With the prices out, we can now be certain that Jeep’s latest Compass SUV will take on the likes of Mahindra XUV500 and Tata Hexa. This is the first model of Jeep in India which has the potential to change the company’s fortunes, FCA India is aware of it and has competitively priced it between Rs 14.91 – 20.76 lakh (ex-showroom). The XUV 500 and Hexa have their base variants priced a lot lower than Compass and hence aren't direct competitors but the price overlap will make some consumers decide between these three vehicles. It is the mid-variants that will cause dilemma to the buyer. While both Mahindra XUV 500 and Tata Hexa have three row-seating which Jeep Compass doesn’t, the buyer will still consider a new SUV in the market as against the names which have been in the market for a while now. Having said that, Tata Hexa is still comparatively a new product in India as it was launched in January 2017, and has managed to create a premium SUV maker image for Tata Motors. Tata Hexa is available only with 2.2L Varicor diesel engine option and the price ranges from Rs 10.95 – 16.13 lakh, it currently does not have petrol engine in its line-up but the Jeep Compass Diesel gets a 2L Multijet engine and ranges between Rs 15.45 to 20.65 lakh (Ex-Showroom) and Mahindra XUV diesel gets a 2.2L mHAWK engine that’s priced in the range of 12.19 – 17.07 lakh (Ex-Showroom). So the fight is between the mid diesel variants of these three.
Jeep Compass Sport variant, which is the base variant will take on the Mahindra XUV 500 W8 variant which is one short of the top-variant and Tata Hexa’s XMA variant - the second last top-variant in the Hexa portfolio. Jeep is offering an in-built 5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Blutooth and Navigation, Tata Hexa has the ConnectNext infortainment system supported by Harman featuring a 6-inch dispay screen but does not support features like Apple Car Play and Google Android Auto. Whereas Mahindra XUV 500 W8 variant gets a 7-inch infotainment system that supports Navigation, Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto.
Tata Hexa is offering 19-inch tyres on its middle and top-variants unlike Mahindra XUV500 that gets 17-inch alloy wheels and the Jeep Compass gets 16-inch alloy wheels. Features like projector headlamps, adjustable drivers’ seat, leather upholstery, automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control etc are common across all three SUVs. Tata Hexa and Jeep Compass miss out on panoramic sun-roof where as the top W10 variant of Mahindra XUV does feature an electric sunroof.
The diesel engines of all three SUVs are similar on power as Jeep Compass sheds out a power of 170 hp @ 3750 rpm. Mahindra XUV 500 delivers140 hp @ 3750 rpm and Tata Hexa’s power output is 153.80 hp @ 4000 rpm. They also have an Automatic variant on offer, however, the Jeep Compass diesel automatic will be launched in India only in January 2018.
On the safety end, all three SUV makers are offering dual airbags and ABS as a standard feature right from the base variant. But the base variant of Jeep Compass only gets dual airbags, whereas Mahindra XUV 500 W8 is offering additional side & curtain airbags. Tata Hexa too offers front dual airbags, side & curtain airbags with ABS from its XT variant among other safety features. Jeep Compass Sport variant does not get reverse parking sensors as only the Longitude variant gets reverse park assist sensors and the top-variant hosts many safety features including reverse park assist sensors with camera, Electronic Park brake, Traction Control, Hill start assist etc.
If we compare the features according to the variants offered in the price range then the Jeep Compass is not the best buy but still with the start of deliveries of the Jeep Compass, we might see a dip in sales of other two SUVs, but the question is for how long Jeep India can sustain the sales of Compass. Yes, the initial response has been good, the company has priced the SUV right and has also received a decent 5,000 initial bookings. But, the fact is both Tata Motors and Mahindra have a mass following especially in Tier-2 and Tier -3 cities. In its first year of operations Jeep India has managed to extend to about 46 dealers across India. The image of Jeep as the global iconic brand is still restricted to major metro cities and very few tier-2 cities and the concept of Fiat’s MOPAR servicing is very new for the buyers. For FCA India, Jeep Compass is just the beginning and if successful, Compass will lead to better brand building which will lead to easy marketing of future products to come. But as of this moment, the next battle for Jeep India would be to increase its focus and visibility in tier-2 and tier-3 cities and improve its overall after sales service for a sustainable growth.