2020 Jeep Compass diesel automatic road test review
The Jeep Compass Trailhawk is one of the most well-specced off-road centric SUVs in its price range, for it comes loaded with the right equipment. What makes it better is the fact that Jeep offers it with a 9-speed automatic mated to the 2-litre BS VI diesel engine, just the right combination then, if you were looking for a Compass to spend more time off-road. This also meant that someone looking for a diesel automatic in the Compass had to shell out an extra premium over the regular which didn't make much sense for those who wouldn't want to drive anywhere else but the city. And that is where our story starts with the latest Jeep in town, the Compass with diesel automatic priced at Rs 21.96 lakh, (ex-showroom)
Design and features
The first thing that you notice in the Compass in terms of design has to be its handsome looks with an impressive street presence. The right amount of muscle all throughout the design will also make the SUV age well in the years to come. The only differentiating feature between the regular diesel automatic and the Trailhawk are the 18-inch dual-tone wheels on the top-spec trim compared to the 17-inch offered in the latter.
The Compass diesel automatic is available in two trims. The Longitude variant comes with keyless entry, 7-inch touch screen and cruise control whereas the Limited Plus, which was also our test car, features dual-pane panoramic sunroof, dual-zone climate control, larger 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment with CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 8-way electrically adjustable driver's seat, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, start/stop and cruise control. When you step inside the Jeep Compass, it feels like a solidly built SUV with premium touches everywhere, be it the leather wrapped steering wheel, the well cushioned leather seats or even the quality of plastics.
Engine performance and automatic transmission
Powering the Jeep Compass automatic diesel is the locally manufactured BS VI compliant 2-litre diesel engine that puts out 173PS of power and 350Nm of torque, mated to a ZF sourced 9-speed automatic transmission. The same setup is offered in the Trailhawk as well. However, there is a change in gearing to make the Compass Diesel more suitable for driving in the city and on the highways. For a real world experience, we started our drive experience in the buzzing Mumbai traffic which is a challenge, especially at peak hours. The shift quality of the 9-speed unit is smooth as the changes between gears are seamless. This is truly rewarding when you are charting the city in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
However, when you get on the open stretches, the lazy response of the transmission gets highlighted, especially when you are pulling out an overtaking maneuver. If you are someone who enjoys immediate power response at the whip of a shift, the 9-speed automatic in the Compass might not cut it for you. The deficit in response, however, can be compensated by shifting into the manual mode which, to an extent, does help squeeze out more from the diesel engine. The SUV gets from 0 to 100kmph in 11.9s. In terms of efficiency, the SUV returned 22.75 kmpl on the highways while in the city it was 9.37kmpl, highlighting the state of tune of the engine that feels more relaxed on the highways. Also, the highway fuel efficiency of the diesel automatic is marginally lower than then figure we had achieved in the manual variant at 23.43kmpl.
Ride and handling
We have already appreciated and spoken highly about the impressive ride quality of the Jeep Compass in our previous tests. While the Compass diesel automatic misses out on the low range ratio and the rock mode offered in the Trailhawk, it still comes with a four-wheel drivetrain with drive modes to make way out of mud, slush and even sand. What impressed us is the Compass' Frequency Selective Dampers that tweak the damping based on the terrain and also make sure the ride quality does not get affected while driving over uneven surfaces. The 18-inch wheels of the Compass offer a stiffer-ride while driving over bumpy and poor roads as compared to the 17-inch in the Trailhawk.
For now, the diesel automatic is being offered only on the 4WD variants of the Compass, which are the halo trims of the SUV. However, Jeep India will also be offering the diesel automatic in its 4x2 variants of the Compass to make the combination of diesel and automatic more accessible more competitive against its rivals. The fully loaded Limited Plus trim of the Compass is Rs. 3.14 lakh lower than the Trailhawk, which comes down to personal lifestyle choices. If you are looking for a hard core off-road SUV, the Trailhawk is the one. However, if most of your commutes will be in the city with an occasional weekend getaway the Compass automatic diesel should do the duty.
Starts Rs 15.6 Lakhs