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Replacing my Ford Fiesta with a used Jeep Compass 4x4

The car handles really well for its size. I was in the ghat section towards Lonavala and I could feel the weight of the car in the corners. Sure footed, planted feel with minimal body roll.

BHPian adneeraj recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Beyond a certain point in life, buying a new car isn't as much a "need-based" decision. You just fancy something for so long that you give in to you're wants at some point. Of course, other things permitting.
Enough of drooling, I want my own... that's what you say.

And there's always some trigger. Mine was a relative booking a new Skoda Kushaq. Not just for this plain reason. My wife and I were having a casual discussion over a coffee when she said "You just keep saying you'd buy a good one. This guy went ahead and got one already. In fact, he's changed 3 cars while you've owned One."

Wasn't really triggering, but got me thinking:

I had got the Fiesta Classic for:

  • its handling,
  • safety (ensured I got the Titanium with ABS, EBD and Airbags) and
  • the purpose (we wanted a car that could swallow a week's luggage for our small family when doing long distances).
  • the price point I got all this for - 8.58 lacs on road in 2014.

The Fiesta wasn't at all a bad car. It hadn't given up on me even once. We only had wonderful memories with this car. But lack of power, NVH, space and comfort were the popping factors when it came to long distance drives. I tried to overcome the power factor by adding a RaceDynamics box but it developed an injector issue - quite possibly a software issue because when I removed the box, the car ran without any issues for another (last) 20k kms of my ownership. But I never bothered to follow up with RD team on this.

It wasn't really a comfortable car to do cross country - and we had done a couple of trips to Gujarat and MP within a span of 4 months that emphasized on this.

Memories rushed in - the moment when I decided to go for the Fiesta (Classic) even when I knew it was to be discontinued within a year in 2014. I'd still rate it as the only car (going out on a limb here) to give a 3 series level handling this side of Rs 10 lakhs.

My work profile and then the pandemic put serious brakes on the way the Fiesta could gather miles. It had covered only 61k kms in my total 7 years of ownership. SHAME!

But, I was able to take this car to some great trips - did Pune-Ooty, Goa (4 times in 4 years), Dandeli, Gujarat, MP and not to mention a few trips around Pune within MH. Wonderful memories. I only realized compiling this thread that I do not click a lot of pictures of my car.

Here are a few I managed to pick from my timeline for a collage.

The Hunt:

The casual discussion had me looking at the Kushaq the very next day at a Skoda showroom. It was launched not many days ago. Courteous staff, readily showed me the vehicle, offered a test drive - I wasn't impressed on multiple levels. The quality of plastics used to start with, the power available on offer AND the dismal FE it demonstrated when I drove it a bit spirited on the highway. It gave me a scare considering current petrol prices. I was fine with the size. Price to size is not a concern for me and I don't really believe in that. After a thorough inspection, I had decided that it wasn't the car for me. It didn't excite me. Also, the lack of 6 airbags on the auto variant was a bummer.

I have a Sales Rep from VW who's been a good friend since 2016 when I had booked (and canceled the Polo TSI). Rung him up to get an idea on the Taigun and how it fares with the Kushaq. Taigun wasn't launched then.

But he had driven the car and told me it is "not the VW levels of quality we've come to know". I was really put off.

I checked a Honda City, Verna as well but they didn't make sense at all. Honda seemed to have skimmed on quality big time. Skinny tires, flimsy sheet metal were major put offs. Verna felt tad better in comparison. But, there wasn't much sense in getting another sedan in almost the same category. The Civic wasn't available anymore.

Shortlisted cars and why they were rejected

  • Kushaq: rejected for not being a Skoda primarily, lack of power in the 1.0 and non-VFM pricing of the 1.5, 6 airbags not on auto variant.
  • Taigun: rejected for similar reasons. Let down on quality mainly.
  • Honda City: just another sedan, meh!
  • Hyundai Verna: another unexciting example, but feature loaded for the price point.
  • Ford Ecosport: was a strong contender when I was looking at the Fiesta but I did not have the budget then. It is a pretty old timer on the Indian roads now and I was also not interested in a "fun size" package during thi purchase.
  • Hyundai Creta: The facelift was radical for me. I couldn't see myself owning a car that I did not like. Never visited the showroom.
  • Kia Seltos: Apart from the poor safety rating, I actually did not like it because of its dashboard design that has a huge tablet running across. Although more and more car designs are moving towards that, it felt like a child's fantasy more and car less to me.

