Tata Harrier vs Jeep Compass: Which SUV for the casual enthusiast?

Casual Enthusiast

If you think there is a bit too much of Harrier on Cartoq these days, you aren’t wrong. Blame it on the fantastic product but people out there want to read as much as they can about Tata’s latest SUV. And in the process, most will want to know how it fares in comparison to other options in the same segment. The reason why we came up with this article. If you are a casual enthusiast, which of the two, Harrier and Compass, should be your pick and why? Read on…

Tata Harrier vs Jeep Compass: Which SUV for the casual enthusiast?

The first impression

The Tata Harrer is not only a stunning looking SUV, it beats the Jeep Compass hands down in terms of road presence. Dimensionally, the Harrier is longer, wider and taller than the Compass and also offers higher ground clearance, very important to lend street cred to an SUV. Likewise, the front end is massive with striking DRLs, flared wheel arches and a better rear too. The Compass in comparison looks sober and toned down. Stand alone, we love the way the Compass looks though. Newer and higher spec versions get uber cool alloy wheels and a contrasting roof adds to the bling factor. And you can’t dismiss the strong brand power than Jeep enjoys. The legacy and heritage are important factors.

Tata Harrier vs Jeep Compass: Which SUV for the casual enthusiast?

For a casual enthusiast, the last line matters. If you have deep pockets and can afford the higher spec, bling versions of the Compass, go for it. For those on a budget though, the Harrier does just fine. Round one then is a tie.

The inside story 

Space is an important factor for all of us and Tata understands that far better than any other brand. The reason why the Harrier overshadows the Compass in terms of passenger room. Five large, well built adults will feel at home in this SUV and yet it offers similar boot space as the Compass. The latter ain’t bad in terms of cabin space but the Harrier is so much better in this regard.

Tata Harrier vs Jeep Compass: Which SUV for the casual enthusiast?

The cabin of the Compass, depending on the version you pick, will either offer a dual tone theme or an all-black one. There is no denying the fact that fit and finish on the Compass is excellent. Its feel like a solid cabin and the touch and feel of every single button is good. The Harrier however gets brownie points for that lovely faux wooden inserts, well crafter inner door handles and a true sense of space – even the touch-screen interface is larger and so is the speedometer display screen.

Where the Compass truly shines is the in the kit on offer. The sunroof for example – we all want this in our SUVs. Next, powered driver’s seat and even a dual zone climate control. However, do remember, all this comes at a steep price which makes us put the Harrier ahead in this second parameter of interiors. A casual enthusiast will surely love the 9 speaker JBL audio system too. It’s simply outstanding.

The drive 

The Compass takes a clear lead here. From a brilliant petrol-auto configuration to optional AWD for the diesel, the Compass also puts out more power than the Harrier. Apart from a heavier clutch, the performance package that the Compass delivers is brilliant and enthusiasts will love it for the grinning moments.

Tata Harrier vs Jeep Compass: Which SUV for the casual enthusiast?

The Harrier does not offer a petrol option and nor is it available with an automatic gearbox. Ditto for lack of AWD. That said, the engine is derived from FCA and the same unit that powers the Compass but in a lower state of tune. Performance is good but not a match for the Compass. That said, the tall 6th gear gives it long legs for highway runs and the NVH levels too are a tad better than the Compass’. If you are only looking at the 4×2 modes of both the vehicles, the Harrier has an edge with its clever Terrain Response modes and a better overall stability program.

That said, we can’t deny the thrills that the Compass offers from its engines, and is the winner here.

Comfort and agility 

This is a tough parameter. Why? While the Compass offers better dynamics, the Harrier has a better ride. The Compass’ electric power steering is lighter at parking speeds too and weighs up nicely as speeds increase. If you want to have your share of grinning moments around twisties and simply want to enjoy your weekend drives, the Compass has to be the pick.

Tata Harrier vs Jeep Compass: Which SUV for the casual enthusiast?

On the other hand, if comfort is a priority, pick the Harrier. This is one SUV you can drive without lifting off the accelerator over broken roads. Even inside city limits, the ride is far more comfortable than that of the Compass. The only improvement that the Harrier requires is in the amount of wind noise filtering in at over 90 km/h.

Harrier vs Compass: Our verdict

An enthusiast seeks a lot from his next set of wheels. It needs to look good with a strong brand recall, the engine needs to have ample poke for a thrilling drive and dynamics should be sorted. The Jeep Compass ticks all these boxes but also comes at a price. The diesel range for example starts at Rs 16.6 lakh and the Harrier is expected to be about Rs 4 lakh cheaper. If budget isn’t a concern, the Compass will keep a casual enthusiast like you happy. But if you want a value product, the Harrier makes for a brilliant buy.