2021 Jeep Compass Model S: Purchase & ownership experience

Mercedes-Benz has mastered the art of seat adjustment; but south of Rs 35 lakhs, there are very few. The Jeep Compass is definitely one of them.

BHPian sheelapratosh recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Part 1

Every time one sets out to buy any material thing, the smart accountant inside wakes up and gives all suggestions to go for the most practical and economical option. The heart.. it is usually romantic in nature. It yearns for something. These two don’t get along. Never in history. Well.. this is one such encounter.

When my heart won over my brain about 10 years ago, I booked a Black XUV500 W8 without seeing one in flesh. The “leaked” image before the launch gave me the creeps. With bated breath, I watched the launch of the vehicle. I could not sleep that night as the display vehicle was going to be available only the following day. Driving my six-year-old Swift(which in itself was a heart-mind story), I reached the dealership to see the huge crowd. All it took was one look. I was sold on the idea. XUV500 entered my life.

For the next six to nine months, I made about 18 visits to the service centre My posts are there in the XUV500 niggles thread. You name it. I had that problem in the car. My head started flexing each time I went to the service Center. What can my heart do? Swallowing its huge ego, just kept quiet. It was like making a marriage work despite the difference of opinion. It worked eventually. After nine months, I don’t remember taking the vehicle to the Service Centre for any other issue other than the yearly service. The car served me very well. I have taken it on almost all types of roads.

Fast forward seven years, I started developing knee pain in my left leg - thanks to the clutch. Ended up buying a Celerio AMT for city use. Then for about a year, I don’t recall touching the XUV, except for a couple of highway trips.

Seeing it simply sit in the parking, one fine day went and sold my XUV to OLX. Strangely, none of my friends who knew how well I maintained the car came forward to buy. I would have spent a good 2 lacs on ICE upgrade alone. I think I sold it for a good 2 lacs lower than a private sale. Anyways.. that’s another story.

Then came the COVID world. Made the entire world re-think their priorities. Well, there starts my new purchase story.

Budget not being a major issue, I was looking for a safe car. The only other thought in my head was not to worry about getting an expensive car and keep thinking about the scratches and dents one would get from the Bangalore traffic. With Celerio on hand, there was some plan to use the small car for the city and the new car for.

Highway. My usage is about 15k per year.

So I started with Skoda Rapid. Specifically Rapid Rider Plus AT. I usually get my cars fully upgraded to the latest in audio gear ( Thanks to Evo Cars-Sathya Bangalore). So the plan was to get the bare minimum safe AT car and spruce it up the way I want. Of course- My head approved this plan. The only other car in consideration was the Vento twin. But Vento didn’t have a Rider equivalent. Did a couple of test drives. The 1.0 TSI was fun to drive. It would suffice my need for long drives too. Went and paid an advance. Around that time, the waiting time for the Rider variants shot up. Skoda stopped booking Rider around that time.

Took my advance back and went into hibernation.

After some time, went to a Kia showroom nearby. Actually liked the car. It ticked almost all that I was looking for, including a number of airbags. The only eyesore was the excess chrome in the front. Just above the bumper. Was also worried about the NCAP ratings. Then came my head. “Why should you spend about 8-9 lacs over a Rapid? For what? Just The looks? “

Enter hibernation again.

My friend was in the market for an SUV. His list was very short. Fortuner, Endeavour and Compass. I tagged along with him to all three places. He ended up buying a Fortuner. One thing was clear from these test drives. Both the Fortuner and Endeavour had quite a bit of body roll. Since I never sat in XUV’s back seat, I understood what my kids complained about. But strangely, the body roll was pronounced even in the front seat. I went in his new car for a couple of long drives. It was sufficient for me to rule out the Fortuner and Endeavour from my list.

Enter hibernation again.

After a couple of months, started reading about the Compass facelift. Really got excited. Followed it in our forum for a long time. My heart started commanding my head once again after 10 years. Paid an advance ahead of the launch.

Then came the launch and the shock. The prices were beyond what I thought. Enter the “wife”.

“Why do we need a fancy car? Didn’t we have an XUV? I like sedans. Please go back to Rapid and be done with your research. It’s taking a lot of time.”

“ But you know. How many more cars will we buy? Why don’t I go ahead with this?”

“Ok. What does it cost ?”

“ From about Rs 25 to Rs 35 lakh on road”

“ Your money. You decide. I am not entering the scene”

Those of you who are married - you know what that last statement means.

Did a couple of secret visits to the Jeep showroom and took a test drive of Petrol DCT. Was good enough. Sports trim was just not clicking. Denim strips in-dash and door pads were a no-no for me. Stepped into a Model S. Love at first sight. Guess it happened many times in my life

Took a test drive of Model S Petrol. Ticked all the boxes. Almost about 32.5, my head woke up once again. I started looking for negative reviews. After spending few days in our forum again, I kind of concluded that Petrol won’t work for me. I like my highway rides to be powerful. Did a test drive of Diesel Model S. That’s it.

Enter “wife” once again.

“ Seriously? Rs 36 lakh? I thought you started with 10. Why don’t you get a petrol DCT and change the fabric in some Stanley store?”

Hibernation again. I wasn’t ready to forget the Model S.

My daily walking route has a Tata showroom. Just walked in out of impulse one fine day. Liked the Harrier XZA+. Took a test drive. Ticked all boxes. Liked the dark edition. Took my wife to the Tata showroom. She took all of two minutes. “This looks and feels more or less like our XUV. Why do you want another big car?”

Pissed at this point.

Went into serious hibernation.

Two weeks ago, drove down to the Jeep showroom. Asked for my old service advisor.

He came by.

Reluctantly he asked “ Sir. Did the refund come thru?”

“ Well, it came. But I came here for some other reason. I want to book the car again.”

“ Sure sir?”

“ Yes, I am. Let’s go ahead and book a Model S Diesel 4x4 Black “

“ Sir we are getting a Model S(O2) in two days. I will make it available to you. “

Sent a picture to my son who is in a college hostel.

“ Here is our beast.”

One word answer “SEXY”

So, my heart seems more powerful than my head - Over and over again.

Part 2

Not a major experience itself.

I called up my son who was going to come home for the weekend from his college hostel.

“ Dude, can you come to the Jeep showroom on Inner ring road”

“ Again? For what now?”

“ Well, I kind of made up my mind on a trim. But I would like you to come and select the colour”

“ Anyways you will pick up the black colour. Why waste one trip there?”

“ Just one last time. Let’s go see the colours once”

He agreed reluctantly. He came to the showroom along with his friend. Both came straight from a football ground in the same gear. By the time I reached the showroom, the car was not ready for delivery.

“ Man looks like my sales guy is not around. Can you both go eat something light and come?”

The took 20 minutes to come back. By then my Jeep came. The sales guy explained the basics. Got my signature on a couple of forms and handed over the keys.

Yes.. the customary photo as well. I got into the car and waited for my son. Hoping to see a surprise reaction.

He comes back. Sees the black car outside the showroom. Walks up straight to the window.

“ Dad. I am 19 now. Don’t you think I would have guessed it the moment you asked me to come to the showroom?”

Guess I am getting old.

Part 3

As expected, the new vehicle was not very comfortable to drive. I was just taking in the experience itself. Since the delivery was in the evening at around 7 pm, Bangalore roads started getting crowded. Thanks to the improvement in COVID situation, lots of cars are hitting the road these days.

Somehow I was unable to gauge the size of the car on either side during the night traffic.

Half of it was the fear from driving along with the Two-wheeler and Rickshaw colleagues. Some of it was the fear of driving a brand new car. The rest of it was my inability to get a hang of the driving dynamics. After an hour in traffic, reached home.

Struggled a bit to park in the basement. But parked. Both the times during traffic and in parking, 360-degree camera was very useful.

As a weekend outing, I booked a one night stay in a nearby resort. As a family we started at around 9 am and started towards the resort - which requires some 15-20km highway driving.

Since it’s pretty much day 2, I thought I will take it lightly when it comes to testing the car. The ride was good. Since it was mostly on good roads, nothing much to write. But, Every time I reached 50, I got this annoying bell which went on for some time. Was not happy. I was told the alert will one at 80 and 120. But 50? This happened multiple times. Eventually, we reached the resort.

Rear seat passengers were happy. They didn’t feel the “rolling” experience of XUV. Neither did they feel every single imperfection of the Bangalore roads. They were happy.

After checking into the resort and spending some time there, I wanted to go back to the car and explore the instrument panel. Wanted to choose the right display type to my liking.

Fiddling around with the options, I came across my eureka moment. The speedometer was set to “mph” instead of “kph”. Guess by now you know why I got the warning bell at 50? If not, DM me. I will send the formula for conversion.

Promptly set it back to kph.

Went back to the room and disclosed this. My son said, “ How can they set it to Mph? Isn’t this India?”

Point taken. Some feedback I should give to the dealership.

The wife was quiet for some time. Then goes, “ So you were at 80 in those crowded roads? What’s wrong with you?”

I don’t think one should disclose all information at all times to everyone. Sometimes it is best left undisclosed.

After returning home the next day, my close buddy - who is the owner of a Scorpio and Fortuner wanted to do a test drive in my new car.

Of course, I had to oblige. In the first half, he was in the passenger seat. Second half he drove the car.

I don’t have anything against the Scorpio or Fortuner owners.

But he spent about 20 minutes appreciating almost all aspects of the car starting from fit and finish to the drive quality. Especially the absence of body roll.

“ Why didn’t you take me to the Jeep showroom when I was in the market three years ago?

“ You forgot man. I took you. You looked at Limites, Trailhawk etc”

“ Not sure. but the interiors were not that good then?”

“ Maybe. This is the 2021 facelift. But why do you ask now?”

“ I would have picked up Compass than my Fortuner”

Disclaimer: This is just his statement. Not my view.

Took the car straight to Carsbuddy in Koramangala. I can’t let any sort of minor scratches in this car now. Folks at Carsbuddy did a wonderful job and did a complete PPF coverage. I liked the workmanship. The owner took special care to do the final inspection and handed over the fully decked up beast. Fyi. After my search and research, I found that these guys are the only exclusive xPel PPF installers for Karnataka. (Message me for any contact info).

Part 4

What I liked - [ So far ]

  • Driver seat: I am 6’ tall. My first requirement was a good driver seat with correct thigh support. I say “correct” as too much of it or too little of it makes the drive pathetic. The Mercs - they seem to have mastered the art of seat adjustments at a whole new level. But south of 35 lacs, there are very few. Compass model S definitely aces this department with Memory seats, lumbar support and all kinds of adjustments. I could find “the” sweet spot.
  • Rear seat: While this is not as comfortable as the driver seat, it was very good. In fact for anyone less than 5’11”, it would be perfect. The taller you are, some very minor discomfort. More on this later.
  • Sunroof: This is the first car I bought that has a sunroof. I have been a big opponent of the sunroof for a long time. But this car changed my opinion. It is very nice during night drives. I am sure it will be very nice during my trips to my homeland - The Nilgiris(Ooty for starters)
  • Power: This diesel mill has enough power. While it’s not as zippy as some of the test drives I had done in BMW and Audi, it fulfils my needs.
  • 360-degree camera: Found this to be super useful on many occasions.
  • ICE: Icing on the cake - the 10” screen and the crispy and zippy display are just perfect. Since I got a Model S(O2), it came with a higher memory for the head unit and integrated maps. I usually use Apple CarPlay for my music. Since we have access to lossless audio these days, I mostly listen only to lossless audio songs. The speaker tuning in this amplified Alpine music system is very good. But not “Audiophile” good. But good. Good highs, good mediums and ok low frequency. Tried to play around with the equaliser. Somehow got 80-85% of what I would get in my custom builds. But I will not upgrade this system.
  • Fit and finish: I really love the fit and finish inside out. With a proper mix of leather, soft-touch plastic, glossy synthetic finishes, you can fit and finish a notch above. The same applies to exterior elements as well. The gunmetal finish in the front is the kind of understated style I prefer.
  • Ventilated seats with multiple fan settings. I had no clue I would ever use this option. But I did use it on Day 2 and found the feature to be awesome.

Not so good:

  • Seating height: this may be my own making. But I prefer to sit at a slightly higher height. For my height, I found my head touching the ceiling. So, had to settle for an optimum height.
  • Subwoofer sound quality: I like punchy bass. The fact that the subwoofer is placed on one side of the luggage compartment makes it physically difficult for any audio set up to produce the right bass. There is ample bass. But not the 40-60Hz kind of bass.
  • Dead pedal: Surprisingly the dead pedal angle was not right. Not sure if it’s just me (or) the angle itself. My car came with rubber floor mats. Not sure if the added rubber(which covers the dead pedal too) is causing the issue.
  • Boot space: I would have preferred a bit bigger boot. Nevertheless, it is ok.
  • Struggling to find a spot to keep my religious idol. For now, it’s kept close to the instrument cluster. When I tried some sharp turns on empty roads, I found the idol moving from one end to the other.

The gods must be crazy now.

I shall update my first road trip experience in a couple of weeks as an extension to this post.

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