Note that all these cars were available in my budget in the mid-spec variant and not the top of the line. Hence, even more underwhelming.

I realized that I needed a good upgrade. A few cars that I've listed were in the ~10-12 lakhs category about a decade ago. seems like 20 lakhs is the new 10 lakhs.

The only cars that I was excited by looking/driving were some expensive (relative here) ones like the Octavia, Superb, Karoq, TROC, Jeep Compass.

Given we had just got a house less than a year ago and had blown a sizeable amount on interiors, my wallet was already bruised. I knew a budget north of 15 lacs would just not be possible. I had a choice - shelve plans of buying a new car OR check out the used car market.

That's when I casually started surfing used car websites just to see what 15 lacs can get me. It is crazy out there if you haven't decided what you want.

I saw everything from a used Brezza that had less than 7k on the odo, a mint condition Ecosport with about 12k on the odo, a few Dusters with decent mileage, 1st gen Creta (the facelifts were hard to come by really), VW Vento, Jetta, Octavia, Honda City, Verna AND then, some Merc A, B class, BMW X1 (pre-facelift), Audi Q3 from 2013-14, a Volvo D40, and the list can go on - you get the drift - basically every car in varying age and mileage was there for the taking with that money!

My shortlisted preowned cars. You can see how the choices tilt towards the Germans.

  • Jeep Compass - had always liked the car since it was launched. Punchy diesel, matured looks, good interiors - the top of the line have leather in the color I really love. Many shy away considering the added maintenance.
  • Skoda Octavia - I was okay with the diesel as well as a 1.8 TSI. The examples I was able to scout for had been driven 75k+ kms and failure of the DSG was always a concern.
  • VW Jetta - capable car but discontinued. I had scouted one from TBHP classifieds as well - neat example. But also heard from a friend who owns one that spares were late to come by.
  • VW Tiguan: hard to come by as many are still holding on to their purchases. I wasn't able to find good ones with fewer kms on its odo. Good ones listed were almost at 24 lacs asking price.
  • Karoq and TROC were fairly new to be able to spot one on the used car market.

Having a Hyundai already at home, I wasn't too keen on getting another. Hence, the Tucson was ruled out.

Another coffee table discussion and we agreed we needed a car with higher GC. Bad roads were quite a deterrent and we have plenty around Pune. The Fiesta scraped it's mud flaps with average load at the society entrance gate bump! This is the usual (slightly plump) black yellow fabricated ones. Bad roads unsettled the car way too easily and the 14" did not help much.

I remembered how I had taken a Jeep Compass test drive the week it was launched in 2017 and I was hooked. Did not feel the need to change then as the Fiesta was only 4 years old then AND the Compass was a little too expensive for me at that time - it was this time as well. LOL!

Not that I did not try to scout for the other cars listed, but a test drive in a Compass that I checked in Pune again reminded me that I wouldn't want to go for a sedan this time. The Octavia and the Jetta were immediately out of race.

Some quick searches for Pune region listed some 7-8 examples of Jeep Compass. Most of them Longitude/Longitude (O) 4x2.

I checked 3 of them that fulfilled the age-kms-condition criteria and came back disappointed - main reasons being the condition they were in, the odo reading and the asking price did not really match up. Abused and unattended in my standards.

That's when I decided to check around Pune. Narrowed down on 2 Compass' on offer in Mumbai region - both Limited, one 4x4. They were available at a dealer and the asking price was decent. Both cars looked in great nick. NIL to no body damages, full service history available. Another huge plus was that it had license plates from my RTO. It was a leasing company owned car and was maintained really well. Its service history detail was accurate as I cross verified it with the dealership in my city.

