My story of upgrading from Verna to Compass & clocking 4000 km on it | Team-BHP

2022-05-28 07:52:57 By : Mr. Teddy Teddy

BHPian enj0y_ride recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

A lot has been written about Jeep Compass by expert BHPians as part of the official reviews as well as ownership reviews. I never thought of attempting one myself. One fine frustrating work day, I started jotting down my experiences with my new car in a word doc, but never planned to make it a big one. I was also sceptical if anyone would want to read it as almost all features have been discussed in detail. Hesitantly, I moved it to Assembly Line section thinking I will decide on completing it later. That evening, I got a "Thanks" hit from GTO and it geared me up to complete it. Hope, this might help someone with similar needs to make their purchase decision.

I am not an automotive expert and hence most of what I write will be in layman's terms. I decided to focus more on my experiences than on detailing out every feature (as those are already covered in expert blogs).

Let's start with the customary likes/dislikes.

I had my first date with Jeep Compass in 2018 when I did the test drive of Diesel MT at the dealership. I was using a 2013 Verna 1.6 SX Diesel back then and my kids ( twins ) were close to two years at that time. Space in the back seat was an important requirement and I thought, switching to an SUV will enable me to place two child seats in the rear and my wife can sit in the middle of the rear seat ( apparently, we used to travel like that in Verna for some time ). The moment I entered Compass, I knew my plans for two child seats + 1 person in the rear seat will never work out ( or at least it's never an upgrade from Verna in terms of rear space. ). OTR price for the Limited variant was somewhere in the 22L range and it was a big investment for me. No improvement to space was a big NO.

Fast forward to 2021, when most of the time was spent at home due to the pandemic, with dreams of going on long drives, vacations etc. My Verna clocked around 1,56,000 kms by then [ primarily because I used to stay 50kms away from my work ]. My car was in good shape [ pic below ] – All services were done on the exact schedule and all the repairs/ replacements were done without any delays.

My family including my parents and kids never liked travelling in the rear seat of Verna. Despite the beige interior, the low seating position coupled with high window lines gave a claustrophobic feel.

One of my kids and my mother get nausea when travelling in diesel cars ( added to the claustrophobia of Verna’s rear seat ). It's something hardwired to them and it's just not just when the car is parked in a closed space, but on highway rides too. I have tested their reaction on petrol and diesel variants of the same models like Swift ( without opening the window ). Somehow they get dizziness when in diesel cars. [Maybe it’s a separate topic altogether for medical experts ].

The maintenance of Verna too started becoming relatively troublesome: In a single month, I had multiple repairs. I had to replace brake calipers ( the fluid started leaking from rear disc brakes and it took nearly 3 weeks for parts to arrive ). Couple of weeks after it was fixed, AC stopped working. Again, 3 weeks wait for the AC valve and other parts to arrive ( and that too they were not sure if it's due to the value. They said, if value replacement doesn’t solve it, replace compressor ). Driving without AC for 3 weeks in Kerala’s humid weather made up my mind to anyhow switch the car.

By August 2021, I decided to go for a new car. My requirements were a bit different than in 2018:

My requirements for the rear seat space changed. Kids are 5 years old and they won't use child seats anymore [ though they are supposed to use booster seats, I no longer have that control ].

Coming from a Hyundai background, I am done with fancy equipment and electronics. That no longer was a need for me. When I bought Verna, I focused too much on such things and didn’t go for Vento. Every time I hit a pothole at high speeds, I regretted my decision.

Since Compass matched most of my requirements and I had been desiring that car since its launch in India, I booked a test drive in Aug 2021. The car arrived on the same day. It was a red colour Model S Petrol. The SA was new to Jeep but he was really considerate ( a no-nonsense guy ). After delivery, he in fact revealed that I was his first customer. I had a very pleasant experience with the test drive ( as I had very low expectations of the transmission and petrol engine ). The car handled pothole-ridden roads like a breeze. In fact, whenever I used to slow down for humps or potholes ( habit from Verna ), the SA was insisting I continue at the same speed. The steering was very stable and anyone coming from a Hyundai background will be very pleased. However, when they shared the price, it blew my dreams away. I was looking for only Limited or Model S variants, and both were priced north of 30L [ To my family, the max budget I kept talking about was 25L ].

