This is Jeep compass Trailhawk, the more capable terrain-specific version, that is. It comes with a BS-VI-compatible diesel engine, an automatic transmission, mechanical and cosmetic upgrades and a little more. But do these changes make it a potent off-road vehicle in the premium segment for mid-size SUVs? We’ll find out.
Let me first give you a brief overview of the SUV that has turned Jeeps’ fortunes in India. With over 36,000 units sold since its launch in India, the compass for the jeep is what water is for a fish. The SUV created a frenzy when the prices were announced as early as 2017, and over time, Compass has established itself as a premium offer in its segment.
Now the Jeep Compass was always a handsome car, and the Trailhawk takes a couple of notches longer. Although the overall design is similar to the standard model, it gets some cosmetic and functional changes. These include a black decal with anti-glare on the hood, and the party trick is “Trail Rated” moniker on the front fenders. It also gets a matte gunmetal finish on the front grille, fog light frame, ORVM, roof, pillars and window line. Despite all their claims of robustness, the double red towbars at the front are eye-catching with their absence in the Indian edition. However, this has been done to comply with the new pedestrian safety standards. However, the SUV gets a rear towbar, which can pull 1.5X of the total weight.
The Compass Trailhawk comes with redesigned front and rear bumpers and increased ground clearance, which is now 205 mm. The SUV gets improved approach, departure and departure angles. This, complete with higher ground clearance, helps the SUV to cope with tougher terrain with safety. Then there are the new 17-inch alloy wheels with double tones, while Jeep India has also thrown in Falken Wildpeak HT tires for all terrain. The Compass Trailhawk has a higher air intake, which means that the SUV can drive a water discharge capacity of 483 mm. The terrain properties are further improved by the chassis’ sliding tiles and floor mats for all weathers.
Unlike the exteriors, the interior of the Jeep Compass Trailhawk has a handful of changes. What sets Trailhawk apart from the standard model are the all-black interiors with red accents around the instrument cluster, gear lever and speakers. The SUV comes with contrasting red seams on the steering wheel, seats and door cushions, and it also gets the “Trailhawk” mark on the front seats. The seats themselves are well reinforced and offer excellent side support. There is nothing wrong with the quality of the materials in the cabin. That said, while the Compass Trailhawk will be the best model, it will miss out on equipment that is standard on the Limited Plus trim. The trailhawk does not have an electric driver’s seat and automatic headlights and wipers. Heck, the panoramic sunroof is also available as an option on the Compass Trailhawk.
Still, the Trailhawk is nicely equipped with model-first features. This includes engine start / stop function, a new 7-inch multi-information display and ground control, all of which are not available in the standard version. Safety equipment that complements the package includes six airbags, traction control, ESC, hill-start assist and an electronic parking brake. The package also includes features such as an 8.4-inch infotainment system with touch screen with navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, advanced cruise control with speed limiter, bi-xenon headlights and keyless entry / go.
The Jeep Compass Trailhawk is offered with a BS-VI-compatible 2.0-liter Multijet Turbo II diesel engine paired with a ZF-source 9-speed automatic transmission and Jeeps Active Drive 4×4 system. The Jeep has been working on the inside of the engine, and the engine has been tuned to improve the initial rattle. That said, the engine gets quite loud when it passes 3,000 rpm. But then there would only be a few cases such as overtaking when the engine has to be worked a little. Otherwise, the power delivery is linear and with a strong midrange it can be tough and comfortable.
Now for the automatic transmission, the carmaker uses a nine-speed ZF gearbox that offers tightly stacked gears and gears early in an attempt to improve fuel efficiency. This gearbox does not get a dedicated sport mode, but there is an option for manual shifting (without paddle changer). This is not as cool as you would like. That said, the gearbox is somewhat slow to respond to gas inputs with some delay in the gears. This results in a certain movement back and forth of your body as you shift up. Let us now give you a description of the SUV’s off-road condition.
