newbie looking for advice - Jeep Compass Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 08-30-2018, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
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newbie looking for advice

hey all! Currently not a owner but looking to purchase soon. What's the pros and cons of the new Compass Trailhawk? I'm moving on from a 2013 hyundai veloster turbo

Current Vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

Future: 2018 or 2019 Compass Trailhawk
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post #2 of 14 Old 08-30-2018, 11:48 AM
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Welcome! I'm a new owner too so I can't offer in-depth advice, but so far my Compass has been achieving phenomenal fuel economy: consistently above 30MPG overall. Only mechanical problem has been a grinding noise in 5th gear, allegedly cured with a software update which I had done yesterday. We'll see if that solves the problem.

Oh, you realize a Jeep Compass is not a performance vehicle. You won't be beating anything but cement mixers away from a stoplight.
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post #3 of 14 Old 08-30-2018, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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I know they aren't performance vehicles hahaha, I'm looking at the trailhawk due to it's off-road capabilities.

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post #4 of 14 Old 08-30-2018, 07:34 PM
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define offroad capabilities.

sure these are 4x4.
but i still consider them light trail vehicles.
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post #5 of 14 Old 08-30-2018, 08:31 PM
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hey all! Currently not a owner but looking to purchase soon. What's the pros and cons of the new Compass Trailhawk? I'm moving on from a 2013 hyundai veloster turbo


My wife and I looked at all kinds of SUVs and AWD wagons. We settled on the Jeep Compass because we do go where the pavement ends often whether getting to favorite hiking spots or just out riding around on very rough forestry roads. Nothing in the price range beats the 4wd Compass in this aspect. Our original plan was a 4WD Latitude with manual transmission and sunroof. But reading on this forum before buying a member here commented that the 6sp with the Latitude gearing was a bit steep for any real offroad wheeling. My wife and I started going over the places we go in our Chevy Suburban and lifted 4x4 Chevy Tracker in doing so we started leaning towards the Trailhawk and that is what we ended up getting with no regrets.

Our Trailhawk has taken us any place we have wanted to go and given the fact we have bounced it off it's skid plates a few times,Had to drag a tree out of the road which was the only way back off of a mountain top and pulled a car out of the road that dropped it's front wheel off an embankment all confirming we made the right choice.

If your intent is to hit the trails I think you would be hard pressed to find anything in this class and price that will do the job better than the Compass Trailhawk. But keep in mind these even though having a rock mode are not hardcore offroad vehicles. The Compass Trailhawk low range is not a true low range. The gearing of the Trailhawk is such that in normal driving the transmission uses 2nd gear to take off. The "low range" locks the transmission in 1st gear to give you that 20:1 crawl. So if you want to really crawl the big rocks get a Wrangler or other serouse off road vehicle.

But if your just hitting rough terrain and not out to run the big rocks the Trailhawk is up to the task. We have had 2 wheels unloaded and nearly off the ground shifted into rock mode give it some gas just till it started moving and let the 4wd system work it's magic to keep us moving. While the aggressive brake lock differential programming in rock mode is not the same as a true locked axle I have been very happy with how well it works.

The only real downside I have found is the start/stop system it is at best annoying at worst it can present a danger if your wanting to jump into traffic from a start right when the system is shutting down the engine. Most of us are in the habit of turning it off when we start up (it defaults to on every start cycle) but given I drive 2 other vehicles without this sometimes I forget till it kicks in. It is the one so called feature that will have you cussing the Jeep engineer that thought it was a great idea to save like 3 drops of gas. LOL

Here is an important note though when it comes to electrical get what you want on your Compass when you buy. These have proven to be difficult and expensive to modify. Most of the main lighting is run on a Canbus system which makes switching to leds a pain. Even installing a trailer hitch/wiring is a pain.

Another thing is these things are not even on the radar of most aftermarket manufacturers yet. I went to the Great Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion and talked to venders and none of them knew of any plans for up coming products for the new Compass. I think they are holding off to see if the Compass can survive as it is almost a stand alone in the market. There is nothing that directly competes with it. While it gets tossed in with other SUVs for its size nothing comes close to it's off road ability. But with that comes cost. It is pretty slow compared to everything but the Subaru non turbo Crosstrek or Forester with their CVT that has proven troublesome in its 1st gen. I will say though I have found ours to be quick enough to handle day to day traffic and even merging into interstate traffic. The Compass also does not ride as smooth or get the MPG of some of the others it gets lumped in with. So there is a big question mark I think if there are enough people willing to sacrifice some of these things to gain a lot in off road ability.

If I were you I would take a Trailhawk out for a long test drive if your ok with the ride and it's acceleration not looking to go out and do crazy off roading but will go out on fairly rough terrain I think you will be happy.
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post #6 of 14 Old 08-30-2018, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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other question is, spitfire orange or lazer blue?

Current Vehicle: 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

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post #7 of 14 Old 08-30-2018, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mdram4x4 View Post
define offroad capabilities.

sure these are 4x4.
but i still consider them light trail vehicles.


I would not call them light trail which to me says not much more than a gravel road or dirt road buster. This is where Mazda 5,Honda CRV,Toyota Rav4 and such are at. Any trim 4wd Compass is much more capable than these with the Trailhawk being the most off road capable Compass trim. I place the Trailhawk at a medium trail vehicle. It's skid plates, rock mode,AT tires,gearing, approach,departure and breakover angles and slight ground clearance advantage all work well together to get the Trailhawk over some pretty rough terrain.

If it had a true low range T-case it would place on the higher end of medium. But the automatic transmission helps a lot in this aspect and I have yet to be in a situation with our Trailhawk that I missed having a true low range. But then I have been wheeling for some time now and know the limits of what I'm driving. To this extent the Compass Trailhawk has surprised me a bit and I have found it more capable then I thought it would be. Which is part of the reason we have used those skid plates and brushed the ground with the front and rear fascia. The only real things I have yet done is deepish mud and snow. I had my thrill of mudding years ago and since we bought this Jeep we have not had a good deep snow. We have run up some fairly steep muddy grades and while it was shuffling traction around a lot it did just fine. I know better than to go rock crawling in our little Jeep but it has taken on some little rock gardens.
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post #8 of 14 Old 08-30-2018, 09:28 PM
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I would not call them light trail which to me says not much more than a gravel road or dirt road buster. This is where Mazda 5,Honda CRV,Toyota Rav4 and such are at. Any trim 4wd Compass is much more capable than these with the Trailhawk being the most off road capable Compass trim. I place the Trailhawk at a medium trail vehicle. It's skid plates, rock mode,AT tires,gearing, approach,departure and breakover angles and slight ground clearance advantage all work well together to get the Trailhawk over some pretty rough terrain.

If it had a true low range T-case it would place on the higher end of medium. But the automatic transmission helps a lot in this aspect and I have yet to be in a situation with our Trailhawk that I missed having a true low range. But then I have been wheeling for some time now and know the limits of what I'm driving. To this extent the Compass Trailhawk has surprised me a bit and I have found it more capable then I thought it would be. Which is part of the reason we have used those skid plates and brushed the ground with the front and rear fascia. The only real things I have yet done is deepish mud and snow. I had my thrill of mudding years ago and since we bought this Jeep we have not had a good deep snow. We have run up some fairly steep muddy grades and while it was shuffling traction around a lot it did just fine. I know better than to go rock crawling in our little Jeep but it has taken on some little rock gardens.
i say light because unknown depth mud/waterhole would worry me.
the ground clearance could come into play.

lack of a true 4-low would cause me pause in some situations as well.
i was snow over the bumper of my ram, just put it in low and let it crawl out.
not sure how the compass would do in that situation.
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post #9 of 14 Old 08-30-2018, 09:48 PM
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other question is, spitfire orange or lazer blue?

Color is a personal thing get what you like!

When we were thinking we where going to get a Latitude I was certainly moving the Laser Blue to the head of the list as the Spitfire Orange is not an option on those. But once we decided on the Trailhawk and 2 local dealers had the Spitfire Orange that I could look at that quickly became what we wanted. Others I liked was a Redline Pearl which looks amazing on the Trailhawk as well. I liked how the red matched up with the seat stitching and Trailhawk on the seats then of course the Lazer Blue.

But the Orange to us is just awesome and we have only seen 2 other Spitfires on the road none in our local area. We saw a Spitfire sport in Knoxville TN and another Spitfire Trailhawk in Pigeon Forge at the Great Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion. The other dealer that had a Spitfire was in Boone NC and I have not seen it around so don't know what happened to it. Our dealership also has not gotten in any more Spitfire Compass at all. I'm starting to wonder if it is a limited color and might not be available on future Compass we will have to see so keep that in mind.
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post #10 of 14 Old 08-30-2018, 09:57 PM
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lack of a true 4-low would cause me pause in some situations as well.
i was snow over the bumper of my ram, just put it in low and let it crawl out.
not sure how the compass would do in that situation.
For 4wd low to matter, you need to have enough traction to start with. If your tires are spinning at high range, they will just spin more on low range. Imo, with the width of compass tires, relatively light weight and lack of any A/T tires (at least for now), a Tcase based 4wd low would not generate a lot more benefits over the modified transmission based 4wd low, since the limiting factor would be the traction, not the torque sent to the tires. I would prefer a lockable rear diff over a tcase based low gear.
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post #11 of 14 Old 08-30-2018, 11:17 PM
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i say light because unknown depth mud/waterhole would worry me.
the ground clearance could come into play.

