2021 Jeep Compass Facelift Review: The Best Do-All SUV?

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In the midst of pleasing the masses and to churn out more sales, we have somewhere lost the true essence of SUVs. We have, time and again, asked ourselves many times that if the current crop of SUVs true to their intent or just an attempt to lure in more customers, using creature comforts as their bait. The truth is, there are only a few SUVs left which are defining what it means to be a ‘Sport Utility Vehicle’. One among them is the Jeep Compass. The ‘True-blue American’ SUV recently received a facelift and we got a chance to drive it. Here are our findings:

Looks… the same?

The overall stance of the SUV is similar to the model it replaces and only keen-eyed fellows will be able to spot the differences. The facelift features a redesigned bumper, new LED headlamps and DRLs upfront and the iconic seven slat front with some chrome studs. The taillamps and the alloys are completely new too.

Jeep compass facelift review

The rest of the SUV looks relatively unchanged, aside from an updated lighting configuration for the tail lamps. If we look at it that way, this isn’t a major overhaul as far as exterior design is considered.

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It’s a whole new world inside!

It is when you step inside the cabin when the differences hit right in your face. The cabin has been completely revamped and to be honest, it looks like it belongs to the next-generation of the Compass. It is nothing short of commendable what Jeep has done with the cabin. It feels like it downshifted right next to its rivals and left them in the dust. The all-new cabin is offered in with dual-tone and full-black combinations in leather and fabric upholstery, depending on the trim and variant. There’s a sleek accent running along the dashboard and another accent around the lower half of the dashboard for a premium feel. The centre console features a massive 10.1-inch floating screen infotainment system.

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One up for the infotainment screen as well. It is only a high-resolution one but very intuitive as well. We have often witnessed large infotainment screens falling prey to a laggy user interface but that isn’t the case here as the UI too, is very slick and user-friendly. The multi-function instrument cluster behind the steering wheel is now a much larger, 10.25-inch digital display and has 24 configurable content screens in it. The content screens can be accessed from the buttons provided on the newly designed steering wheel. Whereas the floating infotainment screen runs on the latest UConnect 5 software. It comes with wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto, up to five custom profiles, and OTA updates. It also gets other additional bits such as wireless charging, a 360-degree remote camera, cruise control, powered liftgate, and powered front seats with ventilation and memory settings.

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The rear bench left us wanting for more. More space, to be very precise and that is just about it. The knee room isn’t segment-leading but the seats are comfortable. Things change when you bring in the third passenger though and that’s when you realize that the rear bench is only good for two adults. If we keep this aside, the cabin of the Compass is a very nice place to be and the driver’s seat? Even better! Here’s why:

Drives like a charm!

Among the sea of SUVs with lifeless steering wheels and a body which likes to roll, the Compass is a winner. We have always admired the Compass for its driving dynamics and that hasn’t changed a bit. The Jeep Compass facelift is powered by a 173hp, 2.0-litre diesel engine and a 163hp, 1.4-litre turbo-petrol engine, same as the outgoing model. Both engines come with six-speed manuals as standard, with the petrol getting the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and the diesel getting a nine-speed torque converter auto option. The Compass facelift diesel meanwhile, is available with a four-wheel-drive system with surface-specific drive modes.

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We got to drive the diesel-powered Compass with nine-speed torque converter and guess who had a wide smile plastered on his face? The diesel-unit is one sprightly one and dispatches 0-100 sprint in around 10.5 seconds. The gearbox might not be the best of the lot but is certainly better than the one found on the Tata Harrier or Safari. The gearshifts might not be the quickest of the lot but is intelligent enough to make you play around and with such a communicative steering wheel, you definitely will.

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If you are out in the market, looking for a ‘Driver’s SUV’, we are going to stick our neck out and say that this is where your search will end. The steering wheel lets you feel everything that is going on the road. And the suspension, working in unison, pegs you to push harder. The suspension setup might be a little stiff as compared to say, the Hyundai Tucson, but it actually aids the Compass’ handling. Unlike other ‘pseudo’ SUVs in this segment, the Compass can actually take some beating off the road. It is aided by Jeep’s AWD system which proves to be the saviour if you find yourself in a tough spot.

Conclusion

The Jeep Compass, in its latest avatar, is purely irresistible. We were already a fan of Compass’ driving dynamics but now, the Compass has managed to impress us by its creature comforts as well. Whether you are driving on wide-open highways, munching miles at good speeds as you go, or heading to a hidden spot, negotiating with some trails, the Compass will make sure that you feel content being behind the steering wheel.

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