I had already booked myself an XUV700 automatic AX5 petrol. But the waiting time kept ticking off 1 month at a time in terms of its delivery.
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I decided to write this review upon the completion of 1500 km on my new Jeep Compass 4×4 diesel automatic.
I considered the following options before the purchase of my new car:
- Mahindra XUV700.
- Tata Harrier.
- Hyundai Creta.
- Kia Seltos.
- Skoda Octavia.
I used to work with Amazon, at a managerial level within Amazon Fashion. Looking at the culture within the firm, and my previous organization (Hotstar), I was convinced that buying a car or a house was a tough and a risky deal. The work culture and politics at these firms are atrocious, and all I wanted at that time was to save enough which could give me an early retirement. Buying a car would eat into my savings, and I wasn’t willing to work 14 – 16 hours a day for another few years, just to experience the pleasures of driving. Don’t get me wrong! I absolutely love driving. Whenever I did get a weekend off, I used to book a Zoomcar on weekends to go on weekend getaways around me. Amongst the cars which I had driven (Ciaz, Ecosport, Desire, Ritz), my downright favourite was the Ford Ecosport.
Then came a much welcome change. I decided to leave Amazon for good, and joined Whirlpool, in Gurgaon. A few months into the firm made me realise earning didn’t have to be so tough. That is when, I started taking test drives of a few cars, vis-à-vis XUV 700, Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Skoda Octavia, Tata Harrier & Jeep Compass.
About the cars:
The Tata Harrier was the first car I took a test drive of. It was a XZA+ Dark Edition, with automatic transmission. I drove the car in both the Sports mode & the Eco mode, and the Sports mode does bring a smile to your face. The pickup of the car, the smooth gear shifts, powered by a higher flow of fuel in to the car gives it an amazing punch. The car easily reaches a speed of 120 kmph, and when you want to slow down to make lane cuts, the car tells you slowing down isn’t really necessary. It has great balance, and much less body roll compared to the likes of the XUV700 and Creta. I liked almost everything about the car, except probably the dashboard, which looks a bit dated, with a plastic touch amidst a visibly wooden texture dashboard, which doesn’t really give a wow feel now. Add to it a smaller than its class, dim & a slightly unresponsive display, and you feel the interiors are a bit let down. The steering wheel probably is the best to hold in its class, and the visibility from the driver’s seat gives you an amazing visibility of the hood and the road ahead, making you feel in control of the car, despite its class leading width.
I drove the Jeep Compass petrol Limited next. The interiors wowed me immediately, and gave me a feeling that I was probably sitting in a BMW or an Audi. The ride height and driver’s seat visibility was not as good as the Harrier, but it was definitely not a deal breaker. What was a deal breaker though, was the response of the gearbox when you went full throttle. It took about 2 seconds to realize that it was supposed to be pushed, and then gave you a surge of power. But one always had the feeling that the late power delivery, although enough to push you back on your driver’s seat, would be rendered useless when trying to overtake within city limits. The rolling speed of the car was confident aspiring though, meaning you probably wouldn’t miss the delay in power delivery much on a highway if you have decided to cruise at 120 kmph. What impressed me the most about the car was its stability and confident inspiring drive while making lane cuts at high speeds. The Jeep Compass gives you the thickest wheels amongst its competitors, and this is easily reflected in the grip and confidence the car inspires. Add to that the torsional rigidity of the car which limits the body roll, and you get a car which is easy to handle at high speeds. The salesperson asked me specifically to test its off-road abilities by bringing the wheels of the left side of the car off road, and boy did it eat up the muddy roads with ease, not passing the bumps to the passengers on board.
The Mshindra XUV700 was an easy car to drive. The acceleration and responsiveness of the car was easily better than the Harrier diesel or Compass petrol, and it helped me overtake other cars (Seltos, Creta) with ease within city limits. The road presence of the Midnight Black is awe inspiring, and the road visibility from the driver’s seat is comparable to the best in the segment (vis-à-vis Harrier). After driving the Harrier and the Compass, I did feel that the damper on the suspension was a bit soft, which meant whenever I went over a bump, the car seems to bounce a bit longer than the other two, whose dampers immediately absorbed the suspension movement post the impact. I drove the AX7L, and despite the leather finish on the dashboard and the steering wheel, the interiors still felt a bit wanting, after sitting in the Compass.
After this, I drove the Skoda Octavia. To sum it up, driving it will probably give you as much fun as having a one night stand with a hot model. The grunt which the car gives when you put your feet on the accelerator, backed by its gearbox’s responsiveness is unparalleled amongst the other cars mentioned here. This was hands down the best and the fastest car to drive on a long stretch of a good highway. The interiors are a bit understated with respect to the quality of the drive this car offers, and the suspension is setup on the stiffer side, but the drive quality puts a smile on your face. The cons you ask? A ground clearance of 137 mm (BMW 3 series has this at 164 mm), a city mileage of around 6 – 6.5 kmpl and a lack of sunroof (not a big deal). While this car spoiled all other cars for me in terms of its driving dynamics and abilities, its limitations in terms of lack of ground clearance and low city mileage made it come off as a good second car, if you already had a do-it-all kind of a car in your garage.
Coming to my car:
By this time, I had already booked myself an XUV700 automatic AX5 petrol. But the waiting time kept ticking off 1 month at a time in terms of its delivery. This was when I decided to drive the diesel automatic of the Compass. The interiors and driving dynamics was already a proven winner for me after driving the petrol variant. The diesel 4×4 model did initially feel like it had a lag when giving it a full throttle push, but within a short span of time, I got used to it, and began to realize that acceleration of the car had enough to push me back in my seat, and more. The 9 speed gearbox was smooth in gear changes, and sitting in a sophisticated interior, within a car with an amazing suspension setup felt like the complete package. Activate the 4×4, and you feel the car become a part of you, which each of the wheels responding to your whims and fancies. This would be a subjective point of view, but in terms of road presence, I felt the front of Jeep Compass didn’t feel you wanting after looking at the midnight black XUV 700. I was basically purchasing my first car, a car which had a do it all attitude, and this is how I ranked all these cars after driving them:
- Jeep Compass 4×4 Automatic Diesel (Amazing Interiors, Good road presence in its Red/Black avatar, Good Pickup, Good body control)
- XUV700 (Large Boot space (in a 5 seater), Amazing Road presence, an almost good interior space with a presence of a lot of hard plastic, good 0 – 100 kmph)
- Tata Harrier (Good body control, Good road presence, Good pickup when in sports mode, average interiors)
- Skoda Octavia (As exciting as that lady dressed in Red across the bar, albeit not practical)
- Creta (A good overall package, but lacking enough punch when it comes to quality of interiors/ sub-optimal exteriors, lack of control while driving, compared to others)
- Seltos ( Good exteriors, Good interiors, stiff suspension, lack of feeling of control while driving, compared to the others)
I decided to go for the Red Black Limited 4×4 diesel Jeep Compass. Having driven it for 1500 km, I keep falling in love with the car more and more every single day. I have learnt to control the acceleration of the car as per my whims and fancies, and the plus interiors, powered by unparalleled control on good and bad roads drives a different level of satisfaction in me. The car is currently returning a combined mileage of 10.4 kmpl, which I feel is good compared to the others in this segment. It cost me about INR 31.3 lacs on road (pricey but worth it), and I got a ceramic coating and PPF done on the car immediately out of the showroom. All in all, a happy customer! Will keep you posted on the performance of the car when do some real off-roading in it.
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