Driven: Jeep Compass Trailhawk

by Kelly Lodewyks

The Jeep Compass Trailhawk was launched during the course of 2019, so I wouldn’t usually call it new. However, seeing as 2020 is basically a write-off, let’s call this Trailhawk a new entry into the SUV market. We’re not quite sure where in the market it sits, but perhaps that is the appeal – it’s a car that’s able to stand entirely on its own.

What is it?
This is a genuine off-road vehicle with actual 4×4, so while it’s very capable of being the family car that can take you from the boardroom to the shopping mall for those socially distanced shopping trips, it’s also great for a day out tackling some off-road tracks and doing some gravel travel.  What does the “Trailhawk” nameplate mean, I hear you say? Well, according to Jeep, this “shows it’s gone through a series of gruelling tests on five categories (traction, manoeuvrability, articulation, water fording, and ground clearance) that prove its off-road capability on some of the toughest trails on the planet.”

How does it look?
In the bright blue of our test model, the Compass Trailhawk looks very slick. It is distinctly Jeep with its slatted front grille and in the shape of the lights, even with its modern twists. The sloping roofline makes it look coupe-like in appearance. It’s honestly a car that looks good in the city driving to business meetings or running family errands.

What about living with it?
I managed to run a variety of errands with this vehicle and I found it to be a great family car. With five people packed in, it looked slightly cramped on the back seat but definitely space that you can get used to living with if you’re not traveling with three grown-ups and two pre-teens every day. I didn’t venture off-road with it, but from what I can tell from the specs, it’s a very capable 4x4ing vehicle with a drivetrain that has options of Snow, Rock, Sand, Mud and Auto. Safety is taken care of in the form of ABS with EBD and brake assist, electronic stability control and six airbags. Other features include lane-keeping assist and cruise control.

How does it go?
It’s not the quickest off the line, but then again, no one sensible is going to use this thing for robot-to-robot-type races. It picks up speed gradually and while I found that I had to change lanes on the highway to move to the slower lanes when going uphill, it was a comfortable, no-fuss drive. The 2.4-litre petrol unit pushes out 129 kW and is mated with a 9-speed automatic transmission.

Should you buy one?
At R599 990, it’s not a cheap buy, but if you’re looking for a family-style SUV with true off-road capabilities, then this should at the very least be a consideration.

Quick Stats: Jeep Compass Trailhawk
Price: R599 990
Powertrain: 2.4L 4×4,  129kW, 229Nm, 9-speed auto
Performance: 185kph top speed, 9.5l/100km fuel consumption

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