2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk: What Does Trail Rated Mean Anyway?
by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on November 5, 2015
The "trail rated" badge on our 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk used to mean something very specific. When it came out around 2004, it was given to certain Jeep vehicles that had the ability to tackle trails that most ordinary SUVs wouldn't dare. Since then, the requirements have changed a bit.
These days, the Trail Rated badge merely implies that the Jeep in question has a certain level of capability in five specific areas: water fording, suspension articulation, maneuverability, ground clearance and traction. What those levels are isn't exactly clear.
For instance, in the traction category, Jeep's website lists the overall crawl ratio as the measure of traction. Sure, a good crawl ratio helps, but it's hardly the only thing that comes into play when it comes to traction. In the articulation category, it lists the very relevant Ramp Travel Index, but also shows that the Renegade delivers the same number as the older Patriot and Compass models. It also seems a bit optimistic according to our tests.
I have no doubt that our Renegade is a surprisingly capable vehicle off-road. In the hands of a skilled driver, it can probably tackle trails that are far beyond what most owners expect. Does the Trail Rated badge mean the same thing that it does on a Wrangler? Not quite. But it does mean something.
Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor