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Review: Jeep Compass Petrol AT

Driven November 2017

Review: Jeep Compass Petrol AT

So far, we’ve only had good things to say about the Compass. And that’s mostly down to the fact that the Compass is a fantastic SUV. Of course, we had only ever driven the diesel-engined, four wheel drive variant. That one was impressive both on the road and off it. But what about its more domesticated brother? We just had to find out.

Spec and design wise, the auto-petrol is the same as the top-end diesel. It only comes in the top-end Limited variant and hence gets all the bells and whistles the diesel gets. Read that as leather interiors, CarPlay, Android Auto, cornering lamps, climate control, a full suite of airbags, reversing camera with sensors – the whole gamut. The chassis and suspension behaviour too stays that same as the diesel. The ride is firm yet absorptive. There isn’t a lot of roll in corners but there is a lot of grip in all situations. It remains a great car to drive in the city with its compact dimensions and out on the highway thanks to its well-mannered dynamics.

Where the difference lies, is the engine and that’s what we are going to focus on. The Compass here uses the new 1.4L Multiair engine. The four-cylinder petrol motor uses Fiat’s new variable valve timing technology for more usable power. The engine itself makes 161bhp and 150Nm of torque. And it delivers this power to the front wheels through a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

On the move, the gearbox and engine doesn’t give you a sense of urgency. In fact it feels rather slow. But the flipside of that is that the combination is a super refined one. Starting from standstill, the progress is as smooth as the proverbial hot knife through butter. The problem however is that this character of the engine/gearbox refuses to change even when you’re in a hurry. So while progress isn’t actually that slow, the Compass always ends up feeling like it’s holding itself back.

The Compass isn’t slow at all, as a matter of fact. Our test number show it as quicker than the diesel too. It hit 100kph in 10.6 seconds when we tested it. Roll-ons too were mighty quick with 30-50kph coming up in just two seconds and 50-70kph taking just over two and a half seconds. A lot of it is down to the gearbox. For all the lazy feels it gives you, it is in fact quite a quick little number. The shifts are smooth and fast and it doesn’t bat an eyelid when the speeds go up to highway zones.

However, efficiency isn’t this SUV’s strong suit. Our test run saw the Compass returning only 9.2kpl in the city and 12.4kpl out on the highway.

For an SUV that will most likely spend all its time in the city, the Compass AT ticks all the right boxes. It is compact, it comes with all the kit that you will ever need and it also looks like a million bucks. It is comfortable to be in, rides well and the automatic gearbox is one of the more refined units we have tested.

The top-end variant that we tested retails at Rs 19.58 lakh (ex-Mumbai). This also makes it incredible value for money when you compare it to the others in the segment. However, there is a catch even though it is a small one. Between the top-end diesel 4WD and this variant the Compass loses the side and curtain airbags. Agreed, I am nitpicking at this point. But I had to find some fault with this SUV and so far this is the only significant one I can find. It really is that good!


Engine: 1368cc, petrol, 4cyl

Power: 160.7bhp@5500rpm

Torque: 250Nm@2500-4000rpm

Gearbox: 7A

Kerb weight 1562kg

0-100kph: 10.6s

30-50kph: 2.0s

50-70kph: 2.6s

Fuel efficiency: 9.2kpl (city)/12.4kpl(highway)

Verdict: The Compass with an AT ‘box is just what you need if you plan to spend almost all your time in the city

Ashok George

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