Jeep Compass Trailhawk First Drive Review

The popular Jeep Compass, recently got a new off-roading variant, the Trailhawk, and we got the chance to test this off-roader to its limits.

Added in: Jeep

The popular Jeep Compass, recently got a new off-roading variant, the Trailhawk, and we got the chance to test this off-roader to its limits. This new variant is priced at INR 26.80 Lakh, ex-showroom, India, which exceeds the price of the top-spec Compass Limited Plus 4×4 by almost 3.7 Lakh rupees. A thoroughbred, the Compass Trailhawk is an accomplished off-roader and a great alternative to the likes of the Ford Endeavour and the Toyota Fortuner. To know more about the Jeep Compass Trailhawk, watch the in-depth review of the car below.

Design and Dimensions

In terms of design and dimensions, the Trailhawk retains many design cues and dimension specifications from the standard Compass, however, there are a couple of differences and new changes that have been made to make the Trailhawk much more efficient during off-roading. The new Trailhawk is 4398mm in length and 1657mm tall, which is 3mm and 17mm more than a standard Compass. Most of the perforations in the 7-slat front grille have been covered to enhance the water-wading capabilities and prevent engine and component damage during different water adventures the user might want to try out.

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The distinct design feature on the Trailhawk variant is the Trail-rated badge on the sides of the vehicle, which prove that the vehicle is a serious off-roader and has been designed specially as an all-terrain vehicle. The 17-inch rims from the Limited Edition Compass have been carried on to the Trailhawk, however, the set of tyres are specially designed for Trail rated vehicles and are off-road capable as the sidewalls of the tyres get a Kevlar lining to prevent punctures and provide grip on any kind of terrain. The other visually attractive highlight on the vehicle are the Rubicon Red inserts which have been added at many places to give the Trailhawk a distinctive look.

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Engine and Performance

The new Compass Trailhawk gets the same 2.0-litre Multijet-II Diesel Engine which produces almost identical figures like the standard Compass, however, this engine is now BS-VI compliant and gets a new low-ratio 9-speed Automatic gearbox for better torque delivery on rough and inclined planes. The engine now produces 170 HP from 3,750 rpm and 350 Nm of peak torque at 2,500 rpm. The Trailhawk gets the same 60-litre fuel tank from the standard Compass. The SUV also manages to reach the 0 – 100 kmph mark in under 12 seconds, which is not that fast but is still pretty quick for a car this size.

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Off-Road Performance

Since the Trailhawk variant of the Compass is more off-road focused, Jeep has gone ahead and made minor but important tweaks to the front and rear bumper and the ride height of the car to improve the off-road performance of the vehicle. The new bumpers have been cut short by a few millimetres to improve the approach and departure angle of the vehicle, while the underbody of the Trailhawk gets a lot of cladding, a couple of extra bash-plates and 3mm thick skid-plates to protect the important parts of the vehicle while driving on rough and difficult terrains.

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The other drastic change made by Jeep for the Trailhawk is the increased ground clearance of the vehicle, the Trailhawk now sits around 30mm higher than the standard Jeep Compass. The positive impact of this change was felt when we took the SUV on an off-road adventure and tested its true limits, but the underbody of the vehicle managed to stay intact and didn’t have any sort of contact with the surface below. Since the roads in the wild will likely be narrow and won’t be too easy to navigate, Jeep has given the Trailhawk a smaller turning radius of 5.7 metres for better agility. While driving on the highway or in the city, the Trailhawk gets the power from only 2-wheels to save fuel, but when the requirement for more power and traction arises all you need to do is switch on the 4WD lock to engage power to the rest of the wheels.

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On-Road Performance

When driving the car on the tarmac, the Trailhawk gets a much more linear and punchy power delivery with minimal turbo-lag, when compared to the standard Compass. The decrease in turbo-lag, in addition to the retuned engine, is hugely credited to the new 9-speed automatic transmission, which has a closely spaced gear-ratio for a smoother and more impactful performance. The other positive thing about the engine is that all the torque is available in the 1750 to 2500 rpm range, which is a lot of low-end torque, making it a perfect off-roader. The other positive aspects also include a good NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) Control and a premium ride quality.

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In terms of gearbox performance, the 6-speed automatic provides smooth upshifts, however, the downshifts could have been slightly quicker. The fuel-efficiency of the car is around 10-13 kmpl in the real world and around the corners, the Trailhawk also delivers a slight body-roll. The other new feature is the Frequency sensing dampers, which adjusts the suspension damping according to the terrain/surface on which the car is travelling. The car handles pretty well, however, the steering could have been a bit heavier, as it didn’t feel quite engaging around the corners. Overall, the changes made in the engine, transmission and suspension department can be felt clearly and the Trailhawk proves to be a more premium offering when compared to the standard Compass.

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Inside, the new Trailhawk gets a more premium cabin when compared with the standard Compass. Despite being a premium offering and one of the most expensive vehicles in its segment, the Compass does not provide electrically adjustable seats or lumbar support which may be a disappointment for some customers who are willing to shell out a lot of money for this car. However, the Trailhawk does cover up when it comes to the quality of the dashboard and other comfort factors of the car. The car also gets many Rubicon Red inserts to act as a contrasting colour to the all-black interior of the car. In terms of storage spaces, the Compass Trailhawk gets a lot of storage pockets and cup-holders too.

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Just like the MG Hector, the Compass Trailhawk’s fog lamps also act as cornering lamps. The Compass Trailhawk also gets many top-of-the-range off-road features like 4-wheel drive, different driving modes (Snow, Mud, Sand and Rock), Selective Damping, Hill Descent Control, Hill-Start Assist, Hill-Hold Assist, All-Speed Traction control system and Cruise Control. On the inside, the leather-wrapped steering wheel gets many steering-mounted buttons like media and infotainment controls and cruise control related buttons. The instrument cluster also gets a semi-digital display, while the infotainment system gets an 8.4-inch touchscreen display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Trailhawk also gets a panoramic sunroof, which is one of the biggest in its segment.

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The Jeep Compass Trailhawk is priced at INR 26.80 Lakhs (ex-showroom, India), which is more than the rest of its competition. However, the Trailhawk is the only truly capable 4WD vehicle which also offers the convenience of an automatic gearbox, paired with a punchy, yet, efficient motor.

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Quite simply put, there isn’t another premium SUV which has such a terrific blend of on and off-road performance as the Jeep Trailhawk at this point in time. It’ll appeal to a small bunch of buyers who know fully well what that Trail Rated badge on the car means and would appreciate and enjoy the formidable off-road capabilities of this car when they venture out in the wild, while also enjoying its refined, family-friendly traits. A unique, desirable car – worth every penny it demands.

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