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Driven: Compass can become second best-selling Jeep

New direction: Jeep has designed its new Compass to compete against the likes of the Hyundai Tucson and Volkswagen Tiguan.

All-new Indian-built Compass compact SUV kicks off bumper 2018 for Jeep


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5 Feb 2018

JEEP Australia is hopeful its all-new Compass SUV can help reverse falling sales numbers by becoming the second-best selling model in its line-up behind the popular Grand Cherokee large SUV.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the Compass in Tasmania, Jeep Australia director of marketing and product Guillaume Drelon said there was a strong chance the Compass would succeed in its segment.

“We have good potential in every sub-segment,” he said. “What we could say that is Compass could be quite easily the second-best car for us behind the Grand Cherokee.”

In 2017, the Grand Cherokee finished the year with 5356 sales, representing a 16 per cent slide compared with 2016, but comfortably ahead of Jeep's next best-selling model, the smaller Cherokee with 1069 units sold.

While technically a small SUV, Jeep has benchmarked the new Compass against strong performers in the medium SUV segment, including the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage and Volkswagen Tiguan.

“When we looked at the competition it was also to give us a benchmark, so what it means in terms of where you need to place the product in terms of spec, in terms of pricing, in terms of overall package and where it can be the most appealing to the customers,” he said.

“The way we’ve designed our pricing gives us a really great opportunity because we are in that perfect combination between being in the pricing area of one of the leaders of the market (Tucson), and on the other hand we have that premium feeling into the product which brings us closer to Tiguan.”

Pricing for the all-new Compass range kicks off at $28,850 plus on-roads for the front-drive, six-speed manual Sport, and tops out at $44,750 for the off-road-focused Trailhawk.

This puts its point of entry in similar territory to the Tucson (starting from $28,590 plus on-roads), the Sportage ($28,990) and the Tiguan ($31,990).

The Sport is powered by a 2.4-litre aspirated Tigershark petrol engine producing 129kW/229Nm driven through the front wheels, which can also be equipped with a six-speed auto for an extra $1900.

Fuel economy is rated at 8.6 litres per 100km for the manual, down to 7.9L/100km in the automatic. Combined emissions stand at 205 and 190 grams of CO2 per km, respectively.

Sport variants come standard with 17-inch wheels, a reversing camera, seven airbags, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 3.5-inch instrument cluster display, a six-speaker sound system, digital radio, an electric park brake and a 5.0-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment display with Bluetooth and audio streaming.

Next up is the mid-spec Longitude, employing the same front-drive/petrol layout and offered solely with the automatic transmission, priced from $33,750 plus on-roads.

The Longitude builds on the specification of the Sport, adding roof rails, automatic headlights and wipers, LED interior lighting, foglights and window-surround detailing.

Those looking for additional specification on their Longitude can option the $2150 Premium Audio Package, which stretches the touchscreen to 8.4 inches, and adds sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and dual-zone climate control.

Next up is the Limited, which is offered with either the Tigershark petrol donk or a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine producing 125kW/350Nm, with both variants sending power to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Using an all-paw drivetrain means fuel consumption for the petrol motor rises to a thirsty 9.7L/100km, while emitting 230g/km of CO2. The more frugal diesel donk sips a combined 5.7L/100km of fuel, with emissions of 150g/km.

Priced at $41,250 for the petrol and $43,750 for the oil-burner, the Limited gains Jeep’s Selec-Terrain all-wheel-drive system, which consists of Sand, Mud, Snow and Auto settings.

Additional equipment includes 18-inch hoops, bi-Xenon headlights, LED tail-lights, front and rear parking sensors, power adjustable and heated front seats, nine-speaker Beats audio system, and the features included in the Premium Audio Package.

A two-tone black roof ($495) and dual-pane sunroof ($1950) are available as options, as is the $2450 Advanced Technology Group pack that consists of safety gear such as adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Mr Drelon did not rule out rolling out the safety features in the Advanced Technology Group pack as standard in the future, saying customer appetite and take-up of the pack would determine whether the increasingly necessary features were kept as an option or made standard.

As one of the last vehicles tested in 2017, the Compass narrowly beat the Australasian New Car Assessment Program’s (ANCAP) new regulations that would require all new vehicles to be fitted with AEB as standard in order to achieve a five-star safety rating.

As such, it managed a five-star rating with an overall score of 97 per cent, with generally strong scores recorded across the board.

Topping the range is the $44,750 Trailhawk, paired exclusively to the diesel engine and nine-speed auto, driving all four wheels. Economy and emissions are identical to the diesel Limited.

Offering what Jeep claims as “best-in-class off-road capability”, the Trailhawk comes equipped with raised suspension and ride height, extra underbody protection, Active Drive Low 4x4 system, Rock driving mode, greater approach and departure angles and hill descent control.

For those wanting extra comfort to go with capability, the $2850 Comfort and Convenience pack is available, which consists of leather seats, power-operated and heated front seats, remote start and keyless entry.

The Advanced Technology Group and dual-pane sunroof are also available as options, priced from $2450 and $1950, respectively.

All variants ride on MacPherson front struts with coil-over shock absorbers, with Chapman struts at the rear.

Diesel variants come with a 1500kg braked towing capacity rating, while the petrol Limited is rated at 1000kg. Front-drive variants are not recommended for towing.

Full-size steel spare wheels are available on all variants for peace of mind while tackling rough tracks.

Colour options consist of Bright White, Brilliant Black, Minimal Grey, Hydro Blue, Colorado Red, Grey Magnesio, Mojave Sand and Bronze Metallic.

The Compass is the first vehicle to be built out of Jeep's new US$280m (A$350m) plant in Ranjangaon, India.

2017 Jeep Compass pricing*
Sport FWD 2.4 petrol$28,850
Sport FWD 2.4 petrol (a)$30,750
Longitude FWD 2.4 petrol (a)$33,750
Limited AWD 2.4 petrol(a)$41,250
Limited AWD 2.0 diesel (a)$43,750
Trailhawk AWD 2.0 diesel (a)$44,750
*Excludes on-road costs

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