The Jeep Compass launched with much fanfare and has been a runaway hit for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) India. Even exports of the car have begun from India since it’s only made here for all the right hand drive markets across the world. The car launched in multiple variants but it was announced at the very start that the petrol Compass would be delivered later in the year. Well, deliveries began last month and I got my hands on one a few days ago. And what’s more, I also got the automatic variant since many of you have been very curious about the Compass automatic. Jeep only offers the automatic on the 1.4 Multiair turbo petrol and it comes in three variants; which are all front wheel drive only as only the diesel gets the AWD. The base Sport variant comes with manual transmission and the top spec Limited and Limited (O) gets the 7-Speed dual-clutch auto box. The latter is the car I’ve got with me.
The 1.4 Multiair is a Fiat engine and delivers 161 bhp and 250 Nm of peak torque. The engine choice did surprise many with a lot of doubt on whether or not a 1.4 is good enough for a car of this size. So, first up let me allay your fears -it is not just enough, but does well. Even though the engine is surprisingly punchy – it is a bit of a slow starter though, as there is a hint of lag under 2000 rpm. But things get effortless thereafter as the gearbox is mated very well to the motor.
It’s very smooth through the changes too, though it’s a bit slower to respond in heavy bumper-to-bumper traffic at times. It certainly has the smoothness to go with the Compass’ premium appeal as well as its excellent ride quality. Like its diesel counterpart, the petrol too has the ability to swallow mostly anything that comes its way and can take on potholes or bad roads with ease. The steering feels a tad heavier but the 17-inch wheels glide over mostly all rough surfaces with no complaints. Even the mileage that you get on the automatic, 14.1 kmpl, is something that you can’t complain about.
|Maximum Power||161 [email protected] 5500 rpm|
|Peak Torque||250 [email protected] 2500-4000 rpm|
|Transmission||6-Speed Manual/7-Speed DDCT|
The petrol and diesel look identical of course. And the same holds true for the interior save for the auto gearshift! We have already run you through the features in our in-depth drive review on the diesel car and you can read that here. That petrol auto is only available in the higher specs is a bit odd – I’d have gone with an auto for the Limited (O) and one with a Longitude trim. But even so, the car is still reasonably attractively priced at ₹ 19.67 lakh for the Limited (O), and ₹ 18.96 lakh for the Limited variant (both prices ex-showroom Delhi). With it you get all the goodies including the touchscreen with Apple CarPlay / Android Auto, the near-white premium looking seats, and the climate control. The base Sport petrol is the entry variant of the Compass lineup at ₹ 15.16 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
The car looks great – its true SUV proportions and Jeep DNA make it look a bit bigger than it really is. The great stance is well complemented by the two tone roof on the Limited (O), though even in single colour it looks great. The fact that it is fun to drive only enhances its terrific appeal. My test car in red and black looks especially sexy I have to say, as the black roof also plays well with the chrome accents and the plastic cladding all around.
There have been many of you asking me why Jeep hasn’t launched a diesel automatic. Quite simple really – the diesel auto wasn’t planned for at the start since most diesel markets don’t have a huge demand for one, India included. Yes, here that’s starting to change, but with a lack of clarity on policy with regard to diesel engines, going forward the development cost of bringing a diesel auto is not justifiable. Luckily the fact that you get an efficient and well-engineered petrol auto is good though – as it would have been a big miss not to offer automatic at all. (Did someone say Captur?!)
Like the diesel, the petrol variant of the Jeep Compass is also quite fun to drive
|Ground Clearance||221 mm|