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2020 Jeep Compass diesel automatic review, test drive

7th Jan 2020 10:16 am

The accomplished Compass gets a shot in the arm with the arrival of its new diesel-automatic version.


  • Make : Jeep
  • Model : Compass

What is it?

With the off-road oriented Jeep Compass Trailhawk pairing a diesel engine and an automatic transmission, it was only a matter of time before this much-wanted engine-gearbox combo was rolled out on to the more everyday versions of the Compass. And that is the very specification on the Compass you see here. Yes, it doesn’t look any different to the Compass we’ve had since 2017 but the familiar looks hide a BS6-ready engine and a 9-speed automatic gearbox. This version is more affordable than the Trailhawk, with which it shares its powertrain. More on that later. 

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More BS6-ready versions will join the line-up in due time but, for now, our focus is on the new 4x4 auto, which features Jeep’s Selec-Terrain Active Drive all-wheel drive system.

What’s it like on the inside?

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

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Jeep has launched the Compass diesel-auto in two variants. 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.   

What’s it like to drive?

Anyone familiar with the older BS4-spec Compass diesel will immediately note a major improvement in refinement on the BS6-spec Compass. You’ll hear a whole lot less of the engine, and interestingly, idle is quieter than what you get on 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 typical urban driving 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 12.49sec run.

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However, as on the Trailhawk, what’s missed here is the strong mid-range surge that gave the older BS4-spec engine so much character. The BS6 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’s 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.

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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 isn’t perturbed by large patches of broken road taken at speed and even handling is tidy for an SUV. True to Jeep DNA, the Compass 4x4 is also adept off-road with more ability than most owners will exploit. 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 can’t absorb the bumps as effectively as the Trailhawk’s chunkier 225/60 R17 tyres.

Should I buy one?

The Jeep Compass has long been one of our favourites and it’s 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 BS6-spec but you’ll still like the MultiJet II engine for its easy access to power and newfound 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.

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

Also see:

Jeep Compass
Jeep Compass

Rs 19.65 lakh * on road price (New Delhi)

ENGINE Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Fuel Type / Propulsion Diesel
Type 4 cyl, Turbocharged
Cubic Capacity (cc) 1956cc
Max Power (hp @ rpm) 173hp at 3750rpm
Max Torque (Nm @ rpm) 350Nm at 1750-2500rpm
TRANSMISSION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Drive Layout Four-wheel drive
Gearbox Type Automatic
No of Gears 9
BODY Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Front Tyre 225/55 R18
Rear Tyre 225/55 R18
Spare Tyre Full-size
BRAKES Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Front Discs
Rear Discs
Dimensions Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT Electric
Length (mm) 4395mm
Width (mm) 1818mm
Height (mm) 1640mm
Wheelbase (mm) 2636mm
Ground Clearance (mm) 178mm
Boot Capacity (Lts) 438 litres
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