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The Compass has been a success for Jeep in India. It brings an opportunity for true blue Jeep enthusiasts to live the experience of owning this brand here in the country. The Compass is also offered with an optional 4x4 in the top-spec Limited version and this is the model we picked to see if it could do justice to the brand’s legacy in terms of going off the road. Do note that the 4x4 Limited is offered with a diesel-manual set-up and gets Selec-Terrain® dial for selecting modes for driving off the road.
For this off-road run, we picked seven different obstacles which would put to test the SUV’s capabilities. Let's have a look at these one by one:
1. The Autocross run
As the name suggests, this is a high-speed run through loose sand and corners or basically a sprint on a dirt circuit. We selected the sand mode for this and the Compass seemed to tackle this section rather fast. The Electronic Stability Program or the ESP kept the rear from stepping out and as we went faster, the Compass’ Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) suspension came handy.
2. The chicken humps
After the speed run, it was time to slow down and check the wheel articulation of the Jeep Compass. This section is called ‘chicken humps’ because of the way the ‘humps’ or the piles of sand are positioned one after the another. The Jeep Compass was able to transfer power to different wheels quickly as it went around the course - this without getting stuck.
3. Tyre Catcher section
As the name suggests, this section is made of tyres which acts as a cushion to as not to damage the vehicle but being small in size, the elastic rubber tries to ‘catch’ your vehicle’s wheel so as to stall it. But thanks to the torque available in the lower rev range of the engine, we were able to come out of this easily.
4. Elevation Spikes
These steep sand ditches test the power and torque of a diesel engine and the Compass further used its HSA or hill-start assist to get us out of tricky situations. This meant that even if we had to start from a standstill, the brakes held on automatically for a few seconds and this removed the need to literally slip and burn the clutch to gain momentum up the hill.
5. Rock crawl
Our test center also had a rock bed which demonstrates the amount of vertical and horizontal movements when the vehicle is driven on such a terrain. Though a picture cannot do justice to how the Compass fared, we can very well tell you it remained (surprisingly) composed!
6. Axle twister
As the name suggests and the picture depicts, the Compass was made to drive through deep pits. One wheel usually remained up in the air here and scraping the bumper and mud flaps aside, the Compass drove through without a complaint. Afterall, 350Nm of torque does come handy and removes the need to rev the engine unnecessarily.
7. Slush pit
And finally, the slush pit! We all love getting our SUVs dirty with mud and sand, right? The Compass, with stock road tyres, did the slush run with ease. We had the drive mode in ‘Mud’ and drove through almost 2 feet deep slush as visible in the pictures. The Compass did not bog down and slotted in 2nd with a gentle tap on the accelerator pedal.
At the end of the day, it was apparent that the Compass is your everyday SUV that you can drive to work and play with over the weekend. It was ample torque, electronics aids and a clever 4x4 set-up that can get you out of most tricky situations. True, the front bumper extends a bit too forward and is on the lower side, but this apart, the Compass 4x4 did impress us. It might not work as a best option for a hard-core off-road enthusiast but for a casual buyer, it will tick all the right boxes.
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