I always preferred getting the top end for car purchases. However, Model S comes at a 2 L premium above Limited trim, for features like TPMS, Wireless charging, 360-degree camera, Ventilated seats, 9 speakers with subwoofer and most of these were not high on my preference. I desired the 360-degree camera though.

With a history of claustrophobia in Verna, I wanted to ensure the car interior should give an airy feel. Hence black interior was a NO for me [ Model S comes with black interiors ]. Having said my requirements, the SA too recommended the Limited petrol variant for my requirements.

Other cars I had shortlisted for consideration below ( but my heart was so fixed on Compass anyways ) :

I wanted Limited variant of Compass considering the features ( 6 airbags, sunroof were mandatory for me ). There was no MT option for the trim.

Quick update from today: Couple of months of riding AT, I am different now ( rather lazy for MT ). I don’t think, I will go back to MT again.

VFM options: There were many value for money options (a few slated to launch shortly at that time ) – Harrier, Safari ( you get 7 seats for lower cost ), XUV 7oo, then the ones that got launched a segment lower like Taigun, Kushaq. I didn’t look for Korean siblings since I wanted something different than Hyundaish steering and suspension.

When I am paying 30L+, I wanted to go for a brand that delivers the experience in that range and hence didn't really opt to look for Harrier-Safari duo or soon to be launched ( then ) XUV7OO. Also, I heard like Harrier/ Safari had been in the work-in-progress state for years and still, they haven't got a handle on perfecting it ( unlike Nexon ). XUV 7OO was not looked at, since I never wanted to buy something in the first year of launch and also I didn't like the looks that much.

This decision will cost me at least 5-6 L extra.

I was very well aware of the laggard response of the 1.4 Petrol + DCT combination, but still decided to go for it.

Then there are the "Rattle-gate" many owners reported. Decided to take my chances.

I booked the car in October as my budget was to be ready only by Nov- Dec. I kept asking the SA if I will miss any year-end deals like earlier years. They kept saying the price is bound to go up and not down even if it's year-end ( which in fact happened ). The sales manager and my sales guy came to my home to take the booking and the experience was good.

Choice of colour : Since we had a black car earlier, my kids never wanted black again. They asked me to choose from two options : PINK or YELLOW! It took me a few days to negotiate and finalise the WHITE.

When I had the required funds in November, I contacted them for delivery ( as the vehicle was already available with them ). I did the PDI, a week before delivery and it went smooth. Pic on the day of PDI here.

I had 35% NCB on my older car ( with HDFC Ergo ). I contacted them and got the NCB certificate and got an equivalent discount on new insurance. On top of that dealer gave some extra discounts on insurance.

I took an extended warranty and it is valid till 2026. In addition, I opted for the accessories ( except the car cover which I was sure I am not going to use).

On the day before delivery, they said they do not have 3D mats available and agreed to deliver their stock Premium mats. I did the mistake of going for it. The material gets dirty too soon and is not suitable for Indian conditions. Later I ordered 3D Maxpider Kagu Mats for Rs 9,300 ( lower than what Jeep guys quoted earlier ).

Delivery experience they gave was fairly new to me. It was a premium feel that they created with too much focus on us – cake cutting, photoshoots, goodies etc with all staff focusing on you. Maybe it's normal for premium cars. For me, it was the first time experience.

I got the ceramic coating done by the dealer themselves, though it was costlier than other vendors outside. I didn’t want the car to be given elsewhere for a few days soon after taking delivery. I had evaluated the PPF option, however, no vendor can confirm if there will be discolouration after 2 years. 3M openly said it's not a good option for White colour as there could be discolouration in 2-3 years. Jeep guys used ManzaPro ceramic coating ( with a 3-year warranty – 3 applications ).

Posting some pictures from the day of delivery:

Overall, the ownership experience has been fairly positive barring a few niggles, which haven't bothered me much.

As with most owners, I too got it, but luckily it's only audible from outside ( and it's not loud either and you won't notice unless you pay close attention ). I got it by around 69 kms itself. Posting the video I took then.

So far no other rattling on the inside. Since many owners got rattles from the sunroof, I mostly open only the blinds ( and not the roof ). Maybe that saved.

I had recorded the video when I started hearing it ( it was within initial 69 km )

In traffic, it stops the engine too soon and hence in stop-go traffic I feel it might impact battery life in the long run. On the other hand, when on highways, even though the owner's manual states that it takes into account of engine temperature before stopping, I found it auto stopping too soon, even after 4-5 hours of drive ( not sure what’s their threshold temperature ) – which might be bad for turbo. There is no way to permanently turn it off, you will have to turn it off every time you start your car.

There are some software bugs that pop up in very rare scenarios ( I am not able to replicate them consistently). I noticed the Auto start-stop warning light ON when on cruise control once. Video here. Stopping the car and restarting solved it.

There are some scenarios when the auto park brake won't disengage when you shift from P to D. Some understandable ones like downhill parking etc are there. However, I have noticed that sometimes when I turn off auto-start/stop function and then shift to D, it sometimes won't disengage. For those, used to the vehicle, you can easily sense if the parking brake is ON or not when starting in D. However, there is a risk of wearing the brakes if you miss that.

This too seems to be some bug in the software system.

I am not entirely sure whether the system engages the parking brake after the gear selector is in PARK or just before that. Few cases when parked on a hill, I could feel the load on the gear selector when trying to move out of PARK. If it's true, then the manual operation of park brakes is better to avoid load going to the transmission.

Failed to notice this during PDI. Though there is a gap, it's hardly noticeable.

I didn't want to categorise these as niggles.

In the first week of ownership itself, my front right tyre had a cut and it narrowly missed the sidewall. Pic below.

I took it to Jeep's service center without booking. Though their approach was good, I didn't like the solution they suggested. I had a vague idea that it won't be covered under warranty but regardless checked with them. The service advisor was creating an excuse like they need to take out the tyre and take photos from inside and send it to Jeep to check for warranty and it's going to take one full day. That was my first experience with Jeep service and I decided not to take the car there anymore for minor repairs. I took the car to a Tyre shop just opposite to their service center and they assured me it's not serious damage.

We have a bit of gravel road when starting from my home and one fine day, soon after exiting that gravel road, some squealing sound started coming ( initially I thought it was some construction work nearby). When I opened the windows, it was a very loud grinding squealing sound that was coming from my own car. I was horrified and stopped the car. I expected some iron rod or something that got stuck beneath, but couldn't find anything below the car. Tried starting the car again and when it started moving, again the same sound and I realised it was coming from the brakes. I had no idea what it was and the noise was very loud. Having exhausted my troubleshooting skills, I decided to drive back home ( which was only 200 meters from there ) and call RSA. Luckily, after I reversed and started increasing speed, whatever was stuck inside the brakes got off. After some research on the internet, I figured it was some rock/ gravel that got inside the brakes.

Well, as you can imagine, the first scratch is a daunting experience. I couldn’t sleep the day it happened. It was a narrow escape, luckily no one was hurt.

The incident was with a multi-axle BharatBenz truck ( yes the big one ).

This is what happened. My car had 5 people ( all colleagues from the office ). We were turning right below a flyover and it was raining.

