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      2021 Jeep Compass First Drive Review

      Santosh Nair

      Santosh Nair

      Why would I buy it?

      Why would I buy it?

      • Feature list
      • Premium appeal
      • Ride quality

      Why would I avoid it?

      Why would I avoid it?

      • Costly top-spec trims
      • Interior space
      • Nine-speed AT is not the most intuitive to use

      Engine and Performance

      Engine and Performance

      Right Front Three Quarter

      Powering the facelifted Jeep Compass is a 163bhp/240Nm 1.4-litre Multiair petrol engine with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DCT gearbox, and the one we’re driving for this review, a 2.0-litre 170bhp/350Nm Multijet diesel that’s mated to a nine-speed automatic with the brand’s Active Drive 4x4 system. You can also get this engine with a six-speed manual transmission.

      Left Rear Three Quarter

      As you crank the diesel mill, one will instantly be audience to a noticeable clatter within its cabin, despite being sincerely well-insulated one. In fact, there’s no running away from it, and the clatter is not just fairly audible on the go, but there’s a significant share of vibrations felt on the steering too. Then there’s the power delivery; it’s linear and although sufficient for most city driving situations, the nine-speed auto box is relatively slow to respond. 

      Jeep Compass Gear Shifter/Gear Shifter Stalk

      Topping this is the perceptible lag when you mash the throttle to perform a more aggressive move or to overtake. This pause, whilst the downshift happens and the power flows in post that, fiddles considerably with the driving experience. It ultimately requires one to plan their moves in advance. Nonetheless, at highway speeds, the gearbox responds quicker, whereby cruising is accomplished without having the engine sweat a wee bit; making it an ideal cross country mile muncher.

      Ride Quality and Handling

      Ride Quality and Handling

      Right Side View

      Nothing new here. So, the Compass’ ride remains slightly firm at slower speeds, but in no way makes the occupants uncomfortable. The faster you go, the better is the absorption of road imperfections by the sorted chassis setup and dampers, barring only the ultra-harsh bumps. These lend it mature road manners overall. The only thing to watch out for is the low front bumper that can scrape tall obstacles.

      Left Rear Three Quarter

      Meanwhile, handling, on the whole, is largely predictable with some body roll at hand. The steering itself is direct and fairly responsive (2.5 turns locks-to-lock). But on the downside, it does feel increasingly heavy. Although this heft comes in handy when you drive fast on winding roads, it can translate into extra effort while driving in tight confines. Nothing that can put you off though.

      Comfort, Convenience, and features

      Comfort, Convenience, and features

      Jeep Compass Dashboard

      It’s the cabin of the refreshed Compass that sees the most action; almost new, so to say. As a result, it feels more luxurious and lavish. An all-black colour theme replaces the earlier beige/black dual-tone cabin, which now uses a fresh dashboard with a new steering, a revamped massive touchscreen, and an all-digital intuitive instrumentation cluster that’s got cool graphics, but also gives away an Audi fragrance. Also adding that opulent edge is loads of chrome and contrasting gloss black slabs that are splashed all over the dashboard, steering wheel, and gear lever.

      Jeep Compass Front Row Seats

      Space remains the same as the earlier model, so there’s good legroom and the large seat proportions make for comfortable seating in the front. Plus, the backbenchers also profit from a commanding view as a consequence of being positioned higher than the front ones. The only downside is that there’s only enough shoulder room for two to be seated in utmost comfort. But that aside, the rear occupants get their fair portion of AC vents, a USB charging socket, and 1.0-litre bottle holders.

      Jeep Compass Second Row Seats

      When it comes to the 438-litre boot, it’s by far the segment standard, easily capable of swallowing not just two/three medium suitcases, but also a few duffle bags. Likewise, since the bench has 60:40 split-folding functionality, the boot enclosure can swell accordingly for more practicality. Meanwhile, the Compass’ significantly upgraded feature list now includes an all-digital instrumentation, dual-zone climate control, a double panel sunroof, electric driver’s seat with memory, a 360-degree camera with park assist, ventilated seats, and wireless charging.

      Bootspace Rear Split Seat Folded

      The highlight, however, has to be the 10.1-inch HD touchscreen infotainment system that runs Jeep’s latest UConnect system. Its crisp graphics also aid the 360-degree camera functionality. Plus, there’s immaculate hands-free functionality through the voice command feature along with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You also get loads of connected car technology that includes software updates and a Jeep App.

      Jeep Compass Infotainment System

      Safety features

      Safety features

      Jeep Compass Driver Side Airbag

      As for safety, all variants get two front airbags, ABS with EBD, electronic stability control, ISOFIX child seat mounting points, and hill start assist. This ‘Model S’ variant also gets additional goodies such as side airbags, side curtain airbags, tyre pressure monitoring system, and hill-hold and hill descent control for the 4x4 models.

      Exterior

      Exterior

      Front View

      At the first glance, it’s difficult to spot any changes, but on increased scrutiny, one will notice that the shiny chrome bits have been replaced by sporty black and grey trim. Inadvertently, this makes the fascia look significantly slimmer. Other than that, the side and rear portions look more or less the same, despite the addition of the gorgeous new 18-inch alloy wheels. Plus, the grey pillars and roof are a part of the dual-tone scheme for this Sport version. As such, the 2021 Compass continues with its mature and premium stance.

      Left Rear Three Quarter

      Conclusion

      Conclusion

      Left Side View

      The previous Jeep Compass model excelled in everything but in the cabin department. This is why the mechanicals of the new Compass have been left untouched, while the rest of the car (read interior) went through a serious makeover. And, it is seriously appealing now. But it is at the cost of some rear-seat space when compared to its rivals. Likewise, since the Jeep Compass’ price ranges from Rs 20.20 lakh to Rs 34.59 lakh (OTR, Mumbai- for our tested ‘Model S’ 4x4 diesel AT), it is the most expensive in its segment, and also takes the fight to cars such as the MG Hector Plus and the Tata Safari. But what works for the Jeep Compass is that it is a capable SUV that also commands its place due to the exemplary heritage.

      Photography: Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi

      Jeep Compass ₹ 17.19 Lakh Onwards
      Jeep | Jeep Compass | Compass | Compass Model S (O) Diesel 4x4 AT