Fuel economy or “Kitna Deti Hai” still remains one of the top priorities for Indian car buyers. And this holds true even in the Rs 20+ lakh segment. Don’t believe me? Tell me then, why does the well packaged Honda CR-V not sell in huge numbers – a perfect example for those who think otherwise. This is exactly the question we put forward for our long-term Jeep Compass Limited 4×4 Diesel version – how much could this SUV do in terms of squeezing out that extra kilometer per litre of diesel.
The Jeep Compass comes with a certified fuel economy of over 16 kmpl for the diesel 4×4 version and I picked the rather empty Delhi-Agra Yamuna Expressway for the challenge run. It was a typical pre-summer hot April day but a task was at hand and gathering all my experience from my previous drives (I hold a Limca record for the maximum fuel economy in a car in India), I set out in the 173 bhp diesel Compass to see how frugal it could be.
For starters, no change was made to the tyre pressure of the SUV. As I said above, it was a hot day and as the Yamuna Expressway has cemented roads, tyre temperature would only rise further and hence I decided to stick to the manufacturer recommended pressure.
On board computer
I had previously done a tankful to tankful run for about 680km and found out that the on-board display has a marginal error in terms of fuel economy figures. Thus, it made my task a lot easier as I had to solely rely on the MID (multi-info display) to know how much the Compass could deliver.
The Compass diesel comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox and this is a boon as the 6th cog helps the engine to spin at lower revs. I decided to keep the Compass at around the 70 kmph mark which is quite decent given our highway conditions. At this speed, the engine revs just above 1200 rpm and the only sound I could hear was that of the tyres rolling on the cement road.
Well, a task was at hand and hence the air-conditioning was off. That said, given the large 2.0-litre diesel engine, the on-board air-con unit will hardly hamper fuel economy in real world driving. I had also kept the windows up to reduce any unwanted air resistance – every fraction counts you see!
The Yamuna expressway has its own share of elevation changes every few kilometers – this is due to the presence of underpasses that connect local villages. Every time I saw an uphill stretch coming, the trick was to gently go down on the accelerator pedal to raise the speeds by about 4-5 kmph. Once I hit the crest with a downhill stretch ahead, I used to lift off the pedal, but just about, thus making use of the change of elevation. These might seem impractical to read, but it does help every bit during a fuel economy challenge.
At an indicated 32.1 kmpl, the Jeep Compass Limited 4×4 diesel certainly wears the crown for the most fuel efficient 4×4 SUV out there in the market. The Compass is already flying off showroom floors and this little feat shall surely go down well with owners. What is surprising is the fact that the Compass diesel isn’t short on performance at all – the 173 PS engine is good for 200 kmph, given the road, and enthusiasts will love gunning it even in city traffic. Make your cake and eat it too? We think so!