Jeep Trail Rated vs Non Trail Rated

You’ve probably seen the Trail Rated badge on the back of many Jeeps, but what does it mean? This silver emblem shows that a Jeep can go through rough terrain. What makes a Jeep Trail Rated is listed below.

Jeep’s Trail-Rated label stands for reliability and off-road capability. It is awarded to Jeep models that have shown their off-road prowess through a battery of demanding testing. To ensure that your Jeep can truly “Go anywhere, Do anything” look for a model that has been “Trail-Rated.”

When the first Trail Rated Jeeps hit the market in 2004, it shook up the auto industry. At last, drivers had a choice in transportation capable of handling both paved roads and rugged terrain. Having the Trail Rated logo on a vehicle has proven a reliable indicator that it can handle any terrain.

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

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

Jeep Trail Rated is an industry-leading methodology to objectively measure and predict off-road performance for all Jeep vehicles.

The Nevada Automotive Test Center (NATC) backs Jeep Trail Rated because of their 45 years of experience evaluating off-road vehicles and developing standards for the United States military.

It was meant to give car companies safe places to test their vehicles and tools. In 1994, Jeep began to rate trails. Even though the trail rating badges didn’t start to show up on different brands and models until 2004.

They made the badges so that people who drive off-road and on adventures would know which vehicles were better at getting through rough terrain.

While on these trails, a Jeep’s performance is tested on the following areas.

Water Fording

A lot of automobiles would be too scared to drive through water. A Jeep that has been given the Trail Rated label has had all of its apertures and electrical connections waterproofed. Additionally, the air intake is situated higher on the vehicle, allowing it to be driven in wet environments such as streams, puddles, and even floods.


Jeeps are able to overcome barriers, avoid danger, and respond to emergencies because to their tight turning circles, responsive steering, and optimum wheelbases.


The Jeep’s suspension needs to be sturdy enough to absorb the impact of driving through construction sites and potholes. The ride must be smooth, but the car must be able to handle a few bumps. That is to say, the automobile has to remain stable even when driving through rough terrain.


A vehicle’s traction is its ability to keep in contact with the pavement. Jeep’s 4×4 systems have to pass this test every year to make sure they’re up to the high standards the company has set for themselves. When driving circumstances are less than ideal, you can rest assured that a Jeep Trail Rated vehicle will get you to your destination safely.

Jeep Trail Rated vs Non Trail Rated

Ground Clearance

A vehicle’s ground clearance is the vertical distance between its undercarriage and the ground. In addition to calculating the ground clearance, the ground clearance test calculates the approach angle, breakover angle, and departure angle. Jeep models with the Trail Rated badge have had these three dimensions optimised for superior off-road performance.

NATC and Jeep altered the NATC vehicle-trail rating categorization system to evaluate the capability of various Jeeps, although NATC maintains the testing procedure is unique.

What is the Purpose of Trail Rating?

If you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering why we bother with trail ratings. Jeep adopted the trail rates in response to the rising popularity of SUVs. The goal was to show potential buyers that Jeeps are capable off-road vehicles.

Many automakers tout the off-road capability of their vehicles, but such boasting lacks any sort of objective rating system. The primary goal of Jeep ratings is to reassure customers that they are purchasing vehicles that can successfully