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April 4, 2020

What Does the Jeep "Trail Rated" Badge Mean?

Today is Jeep 4x4 Day, the annual celebration of the iconic brand, and the freedom of off-road driving that goes with it. In commemoration, Jeep goes behind the brand’s “Trail Rated” badge—a mark reserved for only the most off-road capable models in their line-up.

Now in its fifth year, Jeep 4x4 Day is held on the fourth day of the fourth month (4/4) and is now enjoyed by Jeep owners and enthusiasts worldwide. It recognizes the invention of the SUV and the 80 years of Jeep evolution and innovation that have followed.

From Argentina to Zambia and everywhere in between, the Jeep brand's “Trail Rated” certification is so much more than just a badge. It is a methodology, a guarantee and a recognized standard for proven off-road capability. Trail Rated Jeep vehicles are put through a series of grueling tests designed to prove off-road performance on the world’s most demanding terrain.

The testing process begins in Jeep’s research and development departments, continues in the icy temperatures of North Michigan and finishes in the boulders of the Rubicon Trail, considered the toughest off-road testing ground in the world. The Trail Rated badge certifies that the vehicle has been designed to successfully pass five performance test categories to meet the most extensive level of off-road requirements in a production vehicle – traction, water fording, maneuverability, articulation, and ground clearance. Only when a Jeep model has passed all tests with flying colors can it claim to be among the most capable production off-road models on the market.

Trail Rated is an industry-leading methodology initially established by the Nevada Automotive Test Centre (NATC) and the Jeep R&D Team to objectively measure the off-road performance of all Jeep vehicles. Through a combination of natural and controlled field tests, as well as computer-simulated evaluation tests, this methodology provides a repeatable, consistent, and reliable measurement of off-road performance.

The Five Trail Rated Categories

Traction. Trail Rated Jeep 4x4s feature a variety of four-wheel-drive systems to suit all kinds of off-road challenges and driving conditions. Trail Rated traction helps maintain a controlled forward motion in snow, ice, sand, and mud. Traction testing includes traction on untamed, slippery roads (wet, mud, snow) and on steep gradients. Crawl ratio is a key metric used to distinguish the traction and capability of Trail Rated Jeep 4x4s.

Water Fording. Trail Rated Jeep 4x4s feature additional electrical and body sealing along with a high air intake to help navigate streams and flooded underpasses that stop others cold.

Maneuverability. Trail Rated Jeep 4x4s have the capability to navigate narrow gaps, dodge emergency situations and avoid cosmetic damage thanks to precision steering and optimized wheelbases. The smaller the turn radius, the more capable the vehicle is at negotiating narrow gaps.

Articulation. Keeping the rubber on the trail helps the car to keep moving. When one or more wheels are elevated, good articulation allows the other wheel(s) to maintain ground contact longer, allowing for maximum available traction at all times. Trail Rated suspensions enhance off-road performance by maximizing flexibility, axle articulation and wheel travel, to ensure the tires grip the ground, even on steep surfaces.

Ground Clearance. Jeep 4x4s are tested for their ability to drive over obstacles, and the criteria include ground clearance and approach, breakover and departure angles to ensure the car can clear logs, rocks and uneven ground.

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