Jeep_Compass_Trailhawk_frontJeep has book-ended its petrol-powered range of Compass small sports utility vehicles for 2020 with new entry-level Night Eagle front-wheel drive and S-Limited all-wheel drive variants.

The second-generation Compass is offered with six variants and four specification levels – Sport, Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk – with the choice of diesel or petrol engines and six-speed manual or six or nine-speed automatic transmissions.

With a move upmarket, gone are the Sport and Longitude, with the Night Eagle front-wheel drive landing with a price of $36,950, plus on-road costs, while the S-Limited AWD, at $45,950, slots into the Compass world between the Limited and the turbodiesel top model, the Trailhawk ($49,450).

In keeping with the substantial increase in prices, Jeep has upgraded safety and equipment across the range with lane departure warning plus, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning plus, rear parking alarm and rear cross traffic detection. Uconnect now has an 8.4-inch screen and there’s satellite navigation.

Jeep Compass buyers from the maker’s new capped price servicing program that offers the first five services at $399 apiece.

I was given a taste of the top-dog Trailhawk for a stint on and off road.

Jeep has stuck to the styling of the 2018 Trailhawk with the new Compass, considered by the maker as a baby Grand Cherokee, carrying many of the design cues of its premium cousin, for example the seven-slot radiator grille and trapezoidal wheel arches.

However, the former has been given a fresh look by each individual chrome slot being set in a gloss black background, while LED signature headlamp bezels feature a black outline.

Jeep_Compass_Trailhawk_rearA sporty roofline and bold fender flares make for a muscular profile, while all-round glass and the availability of a gloss black roof ($545) add a touch of uniqueness, while dual-glass sunroof ($1950) delivers the open-air hallmark Jeep feeling to the cabin. The LED tail lamps make the Compass instantly recognisable as a Jeep.

The Trailhawk has gained an increase in ride height of almost 250mm, skid plates, red tow hooks, a unique front and rear that delivers 30 degree approach, 24.4 degree breakover and 33.6 degree departure angles, 17-inch off-road tyres and up to 216 mm of ground clearance.

The Trailhawk includes leather appointed seats with power adjustment for driver, plus memory and adjustable lumbar support for driver and front passenger. All-weather floor mats and reversible cargo mat protect the floor covering from soiling.

The trapezoidal centre stack bezel is a characteristic Jeep design. The instrument cluster features a 7-inch LED information display that the driver can configure to his or her liking for easier access while driving and is standard on Trailhawk.

The centre console brings together gear-shift selector, SelecTerrain controls, electronic parking brake, engine stop / start switch, climate and audio control knobs, and easily-reached media charging and connectivity ports inside the storage area.

An 8.4-inch touchscreen provides the gateway to the Uconnect infotainment system. The cabin is kept entertained by an impressive nine-speaker sound system.

Advanced technology includes all-new infotainment systems, including Uconnect 5.0 and 8.4NAV, delivering communication, entertainment and navigation, the last features a high definition touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for hands-free phone, navigation (on 8.4NAV) and voice texting.

The diesel motor in Compass is the 2.0-litre MultiJet II with stop / start technology, paired with the nine-speed automatic gearbox. It offers 125kW at 4000 rpm and peak torque of 350 Nm at a low 1750 rpm. This is offered in Trailhawk only.

The Trailhawk was given a five-star ANCAP safety rating when tested a few years ago before autonomous emergency braking came on the scene. It possibly would not have scored so well now.

It has seven airbags is added adaptive cruise control, reverse parking camera, front and rear parking sensors and park assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic detection.

The turbodiesel Trailhawk was hesitant in spooling up for overtaking slow moving traffic, not the ‘prompt response’ promised by the maker.

The nine-speed transmission had its problems, with some shifting taking place often when it did not appear necessary – a surfeit of sufficiency, I suppose.

In comparison with modern diesel motors this oldish unit was noisy. Fuel consumption failed to match the maker’s claim of 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined urban / highway cycle. Ours used 9.4 litres in the city and 6.6 litres per hundred on the open road.

Intelligent full-time 4×4 systems – Jeep Active Drive and Jeep Active Drive Low, the latter with a 20 to1 crawl ratio – are able to direct total torque to any wheel if needed.

Both systems include Jeep Selec-Terrain, which offers up to five modes (Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud, plus exclusive Rock mode on Trailhawk), claiming the best four-wheel-drive performance on any surface, on or off-road, in any weather. Also, a disconnecting rear axle and power take-off unit provide enhanced fuel economy.

All Compass 4x4s also feature the 4WD ‘Lock’ function which locks on to 4×4 traction permanently and can be put into operation with a button on the Selec-Terrain control.

For even greater 4WD capability, Selec-Terrain includes Selec-Speed Control with hill-descent on Trailhawk, which is Trail Rated – ‘Jeep speak’ for what is considered the ‘off-road Oscar’ awarded only to vehicles that have passed the test in some of the most arduous off-road conditions in the world.

In some semi-serious off-roading, in Jeep Selec-Terrain ‘Rock’ setting, the test Trailhawk took advantage of its exceptional suspension rigidity of up to 170mm of articulation in conditions that would have stopped many of its SUV rivals in their tracks.

And, unlike others of that ilk that might go close to matching this performance, not many would be capable of carting up to five occupants as comfortably.

Not only does the Compass Trailhawk exhibit a good looking street presence, with its Trail Rated off-road credentials, the compact SUV is capable of going where other less well equipped members of the market segment dare not venture.

Jeep Compass Night Eagle 2.4 petrol 6sp auto FWD $36,950
Jeep Compass Limited 2.4 petrol 9sp auto AWD $42,950
Jeep Compass S-Limited 2.4 petrol 9sp auto AWD $45,950
Jeep Compass Trailhawk 2.0 turbodiesel 9sp auto 4×4 $49,450
Premium paint $645
Black painted roof $545
Dual-pane sunroof $1950
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Jeep dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Jeep Compass 2-litre 4cyl turbocharged diesel, 9sp automatic, 4×4, 5dr SUV)

Capacity: 1.956 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders inline
Maximum Power: 125 kW @ 3750 rpm
Maximum Torque: 350 Nm @ 1750 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.7 L/100km

DRIVELINE: Nine-speed automatic, Jeep Active Drive low 4×4, Jeep Selec-Terrain with Rock Mode

Length: 4398 mm
Wheelbase: 2636 mm
Width: 1819 mm
Height: 1657 mm
Turning Circle: 10.76 metres
Kerb Mass: 1621 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 60 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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