- FCA’s 2.0-litre diesel engine is likely to make more power and torque
- 9-speed automatic and all-wheel drive combo will be offered
- India launch in 2021
We’d already reported that Jeep has a 7-seater version of the Compass scheduled in 2021 for India. As a quick refresh, codenamed Project 598 or Jeep D-SUV, this SUV will be based on the Compass’ monocoque platform, but it will be much longer in length to accommodate the additional, third row of seats. Its wheelbase will also be increased over the standard Compass to balance the extra length (to aid stability), which could result in better cabin space, especially in the middle row.
Prototypes of this Compass-based SUV have now been spotted doing test runs in Brazil, and, despite the heavy camouflage, what’s easily identifiable are the 18-inch wheels identical to those on the Limited Plus variant of the Jeep Compass sold in India. The frontal section of the D-SUV could remain similar to the Compass but with some cosmetic tweaks to differentiate the two offerings. Beyond the B-pillar, however, it will get longer rear doors for easier ingress-egress, and is likely to feature significant body and styling enhancement towards the rear. What’s apparent are the rear overhangs, which appear to be much longer than the standard 5-seater version’s.
Powering this 7-seater will be FCA’s familiar 2.0-litre diesel engine which does duty in the Jeep Compass, Tata Harrier and MG Hector. In the standard Compass, this same engine makes 173hp and 350Nm of torque, and comes mated to either a 6-speed manual in 2- or 4-wheel drive, and a 9-speed automatic with 4-wheel drive only. Reports indicate that the D-SUV could get the engine in a higher state of tune, which could be essential given the significantly higher gross weight. A 9-speed torque converter automatic with all-wheel drive could be standard fit. As it is, a manual might not find much traction in the Rs 25 lakh plus price bracket.
Expect the D-SUV to be generously equipped with features similar to the Compass Limited Plus, including the panoramic sunroof, auto headlamps, 18-inch wheels, cruise control, all-wheel disc brakes and ESP.
When launched in India in 2021, the 7-seat Jeep Compass will sit at the higher end of the spectrum of upcoming 7-seater SUVs like the Tata Gravitas, MG Hector Plus and Mahindra XUV500. Both Honda and Skoda have discontinued their 7-seater diesel-automatic offerings - the CR-V and Kodiaq, respectively - leaving the monocoque field barren for the Jeep. The Compass' hardy credentials might also attract buyers looking for body-on-frame SUVs such as the Mahindra Alturas G4, Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour.