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2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk Review



The 2017 Jeep Compass is all new this year and it leaves behind many of the complaints we had with the earlier Compass. It also delivers a more appealing ride, as well as an upgraded off-road model with a Trailhawk package.

With more curves than the Wrangler, the 2017 Jeep Compass is an attractive-looking SUV that you can actually take off-road with the right package. Even if you don’t plan on testing the trail rated Compass off-road, this is a much-improved Jeep.

Forget the Jeep Compass you rented from Enterprise three years ago: this is a new Compass and it’s a move in the right direction.


With a size similar to the Ford Escape, Chevy Equinox and Honda CR-V, the 2017 Compass carves out a niche with the Trailhawk model that increases ground clearance and offers up Active Drive Low all wheel drive and the Selec-Terrain system that helps you drive better in mud, snow and on slick surfaces.

If you do plan on taking it off-road, you’ll appreciate the skid plates and the improved 30-degree approach and 34-degree departure angles that you get with the striking front and rear end. The Skid plate protects important parts from rocks and debris, while the greater angles make it easier to enter and exit obstacles.

The 2017 Compass starts at $20,995 for the front-wheel-drive Sport and goes up to $28.995 for the Luxurious Limited. We spent the week in the 2017 Compass Trailhawk that starts at $28,595 and has a variety of upgrades for cold weather, safety and technology that bump the price up to $33,165.

2017 Jeep Compass Driving Performance

The 2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk is capable on the road and off-road.

The 2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk is capable on the road and off-road.

The 2017 Compass handles well on the road and the four-wheel drive, as well as the added ground clearance, made tackling a family ravine a very easy task. Hill descent assist simplifies coming down steep hills without the need to manually adjust the brakes on your own.

Jeep packs the 2.4L inline 4 in the Compass, which feels unrefined and unwilling to give you the aggressive acceleration you want when passing another car. The Auto Start/Stop system is also slow to start back up and let you accelerate, which is frustrating in traffic and when you need to quickly enter a road. Thankfully you can turn off the auto start stop feature with a button, but you need to do this each time you turn the car on.

Shifting is improved, but there are still some times where the 9-speed automatic is slow to shift up. There is an option for a six-speed automatic on the front wheel drive models and even a manual six-speed option on the Sport and Latitude trims.

The 17-inch Falken Wildpeak tires give you better off-road performance, but you will hear some squeal when cornering hard. The steering is very accurate. we felt in control on the roads and on several hills. While we didn’t take the Trailhawk to an off-road park, it handled very well in several off-road scenarios and the small size made maneuverability easy.

The 2017 Compass Trailhawk is rated for 22 MPG city and 30 mpg highway. We experienced 23 MPG during our week with the Compass, with a good deal of city driving.

2017 Compass Trailhawk Design & Interior

We like the stylish interior with accent stitching and well laid out dash.

We like the stylish interior with accent stitching and well laid out dash.

The 2017 Compass is a little smaller than the old version, and it definitely looks nicer. The Trailhawk gains a special front and the rear end which are a little more aggressive, and it also gains a sweet two tone hood.

Front seats are a little stiff, but not uncomfortable. Driver and passenger have plenty of room up front and the dash and center console are well laid out. There is a USB port up front, as well as a 12V power point, and another USB port and 12V powerpoint in the backseat so you and your passengers can stay charged up. The backseat offers adequate legroom and headroom for adults but will prove a little cramped on longer trips unless the front seats are adjusted forward as well.

There is a good amount of cargo room in the back, though if you are coming from a Patriot you will end up missing those extra few feet. The rear seats fold down to allow for even more cargo area.

We love the matching Orange trim throughout the Trailhawk, as well as the Trailhawk embroidered logo on the front seats. The combination of orange stitching and accents on the speakers really pop and bring the interior together nicely.

Spitfire Orange is stunning on the 2017 Compass Trailhawk and the new exterior design looks more modern than the previous generation. Jeep maintains the signature seven-slot grille and wheel arches that borrow heavily from the Jeep designs the company is known for. All in all, the Compass is a great looking Jeep for buyers who don’t want the boxier Wrangler but still want a capable Jeep.

2017 Compass Trailhawk Tech & Safety

Jeep packs in a lot of technology into the new Compass. This includes the new Uconnect 8.4 system with a larger 8.4-inch screen. The standard system controls are easy to use and the system is very responsive overall. There are cool hexagon touch indicators and the system works very well. Calls sound good on the system and pairing your phone is easy. The sound system is adequate for most genres of music, but we would love a little more bass.

The Uconnect system works exceptionally well and supports Android Auto and Apple Carplay.

The Uconnect system works exceptionally well and supports Android Auto and Apple Carplay.

The Uconnect System includes support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This means you can plug your phone in and you’ll get access to some of your apps, voice controls, phone calls, messaging and navigation on the car screen, even if you don’t buy the optional Navigation Group. One nice thing about this larger Uconnect screen is that there is still a bottom row of the screen dedicated to the standard car controls and pages. This makes switching from CarPlay or Android Auto to climate, or other controls, faster and more convenient. It’s a trend we hope to see more of.

The 2017 Compass headlights are good and the Cornering Lamps that illuminate the edge of the road when you turn are especially helpful for driving at night or in heavy rain. A rearview camera makes backing up quite easy and sensors let you know if you are too close to an object. The smart key allows you to unlock the doors by simply grabbing the handle, or lock them by pushing a small button on the handle, without taking the key out of your pocket. The optional power liftgate operates with your key in your pocket, or allows you to use the key to open the gate, as you approach.

From a safety standpoint, the blind spot monitoring system is a must have as it makes driving on the highway much easier. It also adds cross path detection to let you know if a car is coming as you back out of a parking spot. Blind Spot Monitoring and rain sensitive wipers are part of the Safety and Security Group that adds $795 to the cost of the Compass.

The Advanced Safety and Lighting Group includes Lane Departure, Advanced Brake Assist, Bi-Xenon Headlamps with Automatic High Beams and Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning for $895.

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