2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4WD Review

4WD Jeep Compass Road Test

Jeep Compass Trailhawk Overview

Jeep launched their all new Jeep Compass late in 2017 to Australia. Given that the last compass was a very soft option, the addition of the Trailhawk version for the latest generation is welcomed.

The Jeep Compass is available in four different trim-level configurations: Sport, Longitude, Limited and for the first time ever, as mentioned, Trailhawk.

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

The compact SUV segment is becoming more crowded, but with very few real dual range 4WD options.

This segment represents about 20% of the total growing SUV segment, so its importance is not to be underestimated.

FCA has a couple of offerings currently, with the Fiat 500 X and the Jeep Renegade.

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Jeep Compass Trailhawk Exterior

The Compass Trailhawk looks unmistakably like a Jeep. It features the historically significant 7 slot grill, a bold squat muscular design and in the case of the red with black bonnet, a striking appearance.

It has a slightly snub nose and short rear overhang. From the side it sweeps through the high waistline and slightly sweeps up at the rear.

From the front it looks like a smaller version of the Grand Cherokee.

The Trailhawk features:

  • 5 spoke 18-inch alloy wheels with 17 inch 225.60 AT tyres and full size spare
  • Bi-Xenon headlamps.
  • LED tail lamps
  • Heated external mirrors
  • Black bonnet dual tone anti-glare decal, optional dual pane sunroof
  • Fog and cornering lights, DRL’s
  • Raised profile fascia front and rear
  • Roof rails, rear spoiler and Trail Rated badges.

In short the Jeep Compass Trailhawk looks very stylish and gets a big tick from me.

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Jeep Compass Trailhawk Interior

The first thing as a driver, you notice is the upright seating position. It actually feels good. The leather seats are supportive but a little hard on the squab.

The driver’s seat is multi electrically adjustable with an additional lumbar support that is appreciated.

There are relatively deep side bolsters for the hips and rib region. Taller drivers will easily find enough room.

In front of the driver is a nice and thick leather steering wheel, both height and reach adjustable, featuring controls for the MFD, audio system and cruise control.

Visibility is pretty good over bonnet and out the side and rear. The ‘A’ pillars, like most modern cars cause a blind spot.

In front of the driver is a dual dial dash with a configurable MFD in between the dials. Clear, easy to read and use and well designed.

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Note that when you select a drive program, it displays briefly in the MFD.

Front passenger seat again is comfortable, if a little flat and manually adjustable. You do feel as though you are siting up high in it though.

There is a neat lift up seat base that provides a hideaway for valuables etc. as well.

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Rear seats are really designed for two occupants. They have a short seat squab and can feel a little flat also.

However, surprisingly, there is a lot of room back there for taller passengers with more than adequate head, shoulder and knee and foot room.

For rear passenger comfort there are A/C vents, USB ports and a fold down central arm rest with cup holders.

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

The rear sets fold almost flat in a 60/40 configuration. This gives the boot a very useable load space. With the rear seats in the normal position, the cargo volume Is 438L.

The wide wheel arches allows a fair amount of luggage to be taken, even with four occupants.

One really good feature is the high opening boot lid, enough for my 190cm to easily fit under.

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Generally storage is pretty good with reasonably large door pockets for bottles, cup holders in the centre tunnel, large glove box and smallish centre console bin. There isn’t a lot of room for phone or wallet around the transmission tunnel though.

Overall the interior, with its red leather trim and soft touch points for arms and elbows, feels spacious, light and comfortable.