After much deliberation with myself, I decided to go take a look. A quick ~2 hour drive to Mumbai from Pune in rains (bliss!) and I was looking at the shortlisted cars. Not to mention the fun I had in the Fiesta enroute.

The Test Drive:

The 4x4 ticked all the right boxes, budget mainly. The other was a Limited Plus - relatively newer, lesser kms on the odo and the asking price was about 3 lacs above what I could afford - had to let that thought go.

Drove the 4x4 for about 20 odd kms and was happy with the way it drove. No funny things noticed right away. That said, the car was out of warranty and I requested the dealer to send the car to Landmark Jeep for a thorough inspection that I would pay for.

Dealer agreed and the car was sent to the service center. I had coordinated with the service center guys to get the first hand report to me - stressing on any expected upcoming expenditure. I had already made it clear to the dealer that I will walk away from the car if there was a looming expense like a clutch/high pressure pump. OR that the dealer negotiate the price accordingly.

Landmark Jeep green signalled the car confirming it was in top shape with no work needed. The dealer agreed to do a full 4th year service as it was anyway due. The cabin air filter and brake fluid changes were not done as the car had done a mid-schedule run to the service station for change of tires and brake pad when this was done.

The dealer offered to exchange the Fiesta with him and offered me a competitive market price for my lovingly maintained car. I was getting about 10k more with a certain online portal but I decided against it. For one, it saved me the hassle of finding a ride to Mumbai. Taking an Ola/Uber was ruled out considering the pandemic. The other factor going for this same dealer was that he was ready to set off the price against the Compass - that brought down my immediate outflow.

I asked the dealer for a week to arrange the funds, shook hands and I enjoyed the drive back from Mumbai with a hot tea break after Khalapur toll. I still wasn't sure I wanted to get a used car. Was smitten by the Compass though.

Dilemma:

I had put up a thread requesting feedback  as I really thought 15 lacs was big money to plonk on something out of warranty considering there were new cars available - none of them pulling a string in my heart. Got a 60-40 result in favor of the Compass.

Interestingly, another thread has a favor ratio of 78-22 for the Compass! I wonder if the voter population overlapped on this one. Results were quite drastic for a similar question a few months apart.

Resolution:

Deliberation with friends and the inputs received, it was clear to me that I shouldn't spend money on something I won't like.

Fiesta was a heart over head decision and that didn't go wrong! I was getting this very Jeep Compass.

Wife wasn't happy and convinced getting a used car. But she supported and asked me to go with the purchase if I was sure.

Don't we all love it when things fall in place? I got the funds arranged, gave a call to the dealer, fixed a date for exchange. Carried all documents as per our checklist for buying and selling - who knew I'd do both in the same transaction!

I spotted a Jeep Compass in my RVM enroute Mumbai. What a coincidence. You actually start looking for relation in otherwise unrelated things in such circumstances.

The Compass was home!

A few shots of the Compass - these are not edited! It stands at 3 years - 56200 kms on the odo on the day I got her.

I realized this was my second American brand after the Ford only when a friend pointed it out.

4x4 comes as a bonus. I haven't got a chance to engage this yet. I plan to join the jeep forums and get involved whenever I can. Son showing interest in driving (he's just 6 and half), I can take him along for him to explore.

Doors open wide. Ingress is okay for most. Doesn't have a step to hop in like the MUVs/LoF SUVs.

Rear AC vents are decent. the USB port here attaches to the HU. 2 phones cannot be connected simultaneously though.

More than sufficient leg room in the rear. Under-thigh support is good. 5th occupant can only be a kid. 3 adults are not happy over longer durations. Why do I care!!

Good overall visibility. You're set high up. It is a different feeling coming to this view from a sedan. You can see far and long.

Functional dashboard. Nothing overwhelming in design. But there are plenty of soft touch materials used that make the car "feel" its price. The quality of the hard materials are good too.

The HU is smaller than what I would have expected. I will check at the service center if the 8" HU from the Limited Plus is a direct fit.

