Trail Rated®: What That Means for Your Jeep Wrangler
Jeep has a long-standing reputation for producing vehicles that serve as excellent off-roading options for individuals who want more from life than traversing the beaten paths (read: paved roads) in life.
So, when Jeep introduced its now coveted “Trail Rated®” badge way back in 2004, consumers could rest easy in knowing the models they were purchasing for off-road adventures weren’t going to leave them stranded in the backcountry.
Essentially, when you buy a Jeep brandishing the Trail Rated® badge, you are buying a vehicle that has surpassed Jeep’s strict and rigorous testing criteria and specifications. Currently, the only models that enjoy a Trail Rated® status are the Jeep Compass, Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and the Jeep Renegade Trail Hawk.
According to Jeep themselves, “Trail Rated® goes beyond a badge. Trail Rated represents the confidence to take on most any challenge. It’s our commitment to creating endless opportunities for you to discover your limits and push right past them. Whey you drive a Trail Rated vehicle, adventure is wherever you want it to be.”
Although many drivers may never take their vehicles off-roading, it is an experience that is easily doable by those who have a Jeep Wrangler wielding a Trail Rated® badge. For those curious, here is what your Jeep Wrangler’s Trail Rated® status signifies.
The five categories constituting "Trail Rated"
- Ground Clearance: Your Jeep Wrangler will have a large amount of ground clearance on its underside, giving you enough room to traverse across terrain like rocks, logs, and outcroppings, without taking on damage to your undercarriage. This allows you to go over those obstacles you can’t go around.
- Maneuverability: Your Jeep Wrangler has precision steering and optimized wheelbases, ensuring that you can take on tight trail turns and quick direction changes. This is important if you are trying to avoid narrow gaps or navigate obstacles.
- Water Fording: Your Jeep Wrangler will be able to traverse through bodies of water of up to thirty inches deep. Other vehicles would not be able to do this without taking on serious electrical damage, water damage to the interior, or stalling out altogether. This means that all electrical connections and body openings are sealed tight so that you can get through streams and creeks without fear. An important note to keep in mind though is that bodies of water deeper than thirty inches should not be traversed while relying entirely on the stock Trail Rated® components, as damage is more likely to occur.
- Articulation: Your Jeep Wrangler will be able to maintain forward momentum for longer durations, even when one wheel is off the ground due to the high suspension flexibility that each model has. Your wheels will always remain stable and engaged even if one of them is in the air.
- Traction: Your Jeep Wrangler will fare better than most other vehicles on roads and trails that are both rocky and slippery. You will be able to take on unpredictable terrain and driving conditions with peace of mind.
In order for a Jeep Wrangler to earn the exclusive Trail Rated® status, it must surpass several testing phases, one of which is on the famed Rubicon Trail in California. The terrain there is some of the most challenging in North America, with unforgiving rock ranges, sometimes frigid temperatures, and what some would consider to be treacherous trails.
Ultimately, owners of a Trail Rated® Jeep Wrangler can be confident in knowing that their vehicle is versatile and capable, even in the toughest of weather conditions and terrain.