Boddums Up: The 2020 Jeep Compass Conundrum

Side profiles of the 2020 Jeep Compass vs 2020 Toyota RAV4 are shown in front of an inbox of emails.

Good day readers, I’ve got a treat for you. You see, I’ve become something of a celebrity over the last few months as my articles and insider news have spread across the weird wavelengths of the Internet. As such, I’ve started getting fan letters from some of you, with all kinds of useful information and requests for insight on a wide range of subjects. While I had planned on writing a lengthy analysis of the 2020 Jeep Compass vs 2020 Toyota RAV4 today, instead we’re going to have a look at one of your letters.

Most of them are on-topic, with a lot of questions about automotive care, picking the right vehicles, and what the auto industry is really like. A few have been more intimate in nature, and I just want to take a moment to thank you all for the pictures you sent – except for you, Keith, never again! And the recipes that I’ve received all look delicious; I can’t wait to try the broiled ham salad and the poached sardine terrine just as soon as possible.

I thought it would be nice to take a moment and provide some answers to some of these letters I’ve received, so I’m starting a new column: “Boddums Up,” which is dedicated to reading and responding to your letters. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I enjoy reading what you send. So, let’s jump in and get started with the inaugural column, shall we?

Concerns about the Jeep Compass

Today’s letter comes to me from a young man named Jo’williker Fladundrum, and I hope I pronounced that right. His letter reads:

“Dear Mr. Rutherfjord,

I’m a simple man with simple pleasures. I like fine things in life, like butter on toast and lollipops after going to the doctor. And I particularly enjoy the thrill of leaving the bulwark of civilization behind and hitting the trail to go off-road. [Yes, he used the phrase “bulwark of civilization – why would I make that up? Okay, but why else would I make that up?]

Recently, I spoke with my friends, also fine men and women of upstanding character that enjoy getting dirty and playing in the mud, and our conversating turned to the Jeep. Particularly the Jeep Compass. Particularly, particularly the Jeep Compass Trailhawk, which I consider the finest piece of off-road machinery ever produced by man or God.

My compatriots, however, decried my adoration of the Compass Trailhawk and instead insist that the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is the unbeatable master of the open trail. No amount of consternation or hand-wringing on my behalf was suitable to deconvince them of their notions, nor to dissuade them of their biases against my beloved Compass. Long into the night, did I argue, but it was for naught, and I was left with a deep feeling of loss for the friends I thought I knew.

Please, Mr. Rutherfjord, settle this debate. Let us know the truth of it and show us which Jeep is made to reign supreme when faced with the trail untrodden. Only through your wisdom and gentlemanly guidance can our terrible divide be mended, and our lifelong friendship restored. Speak to us of that which is wholly true, and bring peace to our betroubled hearts. Thank you, sir, and may the light ever shine upon your smiling face.


Mr. Jo’williker Fladundrum, Esq.

Blurblescreed, AR”

What can I do in the face of such honest, humble imploring of my knowledge? Gentle Jo’williker, know that your prayers have not been made in vain, and I will open the lamp of my knowledge upon you, shining bright all wisdom so that you might soak in it and be made more whole than before. Such is my way; such is the burden of my ample benevolence.

The 2020 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Alright, let’s kick this off with a quick look at the Jeep Compass Trailhawk and what it has to offer. If my sources are correct (and they always are), then the Trailhawk has a 2.4L Tigershark MultiAir 2 engine standard, with a 9-speed automatic transmission. It has Jeep Active Drive Low full-time 4×4 with a 20:1 crawl ratio, and Selec-Terrain Traction Management with a rock mode. Seems pretty good so far…

The Trackhawk has an off-road suspension with a 1-inch increased clearance height for optimal off-road functionality. It has skid plates to protect the fuel tank, transmission, transfer case, and suspension, as well as some other stuff like red tow hooks. It comes with 17-inch all-season tires, which seems like a mistake for an off-road machine, and some other stuff that doesn’t really matter. The Trailhawk is supposed to be all about going off-road, so who cares about the infotainment system or upholstery?

Seems fine, but what about the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon?

The 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

Now then, let’s see what the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon has to offer and how they stack up. The Rubicon comes with a 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine with a 6-speed manual transmission, and a Turbo 2.0L I-4 engine is available with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Either of which gives you great control on the trail and plenty of power to muscle through any terrain you encounter. It comes with a Rock-Trac 4×4 system, along with heavy-duty axles and Tru-Lok front and rear locking differentials, perfect for going off-road.

The Rubicon comes with a performance suspension system, along with a high clearance front fender and front and rear tow hooks. It has 33-inch off-road tires, which are far more impressive than those on the Compass Trailhawk, and skid plates to protect the underside. The wash-out interior is a great touch for playing in the mud, and it has an available 3-piece modular hardtop, along with removable doors and an available fold-down windshield.

That’s damn fine.

My Wise Analysis

So, which one is the better off-road machine? Sorry Jo’williker, but your friends are right. The 2020 Jeep Compass Trailhawk is a pretender when it comes to going off-road. It wishes it could keep up with what the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon can do, and that’s not even looking at things like water-fording ability or overall clearance. If you like the Jeep Compass, that’s fine; but let’s not pretend it’s the ultimate off-road machine. You’re better than that.

Editor’s Note: We provided Mr. Fladundrum with an advance copy of the preceding article in order to give him an opportunity for rebuttal. His response is as follows:

“Mr. Rutherfjord,

I am deeply hurt by your appraisal of the situation. Okay, so the Jeep Compass Trailhawk, a model that starts at $30,000, only has 17-inch all-season tires rather than proper off-road or all-terrain tires? So what? Tires aren’t that important really.

And you didn’t even really go into all the other good stuff it has. Like an available 8-inch Infotainment display or an Alpine Premium speaker system you can choose. What about those, huh? I mean, sure, you have to pay more for them, and they don’t matter too much out on the trail, but they’re good, right?

I’m good, right? I feel like I’ve let you down, Mr. Rutherfjord, and I’m sorry.


Sorry, Mr. Fladundrum. We hope you back a winning horse next time. Until then: courage. Thank you.


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