The Jeep Compass is essentially a front wheel driven compact crossover designed primarily for on-road usage but since it is a Jeep, giving it some off-road prowess is politically the right thing to do. That’s exactly what the American SUV specialist has done with the fully-loaded Compass TrailHawk AWD variant.
Launched in India earlier this year, the Jeep Compass TrailHawk, as the name suggests, is ‘Trail Rated’. As any Jeep enthusiast would know, in order to earn the Trail Rated badge, the SUV should pass extremely rigorous off-road trials in addition to complying with strict specifications regarding traction, ground clearance, water wading, axle articulation and maneuverability.
We recently came across this video (credit – Anshuman Bishnoi Youtube channel) of Indian off-road enthusiasts putting the Jeep Compass TrailHawk through some weekend challenges. The crossover was accompanied by proven ladder frame 4x4s such as Ford Endeavour, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Tata Safari Storme, Isuzu D-Max and Maruti Gypsy.
As can be seen, the Trail Rated Compass AWD finds the steep climbs with soft surface insurmountable despite trying in different traction control settings. The ground clearance seems to be the primary issue here as pushing it hard could increase the chances of damaging vital parts under the body. Moreover, the traction control system doesn’t seem to respond to the loose mud as it should.
To be fair, all other SUVs in the fleet are decidedly bigger with much better ground clearance and have proper 4×4 system with low-transfer case. So, comparing their off-road performance with that of the Compass TrailHawk is really stretching it. That said, one would expect a bit more talent from a Trail Rated Jeep.
Priced at INR 26.80 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Jeep Compass TrailHawk is powered by the 2.0-liter MultiJet II diesel engine that puts out 170 hp and 350 Nm of torque. Mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission, the crossover is equipped with Selec-Terrain system that adjusts the vehicle’s traction control to suit surfaces like snow, sand, mud and rock. It also gets hill descent control, frequency selective damping suspension, all-terrain tyres and better approach and departure angles compared to the regular variants.
This video suggests that if proper weekend off-roading fun is what you are after, you may be better off with a ladder frame 4×4 SUV with low-transfer case.