Why I Would Buy It?
- Feature-packed premium cabin
- Trail-rated off-road capability
Why I Would Avoid It?
- Limited dealer network
Engine and Performance
The engine option on the 2022 Jeep Compass Trailhawk is the familiar 2.0-litre diesel unit from the Compass. It churns out 168bhp of maximum power and 350Nm of peak torque. Like the standard automatic variants, this mill also comes mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox, but here four-wheel drive is standard. It also boasts Jeep’s SelecTerrain system for better off-road drivability. So, there's no change to the Multijet diesel engine. But the additional off-road equipment has added a bit to its overall weight and even the fuel efficiency is a bit down to 14.9kmpl. The same 4x4 variant in the Limited optional or the Model S optional trim delivers 15.3kmpl. On the other hand, the 4x2 variant has an ARAI- claimed fuel efficiency of 17.3kmpl. Also, the bad news for off-road enthusiasts and fanatics is that this 4x4 trim cannot be had with a manual transmission. There's only this automatic variant.
However, the good thing is the convenience this gearbox provides, complementing the engine well. Sure, you will miss the punchy feel from the manual version, but this one feels more relaxing. With loads of torque available at the bottom-end, the Trailhawk starts pulling right from 1,800rpm without a fuss. Then, it further starts making progress quickly after 2,000rpm, thanks to its strong mid-range. That means you'll be doing triple-digit speeds in no time. Now, that's a compliment for an off-roader as it's not a slow boring drive till the spot where you might actually plan to go off the road.
I'm sure most of the other times you'd want to comfortably cruise on highways or for that matter peacefully commute. For an urban dwelling too, this gearbox does the job well, with its nine closely stacked gear ratios. No, it doesn’t feel seamless, but still provides an adequate response to throttle inputs. And if required, you can shift manually too, but only through the cog as it misses paddle shifters. Still, you'd be mostly in a higher gear with reduced engine speeds, ensuring less engine noise and even reducing fuel consumption.
Ride and Handling
Given its 'Trail' rated specifications, this one is lifted by one inch compared to the regular Compass to provide higher articulation. So, it does ride a little higher. This lifted suspension helps in offering water wading capabilities of up to 19-inch depth. On your usual commute, it will clear the tallest of speed breakers without you having to worry a bit. And yes, if the terrain gets even worse, there’s an additional 'Rock' mode, over the Auto, Snow, and Sand/Mud modes in regular Compass 4x4. Then, there are more aids in the form of hill-start assist, hill descent control, Jeep Active Drive Low that offers a low range and 4WD lock — all that are important for hardcore off-roading. All in all, the suspension setup provides a supple ride without unpleasant clunking or any noise. It's nicely tuned to provide an optimal balance between on-road as well as off-road ride comfort and handling.
Now, with three turns lock-to-lock it has the same 5.7m turning radius as the Compass. So, it’s as easy to manoeuver with a light steering that weighs up adequately as you dial up the speed. Expect some body roll in corners and even side-to-side movement at slow speeds on bad roads. Also, a departure from the standard variants that get Bridgestone tyres, the Trailhawk sports Falken Wildpeaks, which, in 225/60 R17 section are all-season all-terrain tyres. The carmaker claims higher traction capabilities on all types of terrains as with its predecessor. And, we did feel confident as it gripped well even under hard braking. However, the brakes could have had a better bite, especially with a mushy feel at the pedal. But thankfully it's progressive and with a well-tuned ABS, adds to all that assurance.
This is the latest iteration of the Trailhawk based on the Compass facelift, which was launched in India at the beginning of last year. It focuses on off-road upgrades, meaning it comes equipped with hardware that enables it to tackle even more difficult terrain. Of course, this is apart from its stylish appearance. So yes, in terms of cosmetic changes it does get a bit of a nip and tuck. To summarise, there's a tweaked grille, revised headlamps, a decal on the hood, new alloy wheels, a red-coloured towing hook, and yes, finally, the 'Trail-rated' badges. Also, to provide better approach and departure angles, it has these re-mastered bumpers that are different from the regular Compass. So yes, not just cosmetic but purposeful changes too.
Comfort, Convenience, and Features
Inside, things seem familiar in terms of layout, design, quality of materials, and equipment which we appreciated with the facelifted version. The driver seat is now electrically powered, and you sit in a nice driving position with good outward visibility. In fact, even the passenger seat is power-adjustable. The interior follows an all-black theme with 'Trailhawk' embroidered on seats. There's even red stitching for a refreshed appeal. Other bits remain the same as the Compass, with an ergonomic cabin and comfortable seats. Now, I know you would prefer to be in the driver's seat. But then what about your friends in the back seat? Well, there's not really a very generous space to stretch out and the dark interior might make the place feel even more confined. But then your friends won’t complain as the seats are supportive with a slight incline for a comfortable posture. And then the huge sunroof adds to the delight. Now apart from the good amount of storage and stowage places, the SUV has a boot space of 438-litre. It is more than sufficient to accommodate various luggage your friends might bring in. What's more, a powered tailgate further adds to the convenience.
Now, on to some noteworthy features on this top-spec version. It gets a big 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system running on UConnect 5 operating system. Then, there’s the customisable digital instrument cluster that we liked. Furthermore, there's a wireless charger and front ventilated seats. Moreover, this trim doesn't miss out on features like the outgoing one and packs in all the safety suites that Jeep has to offer on its top-spec models.
The Trailhawk brings in the practicality of the Compass with added off-road capability. So, if you love to go off-roading with friends, this one should certainly be on top of your list. After all, it now has all the creature comforts, modern equipment, is frugal, and even easy to drive. It can be your daily driver while also doubling up as an exceptional off-roader for a road-biased SUV. That said, Jeep's limited dealer network might still be a deterrent along with a high price tag like the last version. Upon launch, it will go up against the diesel automatics like the Hyundai Tucson, Mahindra XUV700, and the Isuzu MU-X.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi