Our newly crowned NDTV Car of the Year 2018 - Jeep Compass always drove into our awards process as a strong contender. I say this with no bias, but simply to acknowledge its strengths coming into the competition. So does that mean it was the obvious winner? Not at all, as our juror's scoring now shows. The Compass scored 412 points out of a possible 560, and the Maruti Suzuki Ignis was close behind at 405 points. In 3rd place, the Hyundai Verna scored 403 points. The Compass got the highest score amongst the finalists from 4 jurors, while for 2 it was tied at the top place with the Maruti Suzuki Ignis and Volkswagen Passat respectively. But clearly it was mostly in the top reckoning for the balance jurors for it to go ahead in the points tally and win the big award - NDTV Car of the Year 2018. It had also won the SUV or Crossover of the Year award along the way, to make it on to the final ballot.
On receiving the coveted trophy, Kevin Flynn, President and MD of FCA India said, "I am absolutely delighted, this is a special recognition and I thank carandbike for this award. To be part of this industry in India - a dynamic and tough industry, to get this award is a huge recognition, thank you very much indeed."
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So what are its core strengths that gave it that edge? Well its quite clear really - a) it is an SUV, which remains the cynosure segment of buyers' eyes, b) it operates in the compact space which is blowing up in India, c) it had launched with stellar pricing, making it good value, d) it is very good looking, with the right proportions and that Grand Cherokee DNA, and lastly e) it offers a variety of features - from the two tone roof option to optional 4X4, the touchscreen and connectivity to the auto tailgate. So what's not to like, eh? The car's 4X4 version is also pretty capable in arduous off-roading and its automatic on the petrol is a dual-clutch gearbox.
The Jeep Compass is stylish, well-equipped, powerful and a value for money product
Flynn added, "This car is a special car, and a special car for India as well. It's a global brand, but manufactured in India with 65 per cent local content, going to about 73 per cent in 2018. It is a really really important car for us. It declares our intent going forward. The way customers have responded to it, the way the market has responded to it, we are absolutely delighted."
Jeep has also done well to offer a largely consistent product across global markets with the Compass. India is one of 4 locations worldwide that is making the Compass and is the sole supplier to all right-hand drive markets the world over. Exports of the car have begun and they include markets like Japan, UK and South Africa. This is Jeep and Fiat Chrysler India's first win for Car of the Year at the NDTV Car and Bike Awards. The Compass came in third in votes for the CNB Viewers' Choice Car of the Year, which was eventually won by the Renault Captur.