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Jeep Compass Trailhawk Features/Technology

The Trailhawk features:

  • Uconnect® 8.4-Inch NAV Radio,
  • 4-inch Touchscreen Display,
  • Satellite Navigation,
  • Apple Carplay® Android Auto®,
  • Digital Radio (DAB+),
  • Bluetooth® Phone & Audio Streaming,
  • AM/FM Radio,
  • ParkView reverse parking camera
  • Dual Zone Climate Control
  • Automatic electronic park brake,
  • Deep tinted privacy glass
  • Driver seat memory with Power lumbar adjust
  • Heated front seats
  • Passive entry. Remote Start and Keyless Go

There is an optional package that just might be worthwhile. It’s the Advanced Technology Group, which costs about $2,450. This includes:

  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Exterior mirror Courtesy lamp
  • Power lift Gate
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (w Stop & Go)
  • Auto High Beam
  • Blind Spot Monitoring w/Rear Cross Path Detect

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Jeep Compass Trailhawk Engine and Drivetrain

The Trailhawk is powered by a 2.0L multi jet turbo diesel engine that produces power of125kW @ 3750rpm and torque of 350Nm @ 1750rpm.

Fuel economy on the freeway got down to 6.1L/100K and around town we averaged about 9.0L/100K.

The engine is mated to a 9 speed automatic transmission. In addition the Trailhawk has a dual range 4X4 system.

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4WD Capability

To earn the Trail Rated badge, Jeep puts its cars through some of the toughest terrains available. Unlike a lot of other “rated 4wd’s”, if a Jeep bears this moniker, then you know it will perform off road.

To facilitate this the Trailhawk features the advanced Jeep Active Drive Low 4×4 system offering Auto, Sand, Mud, Snow modes for the best driving experience on all terrains.

As mentioned it is the only Compass with a dual range transmission that includes the exclusive Rock mode to its Selec-Terrain.

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Bearing witness to the real 4WD credentials, the Trailhawk is adorned with exclusive design style that includes:

  • Off-road suspension,
  • Raised ride height.
  • Unique front and rear fascia for improved approach and departure angles
  • Red recovery hooks, front and rear,
  • Hill Descent Control,
  • Four underbody skid plates,
  • 5 Spoke off road alloy wheels and tyres and full size spare wheel,
  • All weather floor mats and reversible cargo mat

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Jeep Compass Trailhawk What is it like to Drive

On road the Trailhawk is a reasonable drive. There is little tyre rumble or wind noise and the off road suspension soaks up bumps and road irregularities easily.

It certainly isn’t any powerhouse, preferring to be lazy rather than zippy.

If pushed it will scoot along, but the diesel really prefers to go about its business without fuss or being pushed.

One thing that was noticeable was that the diesel engine has a lot of engine braking and combined with the transmission, I found it engine braking on road when I didn’t want it to. If you back off the accelerator it doesn’t just slow down, the transmission will often downshift, causing a jerky progression.

Nothing major, but slightly annoying and took a little getting used to. I drove the Compass Limited petrol the week before I had the Trailhawk and this jerkiness wasn’t evident at all.

The steering wheel is nice and thick and provides really good feedback and the response to steering input is pretty good.

So on road the Trailhawk drives, rides and handles pretty much like others in the segment.

Where it exceeds most competitors is off road.

As you would have guessed by now the Trailhawk is a true 4WD.

The combination of jeeps legendary dual range system and design features means that when you turn off the black top, the Trailhawk tends to excel.

I had an opportunity to play on some dirt trails that were wet, slippery and a little rutted. The Compass Trailhawk took it all in its stride.

Nothing really fazed it. Like most standard 4WD’s it isn’t a rock hopper, but it will soak up most of what normal drivers will throw at it with ease.

I did have an opportunity to drive extensively on sand. Here the Trailhawk was awesome. I tried the 4WD system firstly in the selected sand mode.

As it changed the engine transmission mapping and restricted the gearing I found this was better suited to climbing dunes and really soft sand.

I then tried the Trailhawk in auto 4WD mode and it performed better on the beach front.

The particular beach I go to has an entrance that has floating sand (sometimes up to 1.4m deep) over a hard base track.

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Because of this I didn’t let my tyres down at all and ran them as they were, on 30 psi rear and 32 psi front.

Normally you would feel the effects of this when driving, but the Trailhawk simply glided over the sand, merely dismissing it as an inconvenience.

