The Jeep Compass has been around for quite some time and has proven itself to be the benchmark SUV in its segment. And with some recently added variants to its range, the Compass has only gotten better. It has also proved to be a better bet among a few other SUVs as well, but it now takes on Tata’s stylish and feature-loaded Harrier, which is proving to be quite popular on our roads. We pit the Compass against the Harrier to see which one wins.
Between the two, we’re really hard-pressed to find fault with either of the designs. While the Compass looks more stated with its crisp lines, flared wheel arches and boxy silhouette, the Harrier is the more muscular, butch-looking, in-your-face SUV, and we rather like that. The Compass gets the traditional, seven-slat grille, plastic cladding along the wheel arches and compact tail lights at the rear. And the Harrier looks nothing short of stunning either, with its slender LED DRLs and the main headlamps positioned below, those pumped-up wheel arches and the sleek tail light design at the rear. It isn’t hard to tell that the Harrier has more road presence than the Compass.
The cabin of the Compass is simple, but the fit and finish, and build quality are top-notch. On the steering, you will find a number of dummy buttons and the quality of the indicator stalks aren’t to our satisfaction. The soft leather upholstery gives the cabin a premium feel. Coming to the Tata Harrier, it has a more modern looking interior that is a blend of metallic accents, faux wood and perforated leather. Sadly, the finish in the Harrier isn’t at par with the Compass. While the huge wing mirrors offer great visibility, they are placed a bit too high up. However, the front seats are comfy and the quality of the leather used is impressive. The seats in the Compass aren’t as supportive as the ones in the Harrier, and the latter has more leg and headroom as well.
The Compass comes loaded to the brim, with features like an electrically-adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, sunroof, puddle lamps, wireless charging, LED DRLs and a six-speaker audio system with smartphone mirroring tech among other goodies. In the Compass, a 9-speaker audio system, electric driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, rear view camera and an 8.8-inch touchscreen display are offered.
Performance & Handling
Engines in both SUVs are sourced from Fiat. However, both have been tweaked to offer different performance figures. The Harrier churns out 140bhp and the Jeep Compass produces 173bhp. When it comes to torque, both SUVs are rated at 350Nm. Between the Harrier and the Compass, it is the latter that is more refined with barely any diesel clatter heard in the cabin. There is turbo lag though. It has a strong mid-range and acceleration is linear, and the 6-speed manual ‘box works without a fuss. The Harrier doesn’t pick up pace as quickly as the Compass and the diesel clatter smoothens out as the revs rise. But the clutch is light, compared to the Compass’ heavy clutch. The Compass has more grunt, but the Harrier scores on the ride quality front as the Compass is a bit too firm. While the Compass feels more composed around corners, the Harrier exhibits a lot of body roll.
Surely, the Harrier is the more comfortable of the two and offers more space, but the Compass provides it buyer with what the Harrier doesn’t: build quality and drivability. It is undoubtedly priced lower than the Compass, but it also falls short on quite a lot of equipment, which, if you ask us, is quite a bummer, considering most buyers in this segment will look at features as a priority. The Compass wins this test simply because it is a hoot to drive, is beautifully put together and performs well on the road as well.