is sculpted, with a slight power bulge in the middle, but the lines on it don’t scream aggression – Jeep wanted the Compass to look more inviting.

The Jeep logo sits on the bonnet, just above the grille. A small horizontal slat-like grille on the painted part of the bumper helps break the huge swath between the main grille and air dam, it also directs air towards the radiator. The air dam is as wide as the main grille and taller – it adds to the muscular look at the front. A chrome lip at the bottom of the air dam adds a bit of bling.

The bulk of the Compass is actually hidden well thanks to the use of a thick black cladding that goes all around the car. The Jeep-signature trapezoidal wheel arches contain the 17-inch silver alloy wheels shod with Firestone 225/60 section all-weather tyres. If you feel the need for larger wheels, the Compass Limited Plus gets a set of 18-inch dual-tone wheels that add to the road presence of the car. Surface detailing like the lines over the wheel arches, the prominent line that passes through the door handles onto the taillamps etc. make the compact SUV exciting to look at. Prominent ‘Compass’ badges are placed on both the front doors.

The crowning jewel of the design here is the chrome line that separates the contrast-painted roof from the rest of the body – this line goes all the way from one outside rearview mirror (ORVM), over the windows, swoops down under the rear windshield, up over the windows on the other side to finally end at the other ORVM. The roof line seems to flow down towards the rear, while the windowline rises up, adding a kink at the very end of the windowline and the C-pillar looks like – according to Jeep – a shark fin! The roof rails and the spoiler do not stand out too much. But what does stand out is the panoramic sunroof that’s offered exclusively with the Compass Limited Plus. Besides being feature that’s nice to have, it makes the SUV look more upmarket.

At the rear, the design of the Compass becomes a bit sedate. Highlights here include the wraparound rear windshield with the chro le running across its base, a two-part taillamps which consists of a prominent LED guide-light (mimicking the units in the headlamps), a slightly recessed number plate holder and a two part bumper with integrated fog lamps. The Jeep logo sits on a carved out recess just below the windshield, a unique touch.Look all around and the Jeep Compass feels solid, the panel gaps are consistent and the paint quality is impressive. The Jeep Compass is offered in five colour options – Exotic Red, Brilliant Black, Minimal Grey, Vocal White and Hydro Blue (the colour of the car you see in the pictures).

Jeep Compass Interiors

Like the exterior, the Compass’s dash design and layout is similar to the Grand Cherokee. The seven inch touchscreen dominates proceedings, which sports a high-res display. Overall the dash design is a good mix of old-school and modern themes. First impression of quality is good and all the touch points, like the hand rests, upper door pad portion, steering wheel and dash-top is either draped in leather or soft-touch plastics. Even the aluminum gear knob is of high quality and adds a sporty touch. But it’s in detail where the Compass disappoints. Although you get soft-touch dash-top, the graining could have been better. The gloss-black panel which surrounds the infotainment system is a fingerprint magnet, the stalks aren’t of the highest quality and lower-down the Air-con switches and music system controls look and feel cheap.

Front seat comfort though is first rate and the well-contoured buckets are a nice place to be in. Visibility up-front is decent too and the high seating ensures a commanding view. The rear bench is comfy with an ideal backrest angle and good lateral support. We wish it had better under thigh support though, but on the flip side you have lots of space to slide your feet under the front seats, which somewhat overcomes this deficiency. The rear seat has more than enough width and knee room but the high-window-line and the big front seats mean the rear doesn’t feel too airy.

The boot at 438 litres is smaller than the competition and the high bay makes loading heavy luggage difficult too. We also wish there were more storage spaces inside the cabin. Upfront you get two cup holders and bottle holders but the door pockets are too small and the glove box too is shallow.

In terms of equipment, the Compass is a bit of mixed-bag. You get essential things like a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, dual-zone climate control, six airbags(lower variants will get four airbags), ESP and ABS. But you miss out on things like powered driver seat, sunroof and powered tailgate which its rivals offer.

