Jeep’s SUV dons a stylish new avatar


Four years after launching the Compass in India, the Jeep’s SUV is back with a comprehensive makeover

Jeep has given its made-in-India SUV a facelift. The update brings with it a host of cosmetic changes. So do the updates improve the experience?

On the outside, a majority of the changes are to the nose. The front bumper is new while the seven-slat Jeep grille and LED headlamps get revised styling. Interestingly, the nose is free of chrome, with even the Jeep logo and trim inserts on the grille all done in an anodised gun-metal grey. The grille also houses a 360-degree camera.

Around the side, you get new diamond-cut alloy wheels and, this car gets a contrast roof in an interesting shade of grey while at the rear just the tail-lights are new.

The biggest change, however, is inside the cabin with an overriding theme of sophistication and luxury. You get a new dashboard, new door pads, a massive new free standing touch-screen, a new digital instrument panel, a new steering and even a new centre console.

There is leather and double-stitching right across the multi-layered dash and a pair of chrome bars running its width. In fact, there is plenty of chrome on the dash. There is some around the gear lever, a smattering around the steering wheel and even a nice, bevelled frame around the touch-screen. Jeep has also smartly paired the chrome with plenty of piano black which contrasts the bling quite nicely. Even the quality of the switches and buttons is superb.

The new digital instrument panel gives you the choice of what you want to have displayed and even the new steering wheel feels appropriately upmarket.

Also new is the central console that is a bit higher, a bit wider and houses a wireless charging pad up front. The four-wheel-drive system is now controlled via a metal toggle switch while functions like 4WD low, hill decent control and 4WD lock have been shifted to a row of buttons behind the gear lever.

The driver’s seat also gets a memory function and there is plenty of space in the back. You get a good amount of legroom and headroom, and there is plenty of shoulder room too.

Boot capacity, however, remains unchanged at 438 litres.

Not much has changed mechanically, and the Compass still is one of the best driving SUVs around. There is a hint of stiffness in the springs and you do feel some of the sharp-edged bumps at lows speeds but the SUV simply smothers any sort of rough surface.

Also, unlike other diesels, pulling this engine hard yields plenty of dividends though it does get noisy at high rpms. It is also quick; 0-100kph takes just 10.3sec, not bad for a heavy SUV like this.

The 9-speed auto gearbox now feels quicker on the draw, though it is still a bit too relaxed, especially when you want to execute a quick down-shift. There are no paddles behind the steering wheel either.

The best bit, however, is that the Compass remains an absolute joy to drive. It is light and easy to drive at low speeds and is confidence-inspiring around corners too.

Priced between ₹16.99-28.29 lakh (ex-showroom, India, except Kerala), the Compass facelift is expensive. This is especially true of the fully-loaded Model S trim, which is around a lakh dearer than rivals like the Hyundai Tucson. It isn’t too large on the inside, the 9-speed automatic gearbox isn’t the quickest and engine refinement isn’t great. Still, performance is strong, it has the best ride-handling balance in its class and it comes with a high-spec four-wheel-drive system.

Want one SUV to do it all? The expensive but very capable 2021 Compass deserves to be on your shortlist.

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