I liked that the glove box has a soft-open effect and does not just drop down when opened. Space inside is average. Fiesta was able to swallow 4 pairs of sunglasses with its cases, car documentation, paper tissues box and hold my phone when connected to carplay - and still have space for a small pack of chips. This can do half of it.

Good width seats, finding a comfortable position is quite easy. This seat has a pressure sensor that rings the seatbelt reminder. I don't have to be the villain asking to belt up now

My son was as excited while checking out this Compass as he was sad letting the Fiesta go. He actually cried for a few minutes on the way back home.

Good bye to the Fiesta. It was a sad feeling indeed.

The drive back home was overwhelming - the power on tap, the "different" driving dynamics and a weird but satisfying feeling of having owned a car that was at least 2 segments above my Fiesta.
The drive until Lonavala was spent getting used to the car. But I thoroughly enjoyed the car later after that. Parents were actually delighted to see a preowned car maintained this well and was all smiles - they only knew I was getting one.

I'm still coming to terms and acceptance that I've got the car. Guess it would take a while to sink in. But I'm okay with that. I'm in no hurry.

My Driving Experience:

  • High seating position: you just see so much more than what you can from a sedan.
  • Suspension and tires: 17" alloys with Pirelli tires - super quiet ride, bad roads are non existent to the car. Only deep and sharp bumps are felt inside. I liked that I don't have to slow down on minor undulance on the highways and roads.
  • Ground clearance: 188 mm unladen I suppose. This is far more than my Fiesta. I do not have to think/worry when taking the car off the road on narrow patches to let vehicles pass. That said, the low wind deflector strip brushes in basement parking ramps at times. Haven't felt it as a major problem.
  • Driving dynamics: The car handles really well for its size. I was in the ghat section towards Lonavala and I could feel the weight of the car in the corners. Sure footed, planted feel with minimal body roll.
  • Power: Plenty here. The drive from Mumbai had me getting used to the car. But a recent Satara drive up the Khambatki showed what the car is capable of doing. The car climbed the entire stretch in 3rd-4th gear in full load without a problem - I cannot imagine the Fiesta doing that.
  • Driver seat adjustments are plenty. You can find a comfortable position in no time. Steering adjusts for rake and reach.
  • Builds speed without a fuss. You can know you're going fast only by looking at your IRVM/ORVM. The traffic behind you looks like a dot in no time on an open stretch.
  • Great braking ability too. Grippier tires and 4 discs certainly do their job effectively.
  • Clutch travel: All good points listed, I felt that the clutch pedal was a bit too high for comfort. Takes getting used to.

What I absolutely loved:

  • Leather everywhere. I love leather. Love the fact that this is NOT Leatherette or vegan leather.
  • Interior color. I know many loathe this, but I tend to like this shade of grey over the usual beige.
  • Soft touch dashboard and door panels. Overall quality of plastic. Fit and finish
  • Dual zone AC - no more compromises on temperature settings.
  • HEAVY build - the car almost feels like a moving fort. My kid struggled for a couple days with the heft of the doors when opening. Closing the doors is pretty easy.
  • Great insulation - wind noise even at speeds of120 kph are well controlled. I haven't pushed the car beyond as I'm not used to the dynamics still. And 120 is anyway going over the limits in MH at least.
  • The car had Pirelli shoes when I got her. Observed NO road noise trickling in. I'll retain this brand when changing. They are grippy too.
  • Rear seat comfort (reported) was by far the best - I believe thanks to the multi-link in the rear.
  • Size and space: I've never been a fan of 7 seater people movers. Gives me an elderly feeling for some reason. I always wanted a spacious 5 seater and the Compass' cabin does not disappoint. Enough space for 4+1 kid. 3 adults will be squeeze on the bench.
  • The car handles well given its size and weight. This is like saying Sunny Deol can dance well - but it actually does
  • Reassuring brakes - discs all around. Good bite and they are able to stop a near 2 ton block in good time.
  • Gear shift: Loved the round gear shifter. The throws are short and precise.
  • Linear power delivery. I used to like the push in the seat feeling about a decade ago. But I liked the way this car builds speed without that feeling.

