I test drove both the Jeep Compass Trailhawk and the Cherokee Overland back to back.
I get it, you need space and convenience for family, commuting and daily driving. BUT you also want the fun and function of 4X4 and off-road capability (yasssss!). The Jeep Compass Trailhawk gives you ALL of the above!
But wait, YOU actually don’t want to go off-road? You want the luxury and comfort of a mid-size SUV but with the design and engineering of a long-standing brand like Jeep?
Let’s do a quick comparison Jeep Compass vs. Jeep Cherokee
Base model Compass versus Base model Cherokee:
Let’s Talk about the Compass Trailhawk
When I had the Compass Trailhawk for the week I was SO tempted to take it on some off-road trails but alas, fear held me back. I’m no pro (I’ve only ever driven off-road once before and not locally), firstly, and also, it was a press vehicle and I was alone so I was too nervous to get stuck, or even worse, damage the Compass!
But rest assured, the Trailhawk is Jeep Trail-Rated and 4×4 capable! (Note that you can get a front-wheel drive, non-trail-rated Compass for only $22,095 USD.)
If you’re into camping, adventuring and getting away on the weekends (or whenever!), the Compass can do it all. With 27.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the passengers, you can fit all the gear, get 25 MPG and tow up to 2000 lbs to get out of town.
Cute, Quiet and Capable
Starting at $22,095 USD for the Compass Sport, and $29,445 for the Trailhawk trim, you can a fully capable family SUV for under $30,000. The Compass is available in Sport, Latitude, and Limited trim with either two-wheel or four-wheel drive.
I loved that the Compass Trailhawk was quick to connect to Apple CarPlay and had a thick leather-wrapped steering wheel. It felt instantly sporty and incredibly capable.
The smallish motor meant it didn’t have a whole lot of oomph on the highway, but it’ll get you there smoothly, eventually. The road noise was minimal as well, so for a Jeep off-road capable vehicle, it’s less rugged and more comfortable than the Wrangler.
Plenty of Amenities
The Trailhawk model has added height to aid in off-road capability as well as skid plates under the fuel tank, transfer case, front suspension, and transmission for protection.
The Popular Equipment Group included on the Compass Trailhawk features an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat, climate control and infotainment operation are handled through a combination of knobs, buttons, and touchscreen. The 8.4-inch Uconnect system allows for customization and navigation of the vehicle’s various settings and functions, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. The front center console houses a USB port and auxiliary jack, while the rear passengers get a USB port and a 110-volt outlet. The back seat is big enough for adults, and my kids had zero complaints.
Now Let’s Talk about the Jeep Cherokee Overland
The Cherokee is a step up in price, features, and luxury. The very first thing I noticed in going from the Compass into the Cherokee was the thick wood gloss steering wheel in the Cherokee. The details in this car are really well done.
The First Thing That I Noticed Was the Steering Wheel
Your first and main touchpoint in a vehicle is the steering wheel. It’s the tool that gives you control over a large machine, it’s very important. How it makes you feel while you’re maneuvering is also very important. I felt like that one thing determined the main difference between the two vehicles: Adventure versus A Touch of Luxury.
A New Engine for 2019 in the Cherokee
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee Overland is priced to start at $36,995 USD or $45,840 CAD and includes the thick wood gloss steering wheel, leather seats, 19″ wheels, Apple CarPlay and base front-wheel-drive with start-stop technology.
The new 2.0 L turbocharged engine with stop-start technology is new for 2019, for an additional charge of $500 USD /$995 CAD.
Stop-start technology means that in traffic you can use cruise control and it will take care of keeping you safely within the flow of traffic, slowing to a stop and then accelerating again.
Give Me ALL the Hands-Free Features for Mom-Life!
The hands-free power liftgate is also new for 2019, which means you kick your leg under the back of the vehicle and it will open the liftgate for you! I love this feature with kids, hands full of stuff, grocery shopping, and everything else that comes along with #momlife!
Look at that Gorgeous Interior!
I drove the 4×4 starting at $46,095 CAD and as shown, $54,215 CAD with the preferred package, technology group, 2.0L turbocharged engine, automatic transmission, and towing package as shown herein.
Jeep but with Luxury Touches
I loved the elegant interior of the Cherokee Overland. There is no mistaking its Jeep DNA but with some lux. If you’re wanting a trail-rated Cherokee, there is that too (at $34,195 for the Upland) just not in the Overland trim.
Both have Impressive Safety Features
If it’s safety and security you’re after, for daily driving, both the Cherokee Overland and the Compass Trailhawk have plenty of the same safety features like:
- Terrain selection control (snow and sand)
- Stability Control
- Traction Control
- Hill Start Assist
- Hill Descent control
- Rain Brake support
- Roll mitigation
- Rain-sensing windshield wipers
With a few extras on the Cherokee Overland:
- More airbags
- Security/alarm system
- Automatic high-beams
- Rear park assist
- Blind-spot monitoring
So when it comes down to your budget and needs, you have to ask yourself – do you need to go off-road? Do you want more luxury touches? This will help you decide which Jeep will be a better fit. Either way, they are both pretty sweet.
Disclosure: The Jeep Cherokee Overland and Compass Trailhawk were both provided for test drives by FCA Canada for this post.