India's fascination with Jeep goes back to the early days of the vehicle from the World War II. The first models to be shipped to India are still owned with pride in Kerala.
Jeep is not just an offroader. It is a symbol of status and power. Jeep carried police officers and even district collectors even a few decades ago. Even now Jeep is the face of the government machinery in the street.
Mahindra & Mahindra made Jeep popular in India. The first Jeeps were imported from the Willys Overland Motors in the United States but Mahindra soon started manufacture the vehicles under their own brand. Jeep carried the Mahindra brand in India since the trademark Willys and Jeep names could not be used.
Chip off the old block
Jeep has undergone a complete overhaul in its latest sortie in India. The Willys company was wound up in 1963. After a series of ownership changes Jeep is coming to India as Fiat. The Italian company is the present owner of the iconic US Brand.
Jeep has not changed a bit though. Fiat did not want to meddle with the beast’s character. Though Fiat has lent its own engine and some components, the original suspension and the four wheel drive mechanism continue to be American.
The sturdy Jeeps married modernity and car-like luxury to give birth to two models in 2007. Compass and Patriot became major hits in the crossover market. The second-generation Compass from 2017 has made its debut in India.
The earlier Jeep models in India were Cherokee and Grand Cherokee. They were prohibitively costly. Compass, however, is easily accessible at Rs 16 lakh and upwards. Jeep Compass has sold more than 25,000 vehicles in India in less than a year.
Compass, however, is not a far cry from Cherokee. It is in fact a smaller version of Cherokee. Though Compass looks bigger, it is actually just a wee bit bigger than Hyudai Creta. It comes with the Jeep grill, projector head lamp, a console housing LED daytime running lamp and fog lamp. The muscular wheel arches, shoulder line and 17 inch alloy wheels add to the looks.
Car in a jeep
The new Jeep is better than a car when it comes to comfort, thanks to the priorities of Fiat. The interiors are car-like. Dials and knobs give a European touch. The chrome finish and piano black inserts stand out. The steering wheel is mounted with controls to the MID display in the metre console.
The music system can be accessed by the controls fitted beneath the steering wheel. The dual tone climate controls and seven inch touchscreen infotainment system and rear A/C vents are added features. The hand brake is just a switch.
Jeep Compass is filled with features. They include six airbags, ABS, EPS, traction control, hill hold assist control and four wheel drive.
The Fiat oomph
Jeep comes with petrol and diesel engine options. The automatic models are in petrol. Both are multijet engines from Fiat. The 2 litre turbo diesel engine ensures 173 PS power and 350 Nm torque. The 1.4 litre petrol engine gives 163 PS power and 250 Nm torque.
The gear shift is incredibly smooth and designed to allow you equal mastery over city roads and highways. The Jeep holds its sway even if it crosses 100 kilometres/hour. Jeep can be handled well even at top speed. Brakes are excellent. The manufacturers promise fuel efficiency of 17.1 kilometres per litre.
Various models come with price tags between Rs 15.20 lakh and Rs 21.95 lakh. For a test drive, call Deedi Motors at +91 99958 08106.