In Jeep’s borders, the Trailhawk brand is not issued but earned. And when Jeep says its SUV is “Trail Rated”, they mean serious off-road cred. All “Trail Rated” Jeep SUVs are tested on five parameters – traction, ground clearance, articulation (ramp index 321), maneuverability and water lining. And in order for us to test the Compass Trailhawks’ off-road capability, Jeep had designed an off-road track, where we had to take the vehicle through deeply dug ditches, a patch of boulders, small ponds, hill climbing, down mountains, and everything in between.
The Active Drive 4X4 system on the Compass Trailhawk comes with Jeep’s Active Drive Low function and a locking rear differential, which provides a final drive ratio of 4,334 and a creep ratio of 20: 1. The Selec-Terrain drive system also has a dedicated Rock mode, in addition to the Sand, Snow, Mud and Auto modes. The abundance of torque that the ‘4WD Low’ mode offered around this circuit helped us to overcome the various obstacles.
First came the axle bending section, where we got to test the vehicle’s articulation. Then there was a spot full of rocks, followed by technical curves and steep slopes and falls. Things got easier with the improved approach (26.5 degrees), break-over (21.2 degrees) and departure angles (31.6 degrees), and the underbody protection also meant that we did not have to worry much about possible injuries to the stomach. . along the track.
Furthermore, the descent control on the hill came in and took the vehicle downhill at crawl speeds. All we needed to do was steer in the right direction. With happy humming, the driveline shortened the tricky obstacles and the easy steering also helped us a lot in such conditions. In addition, the Trailhawk also gets a disconnecting rear axle function and a power take-off unit (PTU) which are again useful when the situation is not as demanding.
Jeep has tuned the steering according to the Indian driving conditions. It is light for city driving / off-road conditions and weighs up nicely at highway speeds. The steering is direct and points the car in the right direction with the least possible input. It gives a good feeling and does not drag itself to get back to the center. The steering is not overly assisted either.
Trailhawk also has a completely independent suspension set-up, with high-tech FSD (frequency-sensitive damping) from Koni. The suspension is praiseworthy and these help the SUV to provide a plush ride quality. While the low speed is slightly on the stiffer side, the high speed journey is compounded. The car manufacturer has redesigned the suspension to counteract the increased weight and the increased height. A hydraulic rebound stopper (HRS) has been used to attenuate the clumping sound if the SUV goes over sharp potholes and speed switches. Even for the cabin’s insulation, there is hardly any wind / road noise that filters into the cabin. The terrain tires offer good grip throughout, but they also scream during normal cornering. The brakes give good progression and feel. But we would have loved a stronger prayer for security.
|Cylinder volume||2.0 liters|
|Max. Effect (bhp @ rpm)||171 @ 3750|
|Max. torque (Nm @ rpm)||350 @ 1750|
|Fuel capacity (in liters)||60-liter|
|Tire size||225/60 R17|
|Jeep Active Drive 4WD||°|
|Bi-Xenon projector headlights||°|
|Six airbags, ABS and ESP with Hill Descent Control||°|
|Two-zone automatic climate control||°|
|8.4-inch touch screen infotainment system and 7-inch color MID||°|
Competition All specifications
|Variant||2.0-liter 4X4 AT||2.2-liter 4X4 AT|
|Max. Effect (bhp @ rpm)||182 @ 4000||155 @ 3750|
|Max. torque (Nm @ rpm)||400 @ 1750||360 @ 1750|
|Fuel capacity (in liters)||62||70|
|Tire size||225/55 R18||235/60 R18|
The answer we wanted to look for at the beginning of the review was, is the Compass Trailhawk a capable premium off-road SUV? The simple answer to this is a resounding yes. The Jeep Compass Trailhawk shines on off-road trails, drives well, is packed with features and offers the convenience of an automatic transmission. Sure, it could have done better with a sporty gearbox and a smoother low-speed driving. But these shortcomings are not significant enough not to consider the SUV. Now, just in case the company reasonably prices it at around 26 lakhs (ex-showroom), Jeep India will have a winner on hand.
Photograph by Kapil Angane
₹ 18.03 lakh