What Does It Mean for a Jeep to Be Trail Rated?

The aggressive exterior look of Jeep is just one small aspect that makes them unique. 

Under the hood, the Jeep is powered by a potent engine that offers the power to handle harsh terrains and off-road conditions. 

This makes the Jeep a great and fun-to-ride vehicle. 

Because of its high-tech 4×4 technology, you may safely drive through practically any terrain, both on- and off-road. 

Because of the off-road nature of the Jeep vehicles, there was a need for some kind of standardization to ensure that your Jeep meets the off-road conditions that you plan to subject it to. 

To do this, Jeep introduced the Trail Rating. 

What Does It Mean for A Jeep to Be Trail Rated?

A Trail Rated badge on a Jeep means that it is capable of handling off-road situations with ease. Each Jeep is tested in a variety of criteria before receiving this distinction. Areas critically inspected before awarding the trail-rated badge are traction, ability to cross water bodies, agility, articulation, and ground clearance among others. 

Jeep SUVs have been designed to offer reliable and high-quality safety for both the passengers and the driver regardless of the terrain and the nature of the adventure. 

The Jeep is the best vehicle for all seasons and all-weather. 

It is an exciting option for the family that loves to have some thrilling experiences. 

The Jeep will be subjected to numerous standard tests to ensure its off-road abilities are of the highest standard before it is given the badge. 

This is meant to provide drivers with the peace of mind that the vehicle they are handling will manage the kind of terrain and off-road conditions that it is being subjected to. 

In 1994, the Jeep Trail Rated badge was introduced for the very first time. Because of the growing popularity of the SUVs, Jeep decided that it was critical to let buyers know that the Jeeps they are buying are capable of handling the kind of off-road conditions that they are being subjected to. 

This was meant to set the Jeep apart from its rivals, branding themselves as competent off-road brands. 

How To Get a Trail Rated Badge

Before the badge is awarded to a vehicle, it is thoroughly tested under various conditions to ensure that it is fit to handle the most versatile off-road situations. The specific conditions include:

  • Traction
  • Ability to cross waterways
  • Agility
  • Articulation
  • Ground clearance. 

Traction: How the Jeep Handles Tough Terrains and Road Conditions

Traction testing involves two significant factors. These are:

  • Uneven and irregular terrain
  • All-weather surface conditions – this includes sleet, rain, snow, and muddy roads

The Jeep will be evaluated under these criteria to ensure that a trail Rated vehicle can maintain traction in all situations. 

For the tests, the Jeep will be subjected to extreme conditions. 

Sometimes even more complicated than you can meet in real life. 

This is meant to simulate the worst situation that the Jeep can handle if you are driving. 

Since the Jeep enthusiasts are usually off-road addicts, they will only buy Jeeps that have the recommended Trail Rating to have the confidence of handling the harshest terrain that they wish to subject their vehicle to.

Ability to Cross Waterways

This is also referred to as “Water Fording.” This refers to the Jeep’s capacity to drive across waterways. 

One of the most common scenarios, when you are exploring off-road driving, is the occurrence of waterways. 

In the past, the only thing considered was the ability to flood the vehicle. 

But currently, for a Jeep to be awarded the Trail Rating badge, it has to demonstrate its ability to cross the most complicated waterways that it will be subjected to. 

To do this, competent drivers are given the Jeep, and the conditions are created to try and cross. 

This waterway will be designed to have different water levels. 

The Jeep will be tested severally on the standard waterways, which have features that are common to those that are found naturally in real life. 

As technology advances, vehicles are designed with many fragile processors on them that are used to control various aspects of the car. 

When driving through pools of water, whether it is shallow or deep waters, you are likely to damage some electrical device attached to your vehicle. 

This may lead to unnecessary and costly repairs and sometimes complete failure or short circuit of the vehicle’s electrical system. 

Because of this, the air intakes on such vehicles are located high in the car, and the electric connections are encased in a seal. 

Trail Rated means your Jeep has been tested in the deep and sometimes impassable water, and the electrical system has been protected and has been proven to hold up in such extreme conditions. 

Agility: How Maneuverable the Jeep Is

Another condition that the Jeep must meet to be awarded the Trail Rating badge is its agility when subjected to harsh terrains. 

Whether you are driving your Jeep in extreme off-road conditions or on the highway, maneuverability is a critical component. 

The maneuverability of the Jeep SUVs is self-evident in this case. 

There is always the risk of taking an unpredictable turn too soon when driving off-road. 

Jeep understands that drivers don’t want their off-road driving experience to be jeopardized by the vehicle slowing down when it is supposed to be moving at a specific speed. 

To test this, obstacles are set on courses, and the Jeep is tested on its nimbleness to handle the obstacles. 

The Jeep has proven that it is equipped with the right combination of wheelbase, suspension, dependability, and power to allow the drivers to fully control their Jeep and take them into and out of complex situations. 

Once the Jeep is tested and passes these set complicated obstacles and maneuverability tests; it is then awarded the badge to indicate that it can be relied upon to handle a similar situation in real life. 

Articulation: Ability to Maintain Control and Contact

Articulation of the Jeep is another critical component in the achievement of the Trail Rated Badge. 

This is the ability of the vehicle to maintain control and contact with the uneven terrain even if some wheels are unable to touch the ground. 

As long as the road is in good condition, the other wheels can readily compensate for the wheels not gripping the road well. 

A Trail Rated Jeep will have excellent traction and suspension and will continue moving forward even on the pathetic roads and uneven terrain where other cars would get stuck easily. 

Ground Clearance: The Distance from the Ground to the Chassis

Ground clearance is an important factor to consider when shopping for an off-road vehicle. 

For the Jeep, this is basically how high it is suspended from the ground to allow it to go over common off-road obstacles without harming the Jeep’s undercarriage components. 

While they may have a 4WD and other off-road characteristics, SUVs that are not Trail-Rated have little ground clearance, rendering them prone to becoming trapped in moderate to extreme road conditions. 

This is not an issue with Trail Rated Jeeps. 

As a result, these tests are conducted in various harsh settings to simulate real-life off-road obstacles. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which models of Jeep have the Trail Rated Badge?

Trail Rated Jeep models include Jeep Wrangler, Patriot, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Renegade, and the Wrangler Unlimited. 

All the Wrangler trim levels come standard with the trail-rated badge. 

Is trail rating important?

Yes. Buying a Jeep that has a Trail Rated badge will give you the confidence that it has ample ground clearance to provide you with enough space between the undercarriage of your vehicle and the terrain to avoid hitting obstacles. 


If you are looking for a Jeep that will give you the ultimate off-road experience, it is important to go for the one that has the Trail Rate Badge. 

This will provide you with the confidence and peace of mind that the vehicle will handle the most complicated terrains with ease.

Trail Rated Jeeps are tested in conditions that are a tad more complicated than the real-life off-road conditions to ensure that they can easily handle this kind of condition if they occur. 

Jeep drivers are often off-road enthusiasts. 

The Trail Rating will not only guarantee their safety but will also ensure you take calculated risks even when the circumstances and road quality is unpredictable. 

Be warned that not all off-road vehicles have the capacity to handle off-road conditions like the Trail Rated Jeeps. 

A car will only receive this badge after being tested under the most extreme conditions and has been proven to hold up.

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