I have tried to represent it below. In reality, it was cramped with many cars and bikes, though in the picture I represented only the vehicles involved. [ Top is East in my representation ]

The bottom portion of the flyover where we turn is wider, however, the road to enter is narrower. My car and Truck-2 were waiting in two lanes beneath, awaiting to move East ( awaiting the policeman’s signal ). Out of nowhere another multi-axle truck ( labelled as Truck-1 ) came with a full load and the driver was aggressive. When we started moving, Truck-1 veered towards the right to enter the narrower road and was about to hit my front left. Me too had no other option but to turn slightly right. I noticed Truck-2 starting to move, but I assumed he will stop seeing this and I miscalculated that it will come only slower. I had my eyes on ORVM while trying to avoid the hit from the left front. Then I saw it happening, the truck hit the back door with a big sound and as my car moved, I saw it scratching till the end of the bumper. My heart sank and I got off. It was heavy traffic and honkings all around. I saw the scratch and some small dent like mark on the door. But hearing the sound and knowing it was a large truck, I expected worse. I had to let go of it and moved my car.

No one will believe, only this much happened with such an encounter. I think the car parts survived it very well. Part of the hit was on the plastic cladding and part on the metal parts all the way to the bumper. This is what it looked like after I reached home on that rainy evening.

The next day was another surprise. I decided to wash the car and take a look. To my surprise, even though there was a dent, the scratch was going away as I continued to rub with the microfiber cloth (maybe the ceramic coating protected it to some extent ). In the second pic, you can see the bend, but no paint damage ( in the portion where there is a bend ). The gap between the claddings widened a bit but is not noticeable.

Few things saved my day:

After that incident, I was observing bumpers of trucks on the road. The newer generation ones seem to have decent ones and might actually help the victim in similar scenarios. Had it been an old generation truck with metal bumpers ( god knows what they are meant for ), the scene would have been totally different.

Well, every new car deserves one and decided to take a Mysore trip from Kochi ( and return via Wayanad ). Total round trip was 890+ kms. A significant portion of the driving time was spent on Ghat roads with hairpins and climbs of varying degrees. Finally, thanks to Google maps - I got a near off-road experience where it took me through a supposedly 10 mins faster route where a hilly road surface was peeled off with JCB for re-laying.

We had four adults and two kids - my father, mother, wife and two kids. Yes, it was slightly packed in rear but wasn't that bad and they had a comfortable journey.

We had heavy luggage too since we were travelling with kids. I found the boot space to be reasonable for my needs even though we packed more than normal. My mom even packed back-up food, water etc ( though we ended up stopping at restaurants for breaks ). Pic below

The first stretch of our journey was on a highway. As many BHPians pointed out earlier, Compass has excellent driving dynamics on the highway. The steering is rock stable and very predictable. Even if you hit a pothole at triple-digit speed, the car stays straight - the suspension is beautifully tuned. There is negligible body roll even when manoeuvring at high speeds [ it feels like driving a hatchback ]. RPM stays a little lower than 2000 even when the speed hits 100; the car keeps asking for more throttle and raring to go at higher speeds. At empty stretches, you will realise you hit 120 only due to the speed alarm.

In many portions of Kerala, TN highways there are intermittent signals which occasionally get crowded. This is where Compass Petrol DCT doesn't perform well. You just cannot do a drag race to stay in front of traffic when the signal turns green or when leaving toll booths. The car obeys only the gentle footed, no slamming the right pedal. You might even find smaller hatches moving ahead of you when you start from a signal [ but stay tight; the moment you reach slightly higher speeds, you are in a different league ].

When you enter city traffic too, you just need to practice being a calm driver. You cannot rush through traffic - the DCT won't find the right gear that you want it to be when rushing in cities.

As we entered the Ghat section near Sathymangalam forests, where there are 27 hairpin bends, Compass outperformed my expectations. I had lower expectations on the gearbox and was planning to manually use the auto stick to stay on lower gears. However, the car simply climbed steeper slopes without breaking a sweat ( for curves where I would otherwise be in first gear too, I can sense that it was climbing smoothly on second gear ). Time for pics from Sathyamangalam.

On some of these climbs where I parked, I had the auto park brake ON. However, I could feel the load on the stick when I was trying to move back to D, which ideally should not happen as the brakes are supposed to be engaged before P and as expected, auto park didn't disengage automatically since I was parked on a slope.

