The Jeep Compass has come a long way since we first saw it in 2007. The ugly duckling has been transformed into something a little more congruent in the jeep line up. If you look quickly, you might even confuse it with its much bigger brother, the Grand Cherokee.
I really like the new style. The big grill and Grand Cherokee style headlights, really have transformed it aesthetically. Interestingly, the 2.4 engine has more or less, stayed the same over the last couple of years. There was a diesel mill offered previously too and from what I understand, it is still being offered overseas, but our quality is still too poor. Such a pity.
But more about the Compass Trailhawk. The Trailhawk range means that it has been tested in set offroad conditions and means it’s a little more capable off the beaten path than its siblings. The Trailhawk also features a 20:1 crawl ratio. It may not be much, but I can assure you that when the going gets tough, it makes all the difference in the world. It could potentially save your vehicle from trail damage.
On the exterior, you have bright red tow hooks on the front, a black vinyl sticker on the hood, and blacked-out Jeep badges front and rear. The Trailhawk is also slightly higher and has different bumpers to increase the approach and departure angles.
On the interior side of things, it’s unmistakably Jeep. The comfy electrically operated seats are cooled too but are still missing a heated function. The infotainment system is pretty easy to figure out and has a pretty good sounding audio system to it. It’s not as boomy as the Harmon Kardon in the more upmarket models, but it still does a pretty good job. There is also a big tilt and slide sunroof, which makes the cabin very light and airy. There is plenty of soft-touch and hard plastics in the cabin, which is to be expected with a vehicle of this nature.
On the road, the Trailhawk rides stiff. I expected it to ride more like a typical softroader, with plenty of lean in the turns, but surprisingly, this was not the case. Off the pavement is where the Trailhawk shines and it handles gravel roads with ease. It very stable and the traction control makes sure it keeps the vehicle straight, even on loose sandy surfaces.
The 2.4l Tigershark engine making 129kw is where I feel the vehicle is let down. Acceleration is sluggish and consumption is relatively high, although pretty much on par with most 2.4’s like the Mitsubishi Outlander and Renault Koleos. If you drive very carefully, you can achieve 8-9l/100km, but overall, expect about 11l/100km. Not exactly horrible, but not good either.
The tailgate is electrically operated and the loading space is rated at 438l. The seats also flip 40/20/40 and you should get a full-size mountain bike in there with a squeeze.
The excellent amount of safety kit really impressed me with 6 bags in total, adaptive cruise control, abs, ebd with brake assist. Isofix is standard too.
This segment is really competitive and while I feel the Compass Trailhawk comes with a premium over the other Compact SUV’s it’s going to be a tough choice when it comes to signing on the dotted line. It is probably one of the most capable soft-roaders on the market but might be a little too extreme for some. Then there is the price of just over R600 000, which also puts you in a full-size SUV market, should you want to consider that. The Jeep comes with a 3 year 100 000km warranty and a service plan.
If you want a funky looking and very capable compact Suv, the Jeep Compass Trailhawk should be on your shortlist.