lack of a true 4-low would cause me pause in some situations as well.
i was snow over the bumper of my ram, just put it in low and let it crawl out.
not sure how the compass would do in that situation.

Well we know the Trailhawk can run in water 19" deep so that is a bit of peace of mind when it comes to hydrolocking. I saw a video of a guy going off road for the first time in a New Compass I can't rember if it was a Trailhawk or not but in the mud they were in the Compass did better than other Jeeps including some lifted rigs running without lockers. The Brake lock diffs seemed to go a long way in keeping the Compass moving. Then we get 8.5 inches of ground clearance My best guess is that as long as the mud is not deep enough to pack under it and unload weight off the tires and there is some traction surface available the AT tires can grab any at all it will go.

Mud can be so tricky I have had a Jeep XJ on 35" MTs get stopped dead on a hill with like 3-4" of red clay on it due to no lockers. Same hill was a breeze for a stock International Scout with At tires but it was locked front and rear. I could not steer it hardly but I could stop back up on the hill and take back off again with little drama. Then my Samurai on 35" MTs unlocked could run up it in 2wd.

Mud can just differ so much in consistency you might blaze though some that is a foot deep and end up stuck in another type that is 2-3". I keep laughing at the guys around here in the mountains showing off how they can drive through mud holes up to their bumpers on 40" tires. I don't know if they are smart enough to know or if they are playing games with those that don't but the bottom of those holes is slate crumble and high traction. The mud is pretty much muddy water so the only reason for the big lift and tires is to keep their air intake above the water. The mud itself just is not thick enough to try to hold them back. A rig with half the lift and tires could run through those same holes if it was equipped with a snorkel. I use to live in places in SC that did not have a bottom you would dig till you had the climb out the widows to get out. I would love to see these guys go someplace like that they would need a crane for recovery. LOL
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post #12 of 14 Old 08-30-2018, 11:41 PM
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For 4wd low to matter, you need to have enough traction to start with. If your tires are spinning at high range, they will just spin more on low range. Imo, with the width of compass tires, relatively light weight and lack of any A/T tires (at least for now), a Tcase based 4wd low would not generate a lot more benefits over the modified transmission based 4wd low, since the limiting factor would be the traction, not the torque sent to the tires. I would prefer a lockable rear diff over a tcase based low gear.






Your partly correct. Yes shifting into a low range can increase wheelspin in certain conditions. But it can offer you better wheel speed control as well. You can get more torque down to the ground in low range without having to increase engine speed and induce wheel spin. So you basically end up with better control over tire spin. There have been times I have found low range to do the job even on ice. However in certain conditions selecting a higher gear works very well also like 2nd or even 3rd. My Chevy Tracker has both a low range and the ability for the automatic transmission to do 2nd gear starts. I have used both in mud and on ice depending on the situation to great effect.

I will say again I'm really liking the BLD on these Compass and the fact they work both front and rear it is easy to see and feel how well they do. For the wheeling I do I think they perform better than what a true locker in the rear only would do.
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post #13 of 14 Old 08-31-2018, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by mdram4x4 View Post
i say light because unknown depth mud/waterhole would worry me.
the ground clearance could come into play.

lack of a true 4-low would cause me pause in some situations as well.
i was snow over the bumper of my ram, just put it in low and let it crawl out.
not sure how the compass would do in that situation.
I agree the Compass is for light off-roading, but that's what most consumers want. I get onto some rough tracks, but I'm not taking on a swamp or climbing rocks.

Basically, I just want to get through the mountains if I get caught in a snowstorm. Curiously, just looking at my Compass, it seems that the lowest point is the front fascia. Is that to warn the driver before danger hits the pan? I suspect that low fascia could be a problem if the snow is heavy, wet & sticky.
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post #14 of 14 Old 08-31-2018, 05:07 AM
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I agree the Compass is for light off-roading, but that's what most consumers want. I get onto some rough tracks, but I'm not taking on a swamp or climbing rocks.

