Iconic American brand – Jeep had launched the Compass in India a few years ago, and it left buyers impressed in more ways than one; it is a product Jeep India is very proud of, for it looks rugged, is hugely capable, has been priced competitively and is offered with a range of petrol and diesel engines. Now, it may be smaller than the Toyota Fortuner, but with its renowned Jeep characteristic traits, will it have the reliable and spacious Fortuner bowled over?
The looks department
While the Compass looks like a baby Grand Cherokee with its boxy proportions, signature six-slate grille and sharp design cues, the Fortuner’s styling seems to have been inspired by Lexus’s cars. It gets sharp, angular headlights, a V-shaped, three-slat chrome grille and a high-set bumper and bonnet. The front and rear fenders are mildly flared, while the rear boasts of slender tail lights joined by a band of chrome. Now the Compass may look more handsome with its crisp lines, compact silhouette and flared wheel arches, but it’s the Fortuner that carries more road presence, thanks to its don’t-mess-with-me stance.
In the lap of luxury?
Both cabins are well built and finished, and the quality of plastics leaves no room for nit-picking, except a few hard plastics on the Fortuner. The dashboard in the Toyota Fortuner is well put together and detailed, and the view from the driver’s seat allows for a good view of the road. The front and rear seats offer plenty of support, and there is ample legroom and headroom. There are some leather-wrapped bits like the upper half of the glovebox and instrumentation hood. The dual-tone dashboard and white upholstery in the Compass give one the impression of an upmarket feel. Soft-touch materials are a pleasant surprise, and this is where the Compass scores over the Fortuner. The seats in the Compass too, are generously bolstered, but it’s the Fortuner that offers more space.
The Fortuner gets a powered tailgate with memory function for opening height, rear air-con vents, 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, Eco and Power drive modes, auto climate control, LED daytime-running lamps, keyless entry and go, paddle shifters and cruise control, reverse camera, electric adjust and retractable wing mirrors, one-touch-tumble second row seats, automatic LED projector headlamps, ABS, stability control, seven airbags, hill descent control and hill-hold assist
Power for the road
We’re in the Jeep Compass that gets a BS6-compliant 2.0-litre Multijet ll diesel engine that churns out 171bhp and 350Nm of torque, mated to a ZF-derived 9-speed torque converter automatic transmission. The engine is much more refined than before, and you can hardly hear the clatter from the engine in the cabin. Power delivery is smooth and linear, but when the transmission holds on to the revs, the engine tends to get vocal. Acceleration is rather gradual, but you will get to three-digit speeds easily. At low speeds, the Compass rides over bad roads with aplomb, and the ride remains flat at high speeds. Thanks to the light steering, it is easy to drive in the city. The Fortuner’s 2.8-litre diesel motor is the more powerful of the two engines here, making 174bhp and 420Nm of torque. The Fortuner too, feels refined and the engine is more responsive than the Compass’; it also feels comparatively light on its wheels. The Fortuner and the Compass are good at overtaking, but the Fortuner’s motor has more grunt, and the surge of power is more instantaneous. The gearbox in the Fortuner isn’t as responsive as the one in the Compass, but when it comes to bad roads, the Fortuner simply crushes pot holes.
Summing it up
It is tough not to recommend the Compass, for it comes with good comfort levels, has a long list of equipment and is dynamically sorted, but it’s the bullet-proof reliability, the spacious interior and the more premium vibe the Fortuner provides that makes it the better bet here.