Motoring

Jeep Compass automatic review: Worth the wait

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It has a strong build, the suspension is not perturbed by large patches of broken road, and handling is tidy

If you have held out for a diesel-automatic version of the Jeep Compass, your wait is now over. Yes, the Compass has been available with the much-in-demand engine-gearbox combo on the off-road-oriented Trailhawk version that debuted last year, but it is now being rolled out onto more everyday, and hence more affordable, versions in the range. As in the Trailhawk, the 2.0-litre diesel engine has been upgraded to BS-VI spec too. BS-VI-ready 4x2 manual and auto, and 4x4 manual versions will join the line-up in due time but, for now, our focus is on the new 4x4 diesel-auto that features Jeep’s Selec-Terrain Active Drive all-wheel-drive system.

Anyone familiar with the older BS-IV-spec Compass diesel will immediately note a major improvement in refinement on the BS-VI-spec Compass. You will hear a whole lot less of the engine, and interestingly, idle is quieter than what you get in the Trailhawk too. Jeep has optimised the 173hp/350Nm, 2.0-litre Multijet II diesel engine’s fuel mapping and calibration for this application, taking driving in cities into consideration. The result is more pep at low speeds and readier responses at part throttle. The Compass auto is also quicker than the Trailhawk in kickdown acceleration, with a 20-80kph time of 6.66sec (vs 7.15sec) and 40-100kph time of 8.05sec (vs 10.34sec). And for the record, its 11.4sec 0-100kph time also betters the Trailhawk’s 12.49 sec run.

However, as in the Trailhawk, what is missed here is the strong mid-range surge that gave the older BS-IV-spec engine so much character. The BS-VI engine delivers its power in a linear and measured (if also slightly unexciting) manner. The 9-speed torque converter automatic gearbox complements the engine’s characteristics well with smooth and timely shifts but, again, it is not snappy like, say, a dual-clutch can be. You can liven things up with manual shifts via the gear lever, but there are no paddleshifters.

Of the other things, the Compass continues to impress for its well-sorted high-speed manners. It feels planted at triple-digit speeds, the suspension is not perturbed by large patches of broken road, and even handling is tidy for an SUV. True to Jeep DNA, the Compass 4x4 is also adept off-road, with more ability. Much of the original Compass’ firm low-speed ride quality has also been addressed; but this top-spec Limited Plus version’s 225/55 R18 tyres cannot absorb the bumps as effectively as the Trailhawk’s chunkier 225/60 R17 tyres.

However, Jeep has not made any changes to the Compass’ exterior and interior. To give a quick recap, the Compass’ cabin is a smartly-turned-out space that makes generous use of soft-touch materials. There is reasonable space for four adults and seat comfort is good too.

Jeep will launch the Compass diesel-auto in two variants — Longitude and Limited Plus. The lower-spec Longitude trim gets four airbags, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, dual-zone climate control, a reverse camera, keyless entry and go, auto start/stop and cruise control.

The Limited Plus variant adds a panoramic sunroof, a powered driver’s seat with memory, leather seats, and auto headlights and wipers. Six airbags and a larger, 8.4-inch touchscreen are also exclusive to the Limited Plus. The Jeep Compass has become an even easier SUV to recommend, with the arrival of this new diesel-automatic version.

Sure, the diesel engine has lost some zing in the transition to BS-VI spec, but you will still like the MultiJet II engine for its easy access to power and new-found refinement. The smooth-shifting automatic transmission, on the other hand, adds in a new level of convenience. Factor in the strong build, the confident driving manners and even off-road ability — what you get is a really well-rounded package.

Jeep has priced the Compass diesel-automatic (ex-showroom, pan-India) at ₹21.96 lakh for the Longitude trim and ₹24.99 lakh for the fully-loaded Limited Plus; which, in turn, is about ₹2 lakh lower than the off-road-focused Trailhawk (₹26.80 lakh). While not cheap, the Compass Limited Plus diesel-automatic would be our pick of the range.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 7:36:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/motoring/worth-the-wait-jeep-compass-diesel-auto/article30567642.ece

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