Fun-to-drive car under 20L: A Jeep Compass or something else?

Currently, I am driving a pre-owned, 2013 petrol automatic Honda City. It has served me well with its rock-solid reliability and incredible value proposition.

BHPian shobhit.shri recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I am making this post to generate ideas for my next car purchase. Please bear with me as I am also not sure what I want

Currently, I am driving a pre-owned, 2013 petrol automatic Honda City. It has served me well with its rock-solid reliability and incredible value proposition. I bought it just before the pandemic, so I didn't have to drive much.

The itch now is that since we have started traveling, I am bored to tears of this car. I am especially tired of its boat-like movement on Bangalore's roads where you can feel its yaw, pitch, and roll individually, and sometimes even all of them at the same time. I am so miffed; I am not even looking at sedans this time. Fun speeds on open highways are also not an option. As my wife once remarked jokingly, a car named “City” shouldn't mean to be taken to the “Highway”!

Now, the constraint is that I can't spend more than 20L. It also means I am fine if I use it for the next 3 years/30000 KM. Not only that, I am not too worried about depreciation and mileage too. Maintenance should be predictable and within reasonable limits, but more than that, I can't afford any wait, hassle, or the sinking feeling of owning a ticking time bomb. I think these criteria eliminate all luxury or more than 5 years/50K driven cars. However, I am not in a rush and can definitely wait a few more months for a car so good; it forces my lazy self to go outdoors.

In my initial research, a used Jeep Compass seems to fit the bill. Its test drive blew me away. The car is very, very sorted mechanically. I loved its German car-like handling and driving dynamics. It seems perfect for Bangalore roads with its multi-link, independent suspensions. The space is small, but we can live with it. Yes, and I need “The” panoramic sunroof. My family thinks, and I—reluctantly—agree, that the car is so small inside that it might feel claustrophobic without a sunroof. Obviously, the kid also has a vote, and it has been cast firmly in favor of the sunroof. I test-drove a manual version too, but halfway into it, I realized I am a convert to AT. Though GTO's rating of 7/10 for diesel AT is playing in my mind, I think if I have to let go of one thing, this could be it. I am not *that* keen an enthusiast.

As you can see, the first feedback I require is whether I am asking too much for too little money?

I checked and seems that a 2019 Limited Plus Diesel AT compass fits my requirements well. However, I need a few ideas to explore:

  • How is the compass's long-term reliability and maintenance pattern? I will try not to compare it with the City.
  • What other cars should I look at? I am sure I missed quite a few good contenders.
  • How does the search for a specific model work? I am checking Spinny/Cars24/Olx/Team-BHP classifieds. Anything else I should check?
  • I am aware that I might have already decided on the compass, but just looking for validation. Still, please go ahead and help a brother out.

Here's what GTO had to say on the matter:

Love these used fun-to-drive car threads .

The Compass Diesel AT is good & fun. The AT does the job and isn't a deal-breaker, but this varies from person to person. Just ensure you take a long test-drive and that you are okay with the AT's behaviour.

Other cars I'd recommend to you:

  • 3rd-gen Octavia - all the info you need is here (Pre-worshipped car of the week : Used Skoda Octavia (3rd-gen)). Other than the DSG (issue with the petrol, not so much with the diesel), I don't see any deal breaker with this car.
  • BMW 3-Series - More reliable than you'd expect & certainly more reliable than the Octavia or perhaps even the Compass. But you should still be prepared to shell out money from time to time to keep her in top shape. No cutting corners with these cars.

Here's what BHPian IshaanIan had to say on the matter:

Although this seems like the perfect case for a used Octavia or even a Laura that you can throw money at with suspension upgrades, you have mentioned that you're looking for an SUV I am not sure that a Compass would equal "predictable" maintenance (there are a few horror stories on our forum itself). Why not consider something like a Honda CR-V instead? It would be a lot more reliable, and if you go for an older generation model, you might even have some spare change to upgrade the suspension with

Here's what BHPian asit.kulkarni.93 had to say on the matter:

The Octavia TDi AT should fit in your requirements easily. I know every review talks about how the diesel AT misses out on the multilink suspension but it's not a deal breaker like it's portrayed. I drive a Laura and have driven the octy diesel on numerous occasions. Definitely not a deal breaker for regular use or even aggressive driving. If you are still keen on the independent suspension at the rear, try looking for a 2016-17 superb TDi AT or the Tiguan comfortline.

Here's what BHPian sunikkat had to say on the matter:

Low run Octavia TDI makes perfect case for you. Unless you take sharp turns back to back in Octavia TSI and TDI you would not find difference in the suspension set up. But at slow speed TDI is more stiffer than TSI and hence the high speed stability on straight is also better in TDI.

If you still want better performance, upgrade the suspension. Mine is running on B6 and I can tell you the handling, high speed stability is just top notch. This coming from a person whose previous car was Fiesta 1.6s (obviously no comparison on steering feel though, 1.6s was out of this world)

Car is super reliable (not a single breakdown in 7 years and 75k kms), very practical and versatile. Stock itself is faster than most of the cars under 50 lakhs and a simple stage 1 transforms completely.

If SUV is a definite requirement suggest you look for a Compass or Tiguan TDI, though Tiguan might be hard to find at 20 lakhs in Bangalore.

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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