Jeep Compass Limited vs Trailhawk: Important Differences

October 9th, 2020 by

An orange 2019 used Jeep Compass Trailhawk is driving through a river in the woods near Colorado Springs, CO.

It’s pretty easy to figure out what Jeep model you want, but it’s much more difficult to pick out which trim best matches your preferences. Jeep offers multiple trim levels, each with its own unique features, and the decision isn’t always obvious. Here at The Faricy Boys, we understand this and want to make the choice easier for you. You’re here because you’re searching for a used Jeep Compass, right? Right. Let’s say that you already know you want one of the higher Compass trims, but the question is, which one?

Well, two of the Jeep Compass’s highest trims are the Limited and the Trailhawk. Now you’re probably wondering what the difference is between a Jeep Compass Limited and Trailhawk. The good news is you’re in the right place. We’re going to lay out the major differences between each trim as we explain why each model is a great option, depending on your personal interests and inclinations. Without further ado, let’s break this thing down.

Casual vs Off-Road

Let’s go ahead and get the most important one out of the way. The main difference between the Limited and the Trailhawk is that the Trailhawk is designed specifically for off-roading. It’s like the Wrangler of Compasses. But what actually makes it tougher than the Limited trim?

Well, first off, it comes standard with all-wheel drive, while the Limited is also available with front-wheel drive. Second, the Trailhawk boasts enhanced off-road suspension. Third, the Trailhawk comes with special On/Off-road tires instead of the standard all-season tires found on the Limited. But these are only some of the important differences between the two trims.

Active Drive Low Benefits

The Trailhawk is extra special thanks to its Active Drive Low 4×4 system for off-roading assistance. While the raised suspension, skid plates, and off-road tires all help set the Trailhawk apart, it is the highly capable Active Drive Low 4×4 system that really takes it to the next level. The Compass Limited can be equipped with a 4×4 system of its own, but that is the base Jeep Active Drive system that is more geared towards handling bad weather than off-road performance.

However, the Trailhawk trim of the Compass gets a two-speed transfer case with a 20:1 crawl ratio. With this capability, you will have the extra torque that you need to power through the deep mud and slippery rocks that you will encounter when you take your Jeep off the beaten path. This powerful Active Drive Low 4×4 system is a large part of what allows the Compass Trailhawk to carry the prestigious Trail Rated badge.

A white 2010 used Jeep Compass is parked on a pier in front of a river and city.

Aesthetic and Gear

Both Jeeps are obviously visually pleasing, but there are slight differences between them. These differences lie in visual appearance and specialized gear. Let’s start with the first one. The Trailhawk comes with its own special black hood decal, neutral gray fog lamps, exterior badging, roof rails, exterior mirrors, and a black grille with neutral gray rings. This differentiates it from the Limited trim.

Both styles are appealing, but the Limited takes a simpler approach, with its black grille/chrome ring combination and body-colored exterior mirrors. The Trailhawk’s gray accents go well with any of its ten exterior colors, so you don’t have to worry about any unappealing clashing going on. Speaking of colors, the Limited and the Trailhawk have a few differing ones. The Limited trim comes with a two-toned Pearl White/Black color, whereas the Trailhawk comes with Spitfire Orange/Black paint. Otherwise, these two trims share their color options.

Package Options

There are also different package options available for each trim. While some do overlap, others are unique to each model. For example, the Graphics Package by Mopar that comes with a bodyside and hood graphic is only available on the Limited trim. Conversely, the Leather Interior Group package is only present on the Trailhawk.

This package is loaded with additions, including heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, remote start, a windshield wiper deicer, and an 8-way power driver seat, to name some of its contents. The Trailhawk is also available with the Cold Weather package, which is a great way to prepare for frosty winter mornings out on the trail. Overall, both trims offer their own unique add-on packages.

Prices and Mileage

Finally, we’ll look at the numbers. New, these two trims have a very similar price, with the Trailhawk coming in higher than the Limited front-wheel drive and lower than the Limited 4×4. While you will not be paying MSRP on a used Compass, the cost of the new models means that these two trims should be nearly identical on the used market. So pick the one that best fits your needs.

The mileage differences are also hardly noticeable. The Limited 4×4 and the Trailhawk both get 22 MPG city and 30 MPG highway, while the Limited front-wheel drive is barely better at 22 MPG city and 31 MPG highway, with those numbers potentially fluctuating slightly between used model years. Generally, these differences really aren’t steep enough for this to affect your decision. It’s more about whether you spend your days on the streets or off-road.

A closeup shows the steering wheel and infotainment center on a used Jeep Compass.

The Compass Limited

The Compass Limited gets five stars for comfort and styling. If you are looking for a plush ride that can handle bad weather and back roads in a pinch, this is the trim for you. Of course, you will also get to enjoy the excellent Uconnect 4 infotainment system on a large 8.4-inch display. This is a feature-rich and intuitive setup that includes optional built-in navigation as well as the ability to use smartphone navigation through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. So, if tech features are important to you, rest assured that the Compass Limited is far from “limited” in its tech abilities.

The Trailhawk

The Compass Trailhawk gets five stars for off-road performance and rugged reliability. If you want to tackle wilderness trails without sacrificing too much comfort, then this is the trim for you. While the base version is a little less feature-rich than the Compass Limited, that can be remedied through finding a used Trailhawk with some of the available package options. But no matter what version of the Trailhawk you choose, you will be getting the same over the top performance and enough comfort to get by.

Which One Do I Get?

Well, that’s largely up to you. The Trailhawk is a great option due to its off-road abilities, combined with its practical nature for city driving. The Limited trim is basically everything you’ll need or want in an SUV, minus the whole off-roading thing. If driving on rough terrain isn’t a concern for you, then treat yourself to the extra luxuries of the Limited trim, and if you find a 4×4 version, then you will still be able to take bad weather in stride.

However, if you do want to challenge the wilderness, then the Trailhawk is clearly the more capable vehicle thanks to its many upgrades and its Active Drive Low 4×4 system. If you are searching for a used SUV that you can drive to work during the week and take it to the mountains on the weekends, you won’t regret buying a Compass Trailhawk. If you still can’t decide between the two, then swing by our Colorado Springs dealership and have a chat with the experts at The Faricy Boys.