Basically, I just want to get through the mountains if I get caught in a snowstorm. Curiously, just looking at my Compass, it seems that the lowest point is the front fascia. Is that to warn the driver before danger hits the pan? I suspect that low fascia could be a problem if the snow is heavy, wet & sticky.

The lower airdam on non-Trailhawks I suspect is just you make the Compass look a bit more sporty and may give it a slight bump in MPG. It is actually pretty well designed and I understand it can split in the center to allow it to fold under if needed. However we would have done ripped it off along with some of the front and rear fascia wheeling where we go. arudlang has taken his non-Trailhawk though some rough stuff and deep snow and says his lower facia and airdam has managed to survive. So unless you really bashing hard a lot it most likely will be fine.

I still say even the Non Trailhawk Compass are more than light trial rigs I owned a Honda CRV with real time 4wd that is a light trail rig as you could hardly ever tell that rear axle had engaged it just never seems to move much power at all rearward and the ground clearance was nothing. It also had no traction assistance not sure if the new ones do or not but the videos we watched indicated the new ones are not better than the 06 we had.

Subarus do pretty well off road depending on which AWD system they have. If it is a manual they are at the top end of light trail if it is a automatic with X-mode which use BLD quite well they land at the very bottom of medium trail. Non-Trailhawks compass land a bit further up they simply have a better 4wd system than Subaru which has the better AWD system. TrailHawks a bit further up from that in the middle of medium duty trail use. This is pretty much where the stock XJ Cherokee lands In fact because the Trailhawk has a much more aggressive tune in its Traction control with the BLDs it sits slightly ahead of the XJ in capability in most conditions as I think the best traction adder on a factory XJ was a limited slip rear. For comparison Wranglers run up to the lower end of hard trail use unless they are Rubicon or equivalent they run up the other end of hard. Custom built rigs can run into extreme use if built correctly.

These Compass do very well when actually pushed off road. You can lift a tire and keep going the Trailhawk can lift 2 diagonal tires in rock mode on lower traction surfaces and keep going even up hill. They will run up a hill steep enough to brush the lower fascia on the rear bumper as it rotates down. Breakover is ok but we have hit the fuel tank skid so another inch or even 1/2 an inch more ground clearance would have been great. We certainly would have dreamed of taking anything else we looked at the places we go. Mind you I have been out offroad for many years now so that plays a part.

I would also add these Compass are not like the old school 4x4s and to get the most out of them requires a few changes in how you drive off road. We use to pull up on obstacles that did not require wheel spin and let off the gas and even back up pretty quick and pick a new line. In the 4wd Compass you need to hold the throttle sometimes for a few seconds to let the computer figure out if and how to get you moving and keep you moving. So simply increase throttle a bit and hold it then the computer will work it's magic if it is something it can get through or over.

In our trailhawk I have found it simply will not get super aggressive with the BLDs in auto mode for it to really get super aggressive in a situation of low traction and lifted or unloaded wheels you have to use rock mode. I pulled up off camber on a dirt hill that unloaded one front and one rear wheel and it would try to climb it but simply would not dial in enough brake on the unloaded wheels to keep it moving. Shifted into rock mode and started applying throttle it spun for a second or so then you could feel and hear the brake locks working and the Jeep started to climb I held the throttle at that point and it just went every now and then letting a wheel spin then stopping it and transfering power to the 2 wheel that were well loaded. I had driven other with BLDs but not near as aggressive as this.

I suspect in other tims selecting the terrain your on it will help the computer to make a traction solution. However without rock mode I'm thinking other trims simply do not work the system as hard. My guess is this is to try to help keep other trims out of trouble in places those skid plates would be required and the low facia ripped apart.

As I stated though non-Trailhawk trims are not to be taken too lightly watching some of the videos on youtube prove this quickly. This is one I kind of liked off the top of my head. This is not the domain of a light trail vehicle and they still did not come close to really pushing even this non-Trailhawk Compass. But it shows some different terrain and water forging. Most others that are considered to be in the Compass class would have been in a lot of trouble trying to follow it. The video starts off easy but before long they are taking on wet and slippery stuff and ok climbs. There is a couple a nice views as well. We have pushed our Trailhawk over much rougher terrain than in this clip and yes even in the rain very heavy rain doing pretty good damage to the roads we were on. We have yet to get stuck or even close to it just had to back up and pick better lines a few times. I just don't think those that have not really ask the Compass to get into the rough stuff don't really know how well they actually do when things do get rough. In part I think it is because they do have that more sport type look it makes people worry because the non-trailhawk trims look like road beaters and not like the very capable trail runner they really are.

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