Jeep Compass Transmission

The Jeep Compass Trailhawk is offered with a BS-VI compliant 2.0-litre Multijet Turbo II diesel motor that pairs with a ZF-sourced 9-speed automatic transmission and Jeep’s Active Drive 4×4 system. Jeep has worked on the internals of the engine, and the motor has been tuned to improve the initial clatter. That said, engine becomes quite vocal once it goes past 3,000rpm. But then there would be only few instances like overtaking when the engine will have to be worked a little. Otherwise, the power delivery is linear and with a strong mid-range it can chug along comfortably.

Now for the automatic transmission, the carmaker is using a nine-speed ZF gearbox that offers closely-stacked ratios and upshifts early in a bid to improve fuel efficiency. This gearbox doesn’t get a dedicated Sport mode, but there’s an option of manual gear shifting (without paddle-shifters). This isn’t as snappy as you would want. That said, the gearbox is slightly slow to react to throttle inputs with some delay in shifts. This results in some back and forth movement of your body while upshifting. Now let us give you a lowdown on the off-road manners of the SUV.

In Jeep’s confines, the Trailhawk badge isn’t given but is earned. And when Jeep says its SUV is ‘Trail Rated’, they mean serious off-road cred. All ‘Trail Rated’ Jeep SUVs are tested on five parameters – traction, ground clearance, articulation (ramp travel index 321), manoeuvrability and water fording ability. And for us to test the off-road prowess of the Compass Trailhawk, Jeep had designed an off-road course, where we had to take the vehicle through deeply dug ditches, a patch of boulders, small ponds, climbing hillocks, descending down mountains, and everything in-between.

The Active Drive 4X4 system on the Compass Trailhawk comes with Jeep’s Active Drive Low function and a locking rear differential, which provides a final drive ratio of 4.334 and a crawl ratio of 20:1. The Selec-Terrain drive system also gets a dedicated Rock mode, in addition to the Sand, Snow, Mud and Auto modes. The abundance of torque that the ‘4WD Low’ mode offered around this circuit helped us in tackling the various obstacles.

First came the axle-bender section, where we got to test the articulation of the vehicle. Then there was a patch full of rocks, followed by technical bends, and steep inclines and drops. Things became easier with the improved approach (26.5 degrees), break-over (21.2 degrees), and departure angles (31.6 degrees), and the underbody protection also meant that we didn’t have to worry much about any impending damage to the belly along the course. To know more info on Jeep compass visit Kokoliko

Further, the hill descent control came into play and took the vehicle downhill at crawling speeds. All we had to do was to steer in the right direction. Humming cheerfully, the drive-train made short work of the tricky hurdles and the light steering also helped us a great deal in such conditions. What’s more, the Trailhawk also gets a disconnecting rear axle feature and a power take-off unit (PTU) that again are useful when the situation isn’t as demanding.

Jeep has tuned the steering according to the Indian driving conditions. It is light for city driving/off-road conditions and weighs up nicely at highway speeds. The steering is direct and points the car in the right direction with slightest of inputs. It offers good feel and isn’t reluctant to come back to the centre. The steering isn’t overly assisted either.

Also, the Trailhawk features an all-independent suspension setup, with high tech FSD (frequency sensitive damping) dampers from Koni. The suspension damping is commendable and these help the SUV in providing a plush ride quality. While the low-speed ride is slightly on the stiffer side, the high-speed ride is composed. The automaker has reworked the suspension setup to counter the added weight and the increased height. A hydraulic rebound stopper (HRS) has been used to contain the clunking noise if the SUV goes over sharp potholes and speed breakers. Even for the cabin insulation, there’s hardly any wind/road-noise that filters into the cabin. The all-terrain tyres offer good grip levels throughout, but they do screech even during normal cornering. The brakes offer good progression and feel. However, we would’ve loved a stronger bite for reassurance.

