Jeep India recently introduced the Compass Trailhawk SUV in the country, positioning it as the hardcore off-roading variant of the popular Compass SUV. Being awarded the in-house ‘Trail Rated 4x4’ badge, the Compass Trailhawk is one of the most competent, yet value-for-money off-roader in India and we tested its abilities to the fullest during our first-drive review. But as it happens, people end up driving SUVs for mostly daily commuting with little or no off-roading at all. The question then is, with the regular Compass in the portfolio, does it make sense to buy a Trailhawk? The only way to find is to test drive the Compass Trailhawk and understand its on-road performance. Here’s our review –
The Jeep Compass Trailhawk is basically the standard Compass with some minor cosmetic changes that distinguish between the two vehicles. The Jeep Compass Trailhawk gets a black anti-glare decal on the bonnet, raised ground clearance, redesigned bumpers for increased approach and departure angles, new dual-tone wheels with Falken all-terrain tyres, and a red tow hook at the rear.
To put things into perspective, the ground clearance now sits at 205mm (30 mm more than the Compass), water wading depth at 840mm, a 26.5 degrees approach angle and 31.6 degrees departure angle.
There are few other changes to the exterior as well like a gunmetal finish on the trademark seven-slat grille, fog lamp surrounds and the window line. The Trail-Rated 4x4 badges on both the fenders add to the charm. All these changes make the Jeep Compass Trailhawk a different beast as compared to the regular Compass. While we drove the white coloured unit for our review, there’s also a red colour on offer.
Inside the cabin, the Jeep Compass Trailhawk gets an all-black treatment and a feature-loaded cabin with a large 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple and Android connectivity, cruise control, 7.0-inch multi-info display, all-weather floor mats, climate control, reverse parking camera and a panoramic sunroof.
However, the Trailhawk misses big time on powered front seats, auto headlamps and wipers, all to save the cost. The Jeep Compass Trailhawk, like the Compass, is not a very practical car and can accommodate four-full grown adults at best. In terms of safety features, the Compass Trailhawk gets six airbags, ABS, ESC, traction control, and hill-start assist as part of the safety kit.
The road test we performed was purely to understand the on-road dynamics of the SUV and not the off-road capabilities, which we have already seen and came out mighty impressed. At the heart of the Trailhawk is the Compass’ 2.0-litre diesel engine that gets few changes including 1) BS-VI compliance in accordance with the upcoming emission norms to be implemented by 1st April 2020 and 2) a 9-speed automatic gearbox.
The engine produces 173hp and 350Nm of torque and can run on BS-IV fuel as well. For the car of this size, the engine output is staggering and you feel the engine outperforming your own expectations at times. The 9-speed auto behaves well and complements the engine well, that has a very prominent low-end torque otherwise, but a not so linear power delivery.
However, the cars behave oddly while downshifting, as if you’re driving a racecar. That being said, the steering is precise and gives you ample feedback on corners. The ride quality is on the softer side and the NVH levels are controlled. The off-roading Falken tyres are not the best ones for on-road driving and are a bit sticky.
A couple of months back when we first tested the Jeep Compass Trailhawk, it screamed off-roading from every angle. We were surprised to see how well the Trailhawk performed in some of the most hostile terrains and off-roading conditions. Add to it the new 9- speed auto gearbox, over 50+ safety features and the iconic Jeep brand name, the Trailhawk seems like a pretty good package on the paper. That being said, most of the owners won’t do off-roading after putting north of Rs 26 lakhs on the Trailhawk and there lies the problem. If you’re one of those people who buy SUV for its road presence, get a top-spec Jeep Compass like the Limited Plus model. Not only will you save several lakh bucks, but you will also be happier with the performance in the daily run.