The terrain-focused compass makes a comeback with all the updates from the facelifted compass. We spend a day with it to see how it is.
When Jeep launched the facelift Compass At the beginning of last year, it held back the Trailhawk and launched only the usual trim levels. But now, a year later, the terrain-focused variant is back with new pieces from the facelift and the expected kit from formerly Trailhawkalong with some small adjustments.
Jeep Compass Trailhawk facelift exterior: subtle changes
On the outside, the Trailhawks’ black hooded decal gets a striking, stylish red stripe with the “Trailhawk” letters cut in; the alloy wheels have a different pattern and the bumper gets a slightly different style, but as before it cuts sharper for a better angle of incidence.
Aside from the bonnet decal, it’s the front bumper with shape cutting that really visually sets the Trailhawk apart.
As before, there is also the higher suspension, the complete chassis and the red towbar at the rear; and just like the previous Trailhawk, the front towbar has been erased due to pedestrian safety standards. The red Trailhawk badge remains on the tailgate, while the Trail Rated 4X4 emblem adorns the fenders.
Unlike the 18-inch rims on the face-lift Compass, the Trailhawk gets smaller 17-inch wheels, which offer better cushioning and rim protection on the terrain thanks to higher side walls. Strangely enough, the tires are marked HT (Highway Terrain), but Jeep says that these Falken tires are better suited for off-road driving.
Jeep Compass Trailhawk facelift interior: Small but comfortable
Inside, the new Trailhawk benefits from the updated Compass’ major interior renovation, giving it the new dashboard, stand-alone 10.1-inch touch screen, steering wheel and highly customizable 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster that, thankfully, also includes a nice screen option with two knobs.
Based on the top specification ‘S’ trim, the Trailhawk also gets goodies like a 360-degree camera, it is useful terrain patching, a large panoramic sunroof and electrically powered and ventilated front seats with memory function for the driver side. In addition, just like the regular compass, the space is not class-leading and the luggage space is almost sufficient.
The seats get ‘Trailhawk’ embroidered in red.
Trailhawk differs from its siblings and gets red stitching on the seats, dashboard and steering, with ‘Trailhawk’ embroidered in the seats. What sets it apart, however, is the Rock mode in the selectable driving modes. Interestingly, while the front-lift car had a separate Sand and Mud mode, the updated car – and thus the new Trailhawk – combined these.
Rock mode sets the Trailhawk apart from the standard Compass.
Jeep Compass Trailhawk facelift: off the beaten track
Driving Trailhawk terrain is quite easy and the Auto mode works well – even the rear differential locks automatically when needed. You can also use the modes manually if you want specific control over the terrain. The snow mode starts the car in higher gears and is extremely gentle with the power, Sand and mud limits wheel spin to prevent you from digging in with too much wheel spin, while the Rock mode allows a little more spin to help you gain a foothold on hard ground.
Higher side walls provide better cushioning, usable terrain.
The modes work well, and the compass climbs pretty much whatever I throw at it; traction is good from the tires and the power delivery is fine and linear, which enables good gas modulation. What really makes a difference and differentiates the Trailhawk are the better terrain angles – 30 degrees for approach, 24 degrees for ramp breaking and 34 degrees for departure. Jeep has not released angles for the new updated compass, but the front-lift car had a 16.8 degree approach, 22.9 degree ramp break and 31.7 degree departure angle.
Another practical piece of terrain is the creep ratio of 20: 1. Interestingly, while others house the gearbox with low gear in the gearbox – and thus multiply the torque coming out of the gearbox – the compass’s low gear ratio is built into the gearbox itself and is in fact the first gear in the gearbox. Thus, for normal driving, the compass starts in the second ratio and gears 2 to 9 are used for normal driving on the road, first for difficult conditions and when 4low is selected. The advantage of this system is that it creates a more efficient flow of power.
Impressive enough, along with the compass’s off-road skill is its on-road manner. At low speeds there is a noticeable body shake and the driving is stiff, but it never crashes through potholes and when you go faster the ride just gets better and better. High speed balance and stability, even over less than perfect road surfaces, are truly impressive and trustworthy. The steering feel is also impressive and there is a good weight on the steering wheel at high speeds. But at parking speeds, while the effort is acceptable, those who prefer a super light wheel will be disappointed.
Along with the Compass Trailhawks off-road skill, its on-road manner is also impressive.
The 170 hp, 2.0-liter diesel engine is very refined, and together with the 9-speed autobox it gives a very smooth driving experience. It is not nimble and powerful and the gearbox is also quite slow to respond, even in manual mode. This does not mean that it is underpowered – the power of the crane is sufficient to speed up – but its soft and linear character is best suited for driving at a steady pace. Compared to the regular car, the Trailhawk also feels less nimble, without a doubt the heavier weight is a factor, which is also evident in its alleged fuel efficiency of 14.9 kpl, lower than 15.3 kpl for the 4X4 ‘S’ trim car.
The 2.0 diesel engine is smooth and refined.
Jeep Compass Trailhawk facelift: verdict
So which compass should you buy? Should you buy one in the first place? If space is a big priority, look elsewhere, but if you are looking for a tough, well-equipped SUV that is a pleasure to drive both on and off-road, then the compass should be high on your list. And then, if you really want to venture out into the terrain and continue where the compass stops, look toward the Trailhawk.
Jeep Compass Trailhawk facelift video review
2021 Jeep Compass facelift review, test drive
2021 Jeep Compass facelift video review