1 year with my Compass: Off-roading, servicing & my overall experience

Ethel Walsh

Coming from brands like Maruti & Hyundai, I’d say Jeep is a cult brand aspiring to position itself as a premium one, though low on reliability.

BHPian enj0y_ride recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

It’s been a year since I bought my Compass. I have already done an initial ownership review.

Overall, my ownership of Compass has been exhilarating and it has been hassle-free, so far. My daily driving has been limited (as I stay closer to work) and the distance I clocked is mostly with the occasional long rides.

The more you drive, the more you fall in love with this car. In fact some of the negative perceptions I had during my initial ownership changed.

Summarising the key updates below

  • The suspension and steering inherit true Jeep DNA and you got to take the car off the tarmac to experience the magic (though it’s not an off-roader).
  • Initial days, I was disappointed about not having the torquey diesel mill (due to family preference for petrol). Now I have come to terms with the MultiAir-DDCT combo. The break-in period (read: your adaptation period) seems to be 10k. I found the performance improving over this duration.
  • It’s abuse friendly when compared to other cars in the segment. Took my car off-road as part of Jeep Trails (this variant is not designed for it, but the suspension is just awesome).
  • Excellent highway dynamics. It’s so planted on the road at triple-digit speeds as well.
  • The turbo petrol is extremely fuel sensitive (as expected). If you need to enjoy this variant, you got to forget the fuel efficiency.
  • The cabin space is small by segment standards (outside width doesn’t translate to interior space, especially the back seat). This was one major reason I wanted light colour interior and a panoramic sunroof.
  • AC performance is poor (though dual zone).
  • Brakes are good and very predictable. It’s confidence-inspiring and doesn’t sweat a bit in stopping a 2-ton weight.
  • You got to maintain < 35 PSI for a comfy ride. Slightly higher pressure makes the slow-speed rides on uneven roads a bit bumpy.
  • Negligible body roll and you can take curves at high speeds with full confidence.
  • I did not face any interior rattle issues (which many reported for the 2021 model). Maybe, not yet.
  • Service experience has been satisfactory, so far.
  • Car is definitely overpriced (and Jeep keeps increasing it every quarter). However, your heart smiles every time you drive it.

Slot to D, the car starts like an elephant and transitions to a tiger in the mid-range, with its feet so planted inspiring a lot of confidence. Initially, I was a bit disappointed with the laggard performance of the automatic, however as I hit 10k, something has changed (could be me or the car or both). Initial days, it wasn’t pleasing to drive in city traffic, but now I am able to push through and the car behaves based on my expectations. Though I was not a fan of automatic transmission earlier, I am starting to love it. Check this trip (round trip- Kochi to Kannur) taken without much breaks. It’s more or less like city traffic throughout with occasional highway stretches. I cannot imagine riding that without AT now. The 15 hour drive wasn’t tiring.

The car is reasonably feature-packed though the latest trends like ADAS are missing (I am not a fan of ADAS for Indian roads). The only accessory I installed was a Dashcam.


I get a fuel economy of approx 9 kmpl for a mix of city and highway rides. Turbo petrol is extremely sensitive to your foot manners and it gulps fuel when pushed. Another reason why diesel is an obvious choice for Compass.

While we often say it’s almost the end of the diesel era (for cars) in India, I feel petrol cars too are not immune either. We got to know India has achieved a 10% ethanol blend only after it was implemented. Likewise, now the Govt is pushing hard for a 20% blend. Compass Owner’s Manual states that the use of fuel with an Ethanol content higher than 10% may result in engine malfunction. It also states that the use of higher ethanol content may void the warranty.

I wrote to Stellantis support and received the below response regarding the same:

I try to fill premium petrol for alternate refills with the assumption that it does some level of cleansing. With regards to the premium petrol offered by PSUs, I found BP SPEED to perform better when compared to others (though the improvement is only marginal).


I installed the official Jeep accessory cam (Mopar branded). Have also written a thread about it.

Like the car itself, the cam is overpriced but the performance is pretty solid and it does its job. The recording is HD and night (& low light) clarity too is liveable. I did not find any of the ADAS warnings working (ADAS FCWS, uFCWS, LDWS, FVDW) – probably the screen needs to be ON for it to work. There is no WiFi data transfer available as well.

I purchased the “All in One card reader” that has USB C support inorder to transfer data to my phone.

I have used Transcend and few more dashcams from Chinese brands earlier for my older Hyundai cars (a terrific combination to get gizmo-fatigued). 90% of the features that I had then (including lane departure warning) I had kept it turned off (as it was causing annoyance). Though wifi transfer is convenient, it’s significantly slower than USB C transfer. Hence I do not miss those fancy features in this cam.

1 min video consumes 100 MB (50 MB each from front and back cam). The default memory card capacity available with the camera is 32 GB and it can hold approx 5 hour video. The camera also has some jerk detection (driving event detection) and the video files captured during the event won’t be overwritten. Except that all the older files get overwritten.

I purchased a set of two 64 GB cards for recording footage for long rides. Yes, you will have to swap the memory cards in case if you wish to keep the recording without overwriting.

Jeep Trail Experience and some soft-roading

I participated in two Jeep Trails organised by the dealer – Pinnacle Jeep, Kochi. Thanks to them for convincing me to join those and experience my own car in a new way. Initially, I was a bit hesitant as I was worried about scratching my car and I knew the variant I bought was never designed for off-road. Thanks to the Pinnacle team – they convinced me stating they have already explored the trail routes and reassured me nothing can go wrong and they got the technicians at the site, should any need arise.

Well, what’s the point in owning a Jeep without a JEEP experience and I decided to give it a try.

The first Jeep trail I participated in was a small one (one-day) arranged as part of the Compass 5th Anniversary trail. Unfortunately, this event happened before I installed Dashcam and I do not have much footage of the drive.

After seeing the trail route (filled with vegetation), I in fact wanted to avoid it. With my heart in my throat, I took the car off the road for the first time. The car scratched underneath at a few stretches and also the sound of the vegetation scratching the sides feels like something scratching your heart.

But once you finish the ride covering all obstacles, the feeling you get is inexplicable. I was so excited that I was the first one to register for the next trail when they announced it.

The next one was planned for two days at Kodaikanal. It was close to 8 hr drive from Kochi to Kodaikanal and an adventure ride there.

Luckily for the Kodai trail, I had the Dashcam installed. I will let the Dashcam footage do the talking.

While it was no hard off-roading by any means, there were some stretches where my car got stuck – the wheels were slipping.

The customary wheels up pic

Since I had power only on two wheels, I had to sustain the momentum in order not to get stuck. But, my wheels were slipping and I was losing momentum in the initial obstacles, as the Traction Control was ON. Once I turned it OFF, the rest of the navigation was relatively okay. I was able to sustain the momentum in muddy stretches as well, though had to counter-steer swiftly (as the car was accelerating) and not go straight. My tyre pressure was 35 PSI, which too might have added to losing traction initially. Anyways, those were Offroading 101 lessons for me.

I never thought I will take my car off-road. But I thoroughly enjoyed it (though this may not even seem like an adventure for most). While it was more or less some adventure for 2WD vehicles, I felt sorry for Wrangler owners who attended these events. In the stretches where I had to push hard on the right foot, the Wrangler was going at the slowest possible speed, and I don’t think the riders experienced any feedback on the terrain from the vehicle (must have been like a highway ride for Wrangler).

Some pictures from the event

Pic after the ride, with muddy shoes.


I have done the first (5k km service) and the 1st year (I didn’t complete 15k km, so) service. Since I did not have many issues to be fixed, the experience was quite satisfactory.

As part of the first service, I also opted for an undercoat, which was done pretty fast. Apart from that, there was a charge only for alignment and balancing. No other charges.

The second service, 1-year service was done recently and there were charges associated with an oil change, filter change, etc. Overall bill was around 9k including WB+WA. The labour was free of cost.

Post delivery, I noticed that the steering was not perfectly center-corrected after alignment. It was very minor (probably a 1 or 2-degree shift), but I often am able to feel that minor change and do not like to drive that way. The technicians were patient and they made it perfect after multiple iterations and test drives.

I also did the first free service of the Ceramic coating (Menza Pro) during the second service. It was done by the dealership itself. Hence they took care of it when I gave the car for service.

My Jeep Life app had stopped working (The last updated date shows one month past), which obviously means data is not coming in from the car. I have seen many owners reporting a similar issue and in my case, it stopped working exactly 1 year after manufacturing month. Not sure if it’s a coincidence. The service center folks raised a ticket with “Jeep Connectivity Helpdesk” and the support was prompt. They asked to remove the dongle and reset the same. After resetting, it works fine and I am able to view car data in the Jeep life app and also the remote actions (like lock, unlock) are working. Their helpdesk got into a call with me along with a service center technician and made me check out all functions before closing the ticket. It was a good experience. If there is an option to call their support directly, the process is simple and we might be able to do it ourselves.

This is the dongle that connects to OBD port and enables connected car functions.

Other observations

  • uConnect: As part of the second service, they upgraded the uConnect software. Earlier, the car audio system did not use to turn on when ACC was not ON. Now, even if it powers off automatically when you turn off the car, you can manually power it on (even without the key in the car). Initially, I assumed the power will be there only for 10 mins after ignition was off. However, the power button of uConnect turns ON the music even when you enter the next day. I am not sure if it’s a bug or if it’s expected this way (or if my older software had an issue and it wasn’t working this way). Anyways, I prefer it this way. Keeping ACC ON just for playing music doesn’t make sense.
  • Auto Start/Stop: I am not a fan of this feature. It’s neither good for the battery nor for the turbo. Though the Owners Manual states, it takes into consideration of engine temperature for activation, I have found it turning off the engine in signals even after riding for 7 hours continuously. The software that controls it too is not perfect and could go awry. I was once in a busy signal when it auto stopped (I involuntarily slot to N in signals) and I had to lean back to the back seat to pick something up and hence unbuckled the seat belts and shifted to P. The signal turned Green. I buckled again and slotted the gear to D and released the brakes. Boom! The car doesn’t start. The gear lights starts flashing and it was beeping all over. I was stuck there honking all around. After attempting multiple times, unbuckling… then turning off ACC, and then starting all over, it somehow worked (couldn’t recall the exact sequence I tried). After that incident, I make it a point to turn it off every time I start the car. I have heard similar bad experiences with auto start/stop from others too. The only good part of this feature might be, it’s good for the transmission mechatronics during long signals when on D. But shifting to N during long halts could be an alternative.
  • Indicator lever: The multi-function lever for turn signals & passing light has some usability issues. Even after one year of use, sometimes when I try to put a left turn, the passing light flashes.
  • Sunroof: Considering the small size of the cabin, the panoramic sunroof with shades open is a pleasant experience, especially when riding in the rain or on a starry night.

  • Alloys + Tyres: While the current 18-inch alloys look good, I think 17-inch might be comfier. And it’s strictly a highway wheel. The sidewall thickness is low and eventually could damage the alloys. It’s the same size for 4×4 variants (other than Trailhawk) too, which is a pity. On top of it, there are no AT tyres available for stock size. I felt the tyre wear to be higher than other cars, probably due to the weight. The front tyres lost almost 40-50% of tread within 12k (which I rotated recently to the back).

Brand experience

Jeep is a cult brand aspiring to position itself as a premium one, though low on reliability. My previous cars were from Maruti and Hyundai. From the sales+marketing perspective, the experience that Jeep-India delivered through multiple programs like the Jeep Trails, other launch programs conducted by the dealership, etc was good. Probably, it cannot be generalized and might vary with the dealership (In my case, Pinnacle Jeep @ Kochi did a good job).

I have clocked only 12k and did not have any issues with the car, so I can’t comment on the service (but the feedback from people whom I know has been mixed). Interestingly, I also happen to meet quite a few people who upgraded from Jeep to Jeep (Compass to Trailhawk/Meridian). Even though I have come across many who upgraded from Swift to Swift or WagonR to WagonR, I felt it’s a bit different in this segment and considering Jeep vehicles are insanely priced. The programs like Jeep trails, will inspire you to crave capable offroaders like Trailhawk or Wrangler (probably that’s their intent as well).

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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