What in the World is: Trail Rated?
When most vehicle manufacturers make a four-wheel drive system they’ll slap a badge on the vehicle and leave it at that. Jeep didn’t get it’s legendary reputation for it’s off-road capabilities for over 70 years with practices like that. In fact, you can be absolutely certain that if your Jeep has the Trail Rated® badging it has been tested in some of the harshest conditions to perform at the highest level in all aspects of off-roading.
Check out this video from Jeep.com that showcases both the trail and the capabilities of Jeep vehicles.
Jeep has used part of the famous Rubicon Trail (17 miles of harsh terrain) for decades as a proving ground to test their vehicles’ performance in the real world, not just in the laboratory. Jeep has identified 5 key areas for off-roading potential and each Trail Rated® vehicle meets or exceeds the standards set by Jeep for each attribute.
Just because your wheels are touching the ground does not mean you’re utilizing the power of your engine and drivetrain to keep the vehicle moving as expected. Testing for traction includes not only steep grades but also hazardous and slippery road conditions such as snow and mud. Jeep has engineered a variety of 4×4 systems to suit all kinds of off-road driving conditions and challenges with Crawl Ratios that range from 19.1:1 on the (2014) Patriot to 73.1:1 on the (2014) Wrangler Rubicon.
If you’re not prepared for it, water on your path can be anything from a nuisance to downright dangerous and damaging to your vehicle. Whether facing an unexpected flood or taking your Trail Rated® Jeep out for a dip in the river you can be confident that your vehicle is prepared almost anything. Trail Rated® Jeeps are given added electrical and body sealing to keep water out of places it doesn’t belong. They also have a high air intake to keep your engine from drowning while navigating through high waters in conditions that would leave most other vehicles headed to the salvage yard. So tread confidently from the (2014) Patriot with a water depth of 19″ to the (2014) Wrangler Rubicon that can tackle up to 30″.
What good is all this traction and water fording if you’re still not able to control WHERE your vehicle is going? No good at all, that’s what! Jeep knows this and as a result all Trail Rated® vehicles have the agility and maneuverability to navigate narrow gaps, dodge emergency situations and avoid cosmetic damage thanks to precision steering and optimized wheelbases. As Jeep puts it “Even gazelles don’t move like this”. You can expect the turning radius on your Trail Rated® Jeep to range from 26.8″ on the (2014) Cherokee to 16.3″ on the (2014; 2dr) Wrangler.
We’re not talking about the kind of articulation your old High School English teacher used to get on to you for here. When you’re on the trail, articulation is what keeps you moving when one or more of the wheels are elevated while traversing obstacles. Keeping wheels in contact with the ground to help utilize that traction we spoke about earlier is an absolute must on the rocky terrain of the Rubicon Trail and is one of the key elements that have kept the Jeep in the spotlight for so many years. Off-road articulation is measured via the Ramp Travel Index (measured by driving one tire up a 20-degree ramp and stopping when a tire begins to lift off the ground; quantified by the distance up the ramp). At the time of this writing (September 2014) it ranges from 360 on the (2014) Patriot and Compass through 638/484 on the (2014) Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited with the sway bar connected all the way up to 822/644 with the sway bar disconnected.
Putting it all together now, Ground Clearance translates to how large an obstacle you can overcome. 4×4 Jeeps are tested for their ability to drive over obstacles such as logs and rocks (or whatever else might be in your path) so that one day when you actually need the capability you may confidently tackle whatever life throws at you. Trail Rated® vehicles are tested from every conceivable angle including approach, departure and breakover (and, of course, Ground Clearance). Ground Clearance ranges from 8.7″ on the (2014) Cherokee to 11.3″ on the (2014; Quadra-Lift® equipped) Grand Cherokee. Approach angles from 29.0 degrees on the (2014) Patriot to 43.2 degrees on the (2014; Rubicon) Wrangler Unlimited. Breakover Angles range from 21.0 degrees on the (2014; Rubicon) Wrangler Unlimited to 25.8 degrees on the (2014; Rubicon) Wrangler. Lastly, departure angles will range from 29.3 degrees on the (2014) Grand Cherokee to 33.9 degrees on the (2014) Patriot.
See? That shiny silver badge is really more of a medal of off-roading merit.
If you don’t have a Trail Rated® Jeep yet, our World Class Internet Department is available to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. You can check out our inventory and reach them at (800) 680-0835; or with this form if you’d rather e-mail.
Thanks for reading!
Jason Lee Gibson
Your Automotive Digital Informant