Pic from the forest area.

and somewhere just outside of forest ( nearing Mysore district ):

There were stretches of roads that were dusty as well. I had a JOPASU duster that I bought from Amazon. It came in handy to keep the car in good condition.

On the return travel, we decided to take more mountain/ forest routes and went via Bandipur-Mudumalai forests.

Lots of deers near to road ( you can see a few in the backdrop of the car ).

Driving in forests with a panoramic sunroof open is a good experience.

Roads within the Bandipur forest area were good ( though narrow ) and were a pleasure to drive on.

From there, we took the route to Wayanad - again lots of uphills and downhills. When I slow down during downhill drive, the DCT was down-shifting and I could sense smooth descent using engine brakes. Usually, my elderly parents get sick when driving through so many bends, but on Compass everyone seemed still fresh though it's been 7 hours since we started back from Mysore.

Pic taken near Thamaraserry hairpin bends.

Google maps did some mischief when we were in Kozhikode district, took us to some unpaved roads full of rocks with the promise of shortening travel time by 10 mins. And there you go, a near offroad experience on the same trip. One problem I faced is, that there is excessive torque steer and you need to be careful on your right foot when trying to climb uphill, especially when the road is full of rocks/ gravel.

It was a 15-hour journey back home, on the round-about route we chose. But, you never get tired of driving a Compass.

I finished 4000 kms with a 40 km non-highway trip with a higher FE. It was a relaxed cruise.

Speaking of mileage, the car ( rather, DCT ) is extremely sensitive to driving style. If you have a softer right foot, it gives FE above 10, but the moment you slam the accelerator, FE drops significantly even below 8. On an avg, I get around 10-11, with a mix of city and highway rides.

Ceramic coating: Manza Pro ceramic coating that I got from Jeep seems to be holding good after 25 washes. Posting some pictures below:

Initial wash ( actually second wash. I missed taking a pic of the first ) :

After 22nd wash: Took a video.

I use shampoo too intermittently. Bought "MEGUIAR'S Nxt Generation Car Wash pH Balanced Rich Lather Shampoo" from Amazon and it seems to be good.

Hill-start assist: The feature works reasonably well and is useful. However, my car porch has a slight incline ( not at all steep and the car won't roll back since the floor is cobblestone ) and I need to move the car back and forth a few times to get it out to the narrow road outside. Every time, I switch between R and D soon, the brakes kick in and I am dragging the vehicle in brakes.

It works when you switch from P-> D or R-> D. But most often in signals, I shift to N and when moving from N -> D, it won't kick in.

Driving in stop-go traffic: The auto start/ stop system kicks in too soon when you stop during traffic snarls. I usually feel bad for the battery and the turbo, when this happens. Sadly, we can't disable this feature permanently. You need to remember every time after starting your car to turn it off.

One positive side to this feature is, it might save the brakes when in signals as most people continue to be in D even for prolonged stops.

I usually turn it off after starting the car and be on N when in signals.

Experiment on an extreme incline: I had once tested how the car performs on an extreme incline ( usually we won't find such steep inclines during normal driving ). When starting slower on such a steep incline, I could see the car was not revving higher and the engine stalled. However, the car didn't roll back ( I didn't apply brakes ). Within a second, the engine spurred back with a jerk and revved higher and its 160+ horses pushed the car up. My initial assumption was that DCT didn't downshift and it was in 2nd gear ( usually it switches to 2nd pretty soon ).

On the next attempt, I switched to manual mode and kept in 1st gear and attempted the same slope. To my surprise, the same scenario repeated. It didn't rev high enough to produce the power and the engine stalled. Within a second, it spurred back into action and revved higher to push the car up.

AC: I think, the cars two-segment lower cools faster than Compass's AC. To get the same cooling effect I got with 23degree setting in Verna, I have to use 21-degree setting in Compass.

Alloys/ Tyres: 18-inch stock alloys are primarily for the looks of the vehicle. The sidewall thickness is not good enough for offroading. You will have to downsize the alloys to R17 to avoid bent alloys in the longer run. More importantly, there are no AT tyres available in the market that fits stock size : 225/ 55 R18, even if you wish to use AT tyres to improve the looks of your vehicle.