Jeep Compass Driving

On the smooth roads of Goa, the Compass’ suspension offered a good compromise between comfort and handling. The Compass gets ‘frequency sensitive damping’ which adjusts the damping rate of the suspension as per road conditions and driver inputs. The SUV is able to keep occupants comfortable over most undulations except when going over sharp lateral bumps. The suspension seems to be tuned for more comfort higher speeds, there is a hint of bounciness – but it never gets uncomfortable. Taking some tight corners also showed how poised the Compass is, there is barely any roll.The steering unit on the Compass is a revelation. Though it is electrically assisted, it feels well-connected to the front wheels. While there is almost no resistance from the steering system at parking speeds, it weighs up nicely as you pick up speed.

A brief drive on the beach also gave us a preview of how effective the ‘Selec Terrain’ system is. Controlled via a rotary knob on the lower centre console, it offers shift-on-the-fly traction modes – including ‘Auto’, ‘Snow’, ‘Sand’ and ‘Mud’. Though the Compass has all-weather tyres, which are generally just enough to cope with varying terrains, the AWD system made sure the Compass felt comfortable on soft sand. The system automatically sent power to the rear wheels when it detected slip and stopped it from digging in.

On a dedicated 3.5km long off-road track, the Jeep Compass felt like it was built to do such stuff. Water wading, steep inclines, slush tracks, slippery grass, wet rocky terrain and a very bumpy log path were all dispatched with minimal effort. We were tackling all these in the ‘Mud’ mode which locks the 4×4 system and disengages traction control. The short first gear compensates for the absence of a crawler gear and there is enough grunt low down the power band that you don’t need to slip the clutch to go over steep obstacles. The responsive steering wheel has to be given another mention here – it had enough feedback for me to know where my front wheels were pointing at, without tiring my arms.

Jeep Compass Safety

The standard safety features list on the Jeep Compass is a long one. Anti-lock braking system (ABS), Electronic brake distribution (EBD), Electronic stability control (ESP), Traction control, Hill start assist, Panic brake assist (PBA – if driver slams the brakes in an emergency, the system applies consistently more pressure to ensure maximum braking effect), Electronic brake prefill (if the system detects the driver lifting off suddenly from the accelerator, it engages the brakes slightly so that there isn’t a delay in braking performance), Electronic rollover mitigation (uses a combination of brakes, traction control and engine torque control to prevent the car from rolling over during extremely tight turns), and dual front airbags are offered on all variants. The 4×4 variants get six airbags in total, but even the top-spec 4×2 Compass has to make do with dual front airbags. This is hard to digest when you factor in the Rs 20 lakh+ on road price.

Other safety systems like cornering fog lamps, rear view camera with display on the infotainment screen, rear parking sensors, manually-dimming IRVMs also add to the sense of safety. Jeep did miss out on safety tech like an auto-dimming IRVM, auto headlamps and auto wipers, but made amends by offering these goodies in the Limited Plus.

Jeep Compass Cost in Bangalore

Jeep Compass On Road Price is 20,87,685/- and Ex-showroom Price is 16,64,000/- in Bangalore. Jeep Compass comes in 5 colours, namely Exotica Red,Hydro Blue,Vocal White,Brilliant Black,Minimal Grey. Jeep Compass comes with AWD with 1956 CC Displacement and 4 Cylinders with Maximum Power 170 bhp@3750 rpm and Peak Torque 350 Nm@1750-2500 rpm DRIVE TRAIN AWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Jeep Compass comes with Manual Transmission with AWD .Check for Jeep Compass price in Bangalore at Tryaldrive.

Jeep Compass Final Thought

The answer we set-out to seek at the start of the review was, is the Compass Trailhawk a capable premium off-road SUV? The simple answer to this is a thumping yes. The Jeep Compass Trailhawk shines on off-road trails, drives well, is packed with features, and offers the convenience of an automatic transmission. Sure, it could have done better with a sporty gearbox and a suppler low-speed ride. However, these shortcomings aren’t significant enough to not consider the SUV. Now, only if the company prices it sensibly at around Rs 26 lakhs (ex-showroom), Jeep India will have a winner at hands.