A few niggles/shortcomings observed:

  • Infamous IRVM housing rattles mildly. With a silent cabin, this feels intrusive - need to find a fix for this.
  • The IRVM day/night function is manual - wasn't expected on a car at this price point.
  • The same night we got this car, I figured that the stock 9005 halogens are poor with the only task they have.
  • Lack of storage space for the phone/s. I end up placing my connected phone in the mesh pocket in the passenger footwell. Even the 4x2 variants don't get a decent in-dash storage space.
  • Bottle holders are best for under 600 ml. Even the regular 750 ml Decathlon bottle does not fit properly.
  • Under armrest storage area is not lit. I'd have preferred the USB connectivity for the apple carplay here. Also, I would have loved some felt lining inside to damp the rattles caused by objects thrown in.
  • Talking of armrest, it interferes with my elbow when shifting gears. I will have to experiment a bit on its position to find a compromise.
  • No sunglass holder on the otherwise empty area where the sunroof controls would be. Again, no space in the dash to keep them either.

Things I got done post ownership:

3M Germkleen plus package.

Foam-washed and UV coating done. I thought it would be prudent to get exterior detailing done only after the rains - the mud and constant cleaning by the regular guy will degrade the detailing in no time. Planned that for Oct/Nov timeframe.

Osram DHB3 Xenons and Philips Xtreme Vision G-force. I decided to go for the 35w 4200k xenon. The original fog lamps had a more yellow tinge. Decided to swap those for the Xtreme Visions too. They work well as a team as you can see in the following pic.

Interestingly, the original ones were Philips too.

We visited a place called Chalkewadi near Satara city over the weekend where there's a windmill farm. It was overwhelming to see that. A larger than life setup of a windmill gives you the perspective of how insignificant a man is in size and at the same time exhibits man's prowess.

A random click at the windmills. The clouds were engulfing the place and it was absolutely impossible to see beyond 10 feet in a matter of a few seconds after I clicked this.

The headlamp switch effect was quite drastic and I must say, in time for my trip to Satara to the Chalkewadi windmills. take a look at the lights in action. It was a boon on the dark roads back to the Satara city after our visit.

A few changes planned:

  • Jeep accessories rubber mats - the car has the usual fabric ones. They get soiled very easily. Besides, they don't cover the entire floor pan soiling the original carpeting. I've asked the local Jeep service center to keep one in stock. These are about Rs. 7000. Expensive, but I believe they're the best. Elegant ones available on Amazon are also expensive at Rs. 5500 and not that great on quality. It makes sense to spend the extra 1500 and get the original ones.
  • The gear shift blob to be replaced - has a few scratches - previous owner might be wearing finger rings. I'm really nitpicking here, but I like my cars in top shape.
  • The horn pad has lost a bit of chrome and looks patchy. I guess this might be due to some abrasive liquid used to clean at the dealers. Cheap items - ~500 each.

How I plan to use it:

  • I love road trips. The last couple years have seen far too few driving destination trips. But I still managed to go to Koyna dam, a wonderful beach in Konkan. My earlier trips to Ooty, MP, GJ were an eyeopener as to what India has to offer. I plan to do a lot more of these with an even more capable car.
  • Office runs - when the offices open - I see this as a challenge considering I'm still not entirely used to driving this car in bumper to bumper traffic.
  • Weekend excursions to <50 km places. We tend to do this often.
  • My daily usage given the pandemic is about 20 kms average. But will jump to about 50 kms when offices resume excluding any weekend travel.

Upcoming trips:

  • Wildlife safari - Kanha/Panna or Tadoba.
  • Rajasthan (Jaisalmer, Mehrangarh, Sand dunes) - we missed this in our last trip to Rajasthan. Need to plan this one. Have a reference of a Jeep Compass owner doing the same places in a travelogue. That's going to be handy.
  • Koyna backwaters - just as the rains recede.

I keep saying I'd buy a German some day, but it is hard to ignore the Americans.

Hope this car satiates my hunger for power, comfort and tour-ability for the next few years to come.

Cheers to the new member in the garage.

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