I would however choose my off road tracks as creek crossings might prove problematic with a low wading depth.

Having said that the approach, departure and rampover angles of the Trailhawk are better that the Toyota Fortuner with the same unladen ground clearance.

Take a moment to let that sink in and you realise how serious the Trailhawk can be off road.

Overall off road driving in the Jeep Compass Trailhawk is impressive!

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Jeep Compass Trailhawk Dimensions

The Compass Trailhawk has an:

  • overall length of 4398mm,
  • wheelbase of 2636mm,
  • width of 1819mm,
  • Height of 1657mm,
  • Unladen ground clearance is 225mm,
  • Approach angle is 30.3 degrees, rampover is 24.4 and departure angle is 33.3 degrees.
  • Wading depth is 480mm,
  • Turning circle is 10.76m,
  • GVM of 2189kg, GCM 3539kg (AT)
  • Towing capacity is 1500kg and tow ball rating is up to 10%

Jeep Compass Trailhawk Safety

The Trailhawk has a 5 star ANCAP Safety rating. It includes over 70 safety features throughout the car including:

  • Parkview™ Reverse Parking Camera with Dynamic Distance Gridlines
  • ParkSense® Front & Rear Parking Sensors
  • 7 Airbags (2 Front, 2 Side Curtain, 2 Side Seat, 1 Driver Knee)
  • Parallel & Perpendicular Park Assist with Stop
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Electronic Roll Mitigation
  • Traction Control
  • Trailer Sway Control
  • Engine Immobiliser
  • Rain Brake Support

Optional features

  • Full Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus LSU
  • Lane Departure Warning Plus LAS
  • Blind Spot Monitoring
  • Rear Cross Path Detection
  • Advanced Brake Assist

Jeep Compass Trailhawk Conclusion

When Jeep reintroduced the Compass in late 2017 it radically changed the product. The inclusion of the Trailhawk is a welcome addition.

Jeep Compass Trailhawk is a true 4WD vehicle that will stand toe to toe with some much larger, better rated 4WD wagons.

It looks great, is as much at home in the inner city as it is on the Birdsville Track, will carry four adults in comfort and provides much needed character to the small medium SUV segment.

Jeep designed a brilliant Grand Cherokee that was a bitter disappointment with reliability and warranty issues.

Let’s hope they have fixed those issues with the Compass and they should sell a heap of them.

2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Jeep Compass Trailhawk Alternatives

What’s Good?

  • 4WD capability
  • Style and design
  • Interior ambience

What’s Not?

  • Engine braking on road
  • Safety features as optional extras
  • Small centre console storage

Model Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4WD

  • Model Price $49,462 RDAP
  • Drivetrain 4WD 2.0L 4 Cyl diesel 9 SP AT
  • Power 125kW @ 3,750rpm
  • Torque 350Nm @ 1,750rpm
  • Safety 5 Star ANCAP
  • CO2 Emissions 150 g/km
  • Economy (ADR comb) 5.7L/100km
  • Tow Capacity – 1500Kg
  • Tow Ball Rating 150Kg
  • Servicing 5 Yrs. Capped Price
  • Warranty 5yr/100,000 km with Lifetime full roadside assist

Overall Rating 80/100

  • Behind the Wheel 8
  • Comfort 8
  • Equipment 7
  • Performance 8
  • Ride & Handling 8
  • Practicality 9
  • Fit for Purpose 9
  • Towing Ability 6
  • Off Road Ability 9
  • Value for Money 8
2018 Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4WD
  • Rating


When Jeep reintroduced the Compass in late 2017 it radically changed the product. The inclusion of the Trailhawk is a welcome addition.

Jeep Compass Trailhawk is a true 4WD vehicle that will stand toe to toe with some much larger, better rated 4WD wagons.

About Rob Fraser 2504 Articles
Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame. Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive. He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. In addition to 4WD he is an avid motoring enthusiast and has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since his teens. He has owned way too many cars in his time as well. Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures. He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing.