Jeep Compass Trailhawk - First Drive Review

10/06/2019 - 10:30 | ,  ,  ,   | Yatharth Chauhan

What is it?

The Jeep Compass Trailhawk is the more off-road-biased version of its regular iteration. The new model features a host of styling upgrades, with some of them even having a functional edge to them. On the inside, the Trailhawk features darker hues and a revised instrument console. Of course, the highlight of the entire package is the more robust off-road hardware, which helps the SUV make short work of the most daunting obstacles. Moreover, the Trailhawk marks the debut of the diesel-automatic combo for the Indian market. Finally, it even brings in the BSVI-compliant 2.0 Multijet II oil-burner. With enough new bits on the table, the Jeep Compass Trailhawk could very well create a niche for itself. Our first drive review here should detail all there’s to know about the new kid on the block.

Looks the same, no?

Well, to an untrained eye, the Jeep Compass Trailhawk would look pretty much the same as the regular version. A careful look, however, would highlight several discrepancies in the styling packages of the two siblings. To begin with, the new model features a prominent matte black hood decal, which not only plays a part in helping the Trailhawk enjoy a distinct identity but also reduces the dashboard reflection on the windscreen, thereby enhancing the user convenience when being driven under direct sunlight. The radiator grille is new, too, and works in tandem with the higher-set air-intake to bestow the new model with enhanced water-wading capacity. Speaking of which, the new model can effortlessly drive through a water-crossing with a depth of 483 mm, which is a remarkable improvement over the standard model’s water-wading depth of 330 mm.

Jeep Compass Trailhawk Front Quarter Left

The bumpers have been redone and endow the Trailhawk with improved approach and departure angles of 26.5 degrees and 31.6 degrees, respectively. In the side profile, the Trailhawk features bespoke dual-tone 17-inch wheels shod with Falken  WILDPEAK H/T 01A2 tires and a grey trim around the greenhouse. The rear-end features a Ruby Red tow hook that can pull 1.5 times the weight of the Trailhawk. Other than this, the new model enjoys a higher ground clearance of 205 mm and a pair of skid plates that protect the underbelly from potential damage while treading off the road.

On the inside

The interior of the Jeep Compass Trailhawk features an all-black colour theme with contrast red stitching on the leather upholstery, and red trim sprinkled all around the cabin. The new model has been equipped with an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment unit that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and go, cruise control, 6 airbags, Electronic Roll Mitigation, Electronic Parking Brake, Hill Start Assist, Hill Hold Assist, ISOFIX child seat restraints, Traction Control, Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Parking Brake and more. Exclusive features for the Trailhawk include a 7.0-inch multi-information display and engine start/stop system. However, the new model misses out on the electric seat adjustments for the driver’s seat and auto headlamps.

Jeep Compass Trailhawk Review Images Interior Dash

On the go

The Jeep Compass Trailhawk is powered by a BSVI-compliant 2.0-litre Multijet II turbo-diesel motor that produces a maximum power of 170 bhp and a peak torque of 350 Nm. Apart from being a cleaner unit than its BSIV iteration, the updated oil-burner offers a flatter torque curve and a more linear power delivery. The driver benefits from well-controlled turbo lag and a strong mid-range, which means the Jeep Compass Trailhawk is a sprightly performer. The company has even worked on the NVH levels, which leads to a slight improvement in occupant comfort.

Jeep Compass Revoew Images Action Jump

The engine comes mated to a ZF-sourced 9-speed torque-converter automatic transmission that offers smooth and well-timed shifts. One can even use the manual mode to override the electronics. There’s little to complain here if you can ignore the slight reluctance to downshift on stepping hard on the gas. The reworked steering is precise and gains weight as speeds rise, while the ride quality is as plush as ever. The only little grouse here is that the brakes can do with some more bite, but we could be nit-picking here.

Off the beaten tarmac

It’s off the road where the Jeep Compass Trailhawk comes into its elements. The new model offers Jeep Active Drive System and Jeep Active Drive Low with a final drive ratio of 4:334 and a crawl ratio of 20:1. Also, apart from the Auto, Mud, Snow and Sand drive modes, the Trailhawk even offers a ‘Rock’ mode to help you optimise the vehicle behaviour as per the exact driving conditions.

Jeep Compass Trailhawk Review Images Off Roading A

We drove the Jeep Compass Trailhawk on a rather challenging off-road course that helped us put all that hardware to use. The Trailhawk simply sailed through the biggest of the hurdles, while keeping the occupants cocooned from the harsh terrain. The new model encountered several articulations, ascends and descents, water-crossings and rocky patches. However, not even the most daunting of the obstacles could disturb the demeanour of the new model. The robust 4x4 system, Low Range, Hill Hold Assist and Selec Drive Modes ensured the Trailhawk could drive through the entire stretch without breaking a sweat.

Should I buy one?

The Jeep Compass Trailhawk should impress hardcore off-road drivers who have been looking for a sufficiently premium and comfortable daily runabout. The new model is decidedly more capable than the regular version and promises to be as robust as any of the large ladder-frame SUVs that have traditionally been the choice of the off-roading enthusiasts. Moreover, the Trailhawk is currently the only diesel-sipping version of the Compass that comes equipped with an automatic transmission, which means the new model should appeal to all those who have been waiting for the diesel-automatic option for the Compass.

Jeep Compass Trailhawk Review Images Front

Pricing of the Jeep Compass Trailhawk isn’t out yet, but we expect it to cost roughly Rs 28 lakh (on-road). At this price point, the Trailhawk would be an expensive piece of kit, but it makes terrific sense for everyone who has been looking for a highly capable off-road vehicle that looks good, offers excellent driving dynamics and comes with a well-built and a feature-laden cabin.

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