Slight increase in tyre pressure increases the bumpiness of the ride. Anything greater than 35 psi will make the ride bumpy.

I had to do alignment only once within 4000 kms. I did it before taking the long drive.

Android Auto and Car Play: The wireless Android Auto and Car Play work pretty well. I use one iPhone and another Android phone and the experience is limited to the app we use. For instance, Google maps work better on Android Auto, whereas Amazon Music works better on Car Play.

Wireless Android Auto and CarPlay drain the battery significantly when using the navigation or any apps that stream data to the uconnect system. For long drives, remember to carry the charger.

Connnected Car Tech: The connected car features are enabled through Jeep Life application which is activated using IMEI number of the hardware available in the car. The connected car system seems to be premature when compared to what FCA offers in other markets like the US. It has basic features for remote lock, unlock, blinker, honk etc and you can track your vehicle.

Compass has inbuilt GPS, but I found the sampling frequency to be low. It updates your location only once in a while ( maybe based on distance or time interval - not sure of that ). The car has a SIM ( not sure if it's eSIM ) with a data connection. However, in my experience, the data connection definitely is not 4G or even 3G. Seems to be standard GPRS speed which makes the experience terrible. You issue a command to lock or even try to fetch the location of the car, and it takes ages to get you that.

Their server infrastructure too doesn't seem to have adequate capacity and it's extremely slow. You will realise it right from the time you log in. No wonder FCA is mute about the subscription plan for these features. Maybe once they are ready, they might activate more features and demand a subscription fee.

USB and 12 V ports: I am happy with the USB ports ( A and C types ) in front. It charges your phones or laptops pretty fast. However, there is only one 12 V port which is at the rear. Maybe it's based on a trend that all phone chargers cables are now USB compatible. So far, I never had to use a 12v port. I had been searching for good dashcams ( but most good ones I found use 12 V port and not USB ).

Cruise Control: Very rarely we will get to use this feature. But, I wasn't too comfortable staying on cruise control for long during highway rides as I felt I am not in control of the vehicle. The primary reason for this is your right foot movement from the accelerator pedal to the brake works on reflex. But when your right foot is on the floor, I am not confident if I will get the reflex action to apply brakes for all the unexpected events we face on Indian highways.

Manual gear shifts: It's hard to shift gears manually, due to the position of the manual controls and the operation confuses me. The transmission doesn't give any better feeling than using automatic, hence I am not much motivated to use it.

Gear position when in D: There is no display that says which gear the vehicle is in when you are in Automatic mode. The only workaround is to switch to manual during the drive and it displays the current gear.

Rain-sensing wipers: I really don't know when and how it activates though I have enabled it in uconnect. In one of the wiper settings, it automatically increases or decreases the speed based on the intensity of rain ( but I prefer to do it manually ). I have noticed rear wiper has automatically turned on ( based on the wiper marks ), but I failed to notice the scenario. I assume it turned on ( one flick ) when I reversed during rain.

Steering mounted control for FM: You cannot switch channels of FM stations using the steering mounted controls. Every time you try to toggle the station using the left bottom steering mounted control, it just Tunes the next FM station and does not really switch to the next preset station.

DRLs: I didn't find any option to turn it OFF.

AC air intake from outside: Even if you enable the Recirculation option, the AC automatically takes air from outside after every 25 minutes of operation [ which is a good thing to maintain oxygen level ]. However, sometimes these 25 minutes might fall in places where there is dust, smoke or odour. It has occurred to me many times. If there was a manual override for this 25 mins air intake, it would have been better.

Mats: As I mentioned earlier, I got rid of the stock premium mats within a month as it's not suited for Indian conditions and ordered 3D Maxpider Kagu Mats directly. It seems to be good for rough use. Some pics below. Even when it's dirty, it's easy to clean.

My next milestone is the 5k first service schedule. I will keep posting any major updates in this forum. Thanks very much for taking the time in reading through my experience.

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