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Jeep Australia puts hand up for hi-po Compass

Yes please: Jeep Australia has said it would be keen to receive a performance-focused version of the all-new Compass if it were to be made available.

Compass SRT a possibility, Aussies predicted to love Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Jeep logo6 Feb 2018

By ROBBIE WALLIS

JEEP Australia has revealed that if a range-topping, performance-oriented version of its all-new Compass compact SUV were to become available, it would certainly put its hand up for it.

Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the new Compass in Tasmania, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia head of Jeep brand Guillaume Drelon said that the manufacturer would jump at the opportunity for an SRT-branded Compass.

“This is something I would love to have,” he said. “At this stage nothing has been announced in this regard, but it doesn’t mean we’re not looking at it.”

While the current Jeep line-up lacks a powertrain suited to a compact performance SUV, the recently-revealed all-new Wrangler sports a brand new 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine which pumps out an impressive 200kW/400Nm under the bonnet of Jeep’s off-road icon.

Another option could be the 200kW/316Nm 3.2-litre V6 found in the Cherokee, if Jeep could shoehorn the powerplant into the Compass’ engine bay.

Jeep leading Compass engineer Jim Lyijnen told GoAuto in March last year that a six-cylinder Compass was something the brand may look at but have not been able to package correctly yet.

He also hinted that the brand was developing its own advanced powertrains that could be packaged into the Compass, confirmed by the Wrangler reveal at the LA motor show in November.

If the 2.0-litre unit is not used in the Compass, other powertrain options exist within FCA’s stable, such as the 177kW 1.7-litre four-pot powering the Alfa Romeo Guilietta QV.

FCA has flirted with SRT-badged four-cylinder models before, in the form of the Dodge Neon sedan and Caliber SUV, neither of which made it to Australia.

An affordable performance SUV of its size would leave the Compass SRT in a relatively empty space in terms of rivals, with the Volkswagen Tiguan 162TSI the only comparable sporty offering.

The most powerful model in the current medium SUV segment is Holden’s recently released Equinox, which packs a 188kW punch from its top-spec 2.0-litre turbocharged engine.

On the topic of power, Jeep Australia believes the appetite for its incoming Grand Cherokee Trackhawk performance monster will be bested only by the US market.

The American car-maker has already sold all 62 initial units allocated for the Australian launch in three weeks, which set customers back $134,900 plus on-roads – making it $48,900 more expensive than the next dearest model in its line-up, the Grand Cherokee SRT.

Justifying the jump in price is the titanic 6.2-litre supercharged Hemi V8, which produces a whopping 522kW/868Nm – making the most powerful SUV on the market and third most powerful vehicle on sale behind the Ferrari 812 Superfast and Lamborghini Aventador S.

Mr Drelon said he was optimistic about the reception for the Trackhawk here.

“The Trackhawk, I think, is the hottest car in Australia,” he said.

“We should be the second market in the world (in terms of volume) for Trackhawk (behind the US), which gives an idea of how much Australia has attention for this car.”

Jeep also has plans to revive the Summit nameplate, previously offered as a high-end range-topping luxury variant to the Grand Cherokee line-up.

Mr Guillaume said that the inclusion of the Trackhawk and Summit back into the Grand Cherokee range would give it unparalleled choice for customers.

“It’s a good thing because at some point (the Trackhawk) will create a halo effect on the Grand Cherokee itself.

“I think it’s the best deal in this marketplace in regard of five-seater SUV, you have the best of everything.

“With this range we are able to tackle the mainstream with the (entry-level) Laredo with a price point which is extremely aggressive, and all the way up to the Trackhawk, meaning we are able to provide the best off-road (ability) with the Trailhawk, we are able to provide a high level of refinement with the Overland, and we are looking at reintroducing the Summit which means that with the Grand Cherokee we can do everything.

“So mainstream, off-road luxury, sport, insane sport, and I think that’s unique – no one else can do that in this market.”

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