My week in a 2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4X4: Where I went, what I loved, what I learned

Jeep Compass Trailhawk test drive

The Thursday before Labor Day, Rocky Mountain Redline fleet company provided me a 2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4X4 for a week long test drive. Which meant I had the fun ride for the long holiday weekend... plus some.

In the seven days I had the pleasure of driving the well-appointed, hardy and handsome (Laser Blue Pearl exterior) 4X4, I put it to the test on the road, at a reservoir, and running the everyday errands that make up the grandma lifestyle.

Take a look:

WHERE I WENT (plus a closer look at some Trailhawk features)


• The rugged yet sleek premium cloth and leather-trimmed interior in black and ruby

• Tire pressure monitoring system. THE best I've seen yet. I'm a tad obsessed with tire pressure (Jim will confirm... and complain about it), so the Jeep Compass Trailhawk's display of the exact air pressure was quite a delight for me.

2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

• Rain sensitive intermittent windshield wipers

• Auto-dimming rearview mirror. (No more being blinded on the way home from daylong Denver events.)

• The exceptionally colorful backup camera

2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

• Blind spot monitoring and cross path detection. There's a major blindspot (for me, at least... see below) that would make changing lanes super scary in the Trailhawk if not for the lifesaving BSM.

2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk.jpg

• The seatbelt adjustment. Because I'm short (5'4"), most seatbelts cross way to close to my neck and feel like they're gonna choke me, especially in a collision. The Jeep Compass Trailhawk belt adjustment slid down to a comfortable position for me. 

• Full-size and easily accessible spare tire.

2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk


• How to run in auxiliary. Most vehicles I test drive come with push button start (as this one did). I've been flummoxed on how to listen to the radio or program navigation and audio functions and more without having to turn on the vehicle. In the Jeep Compass Trailhawk, I figured it out! You simply push "start" without putting your foot on the brake — as is necessary for starting the engine — and the radio and more magically come on and stay on... without running the engine.

• Engine Stop Start... and how to stop it. When fleet folks deliver a vehicle, I typically ask if there's anything weird or out of the ordinary I should know about each vehicle. This time, the guys mentioned a stop/start something or another that saves gas by shutting off the engine at stoplights but makes the vehicle shudder and can be alarming if you don't know what's up. But "there's a button to easily turn it off," they said. 

Well, I forgot about that — the Engine Stop Start, I now know — and the shuddering at a stoplight on my first outing scared the heck of of my hubby and me. I spent several hours after that trying to figure out what button was the key to turning that off. Nothing in the manual, nothing clearly marked on the dash or console or such.

Turns out it's this button, the one marked with an A:

2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

If you press that after starting the engine, it lights to indicate the ESS is off... and the shuddering upon accelerating after being stopped at a light ceases.

Interesting note: My youngest had a Compass for a few years. She traded it in because she and no mechanic could figure out why the vehicle shuddered. If only Jeep had written about the ESS button in the manual, she would have held on to the otherwise awesome vehicle. I'm sure other Compass owners are frustrated by the inexplicable shuddering, too (a quick google search confirms). Perhaps the manual will be updated for future Compass owners.

• Lastly, I learned I'd be absolutely over the moon if I could call the 2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4X4 my own and see this in my driveway forever going forward:

2017 Compass in my drive.jpg

You can learn more about the 2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk 4X4, including full specs and such at

2017 JEEP COMPASS TRAILHAWK 4X4 (as driven)

Engine: 2.4L 14 MultiAir® Engine with Engine Stop Start

Transmission: 9-Speed Automatic Transmission

MPG: 22 city/30 highway

Price: $33,815 ($28,595 base plus optional packages and destination charge)

Disclosure: I had the opportunity to test drive this vehicle courtesy Rocky Mountain Redline; opinions and photos are my own.