The SUV segment in India is increasingly turning out to be the most popular. People want the SUV look and feel plus the ability to go on long road trips and handle our roads better. However in the SUV segment most of them are not actual SUVs. Yes, without 4×4 an SUV is not an off-roader by any chance but demand for 4×4 is actually quite less which explains why most do not offer 4×4. However Jeep begs to differ. The Compass has been successful and does steady numbers month on month with a dedicated fan base. However the need for a more hardcore off-road version plus a diesel automatic was something that the Indian SUV lover was crying out loud for.
Finally the wait is over as Jeep will launch the Compass Trailhawk by next month and here is a detailed review of it as we take it through a tough off-road course and on-road.
You would notice that the Compass Trailhawk looks different from the standard Compass and it is. The biggest change is the front where the bumpers are altered for better approach and departure angles as the bumpers will not hit anything. There are tougher skid plates too for protection in case you do. However with the ground clearance increased to 205mm, you do not need them.
Elsewhere there are new 17inch wheels with all-terrain tyres. In the looks department the Trailhawk looks tougher and sportier. The blackened grille, dual tone roof, and the massive black decal (which helps reduce glare while off-roading-not just for styling) plus of course the Trailhawk badging along with ‘Trail rated’ badge signify its off-road status. Quality is very good and it feels tough.
Interiors and features
Inside again it is a change as there is an all black cabin with red contrast stitching. It looks sportier and is well done. Quality is excellent with a premium feel save for a few places. Space is decent and good enough for four. The Compass Trailhawk though is not as well equipped as the Compass Limited Plus as Jeep wanted to keep it at a cost with all the changes it has done.
Thus it does not get powered driver’s seat or auto headlamps or wipers. But you do get everything else. There is cruise control, a big 8.4 inch touchscreen, navigatIon, rear ac vents, panoramic sunroof, push button start, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, multi-information display, electronic parking brake etc.
In safety you get six airbags, hill-start assist, hill descent control, ESC, traction control. The AC has been improved along with navigation and both worked well for us.
Engine and Driving
The big change here is the BS6 Compliant diesel that only the Trailhawk will have. But while it is BS6 Compliant it can run on BS4 fuel as it has AdBlue which makes this possible. You need to top it once in 15k kms or at your service. The engine makes 170hp and 350Nm of torque while it also debuts the 9-speed torque converter automatic. There is also 4×4 low and an extra rock mode for its off-road setting plus more hardcore off-road oriented changes.
First on the road and here the new BS6 diesel feels so much quieter over the earlier one. Then the 9-speed automatic at low speeds is quite smooth and responsive. In city traffic it is so much easier than the manual Compass. The steering too feels easier and overall it is more relaxing. Up the speed and the Compass Trailhawk responds there too.
Yes, sudden downshifts take time as the gearbox is a touch slow. The only issue I have is that there are no paddleshifts or even a Sports mode. You need to manually shift via the gearlever. That said overall the cruising and driving experience is much better over the current Compass.
Off-road is where the real talents show. Thus you get a more advanced 4×4 system with low-range and a rear locking differential. This means the car manages torque and traction superbly and which gives you ability to go anywhere. Like we did.
Steep drops, massive rocks and streams are all taken easily by the Trailhawk. We used Rock mode to climb over the massive rocks and it did it. On the massive drops, the hill descent control took over and we just handled the steering. The extra ground clearance and the updated bumpers also meant we did not hit anything. Also worth noting is that Jeep updated the suspension and that means it has got a superb ride. Over really bad surfaces the car took it all. On the road the extra ground clearance has not suffered the handling. It still handles good.
The Compass Trailhawk is going to be the most expensive Compass with a price of near Rs 26 lakh. That means 3-4 lakhs more over the Compass Limited Plus. However the price is worth it. This SUV has no rivals in terms of off-road ability. There is the Honda CR-V diesel with a 9-speed auto but it not as fun or as good off-road.
More than that the new engine plus automatic will draw in buyers. The fact that it is superb off-road also helps. Below Rs 30 lakh no other SUV combines off-road and luxury/convenience so well. So yes it is worth your money even if you are not a hardcore off-roader but you will be when you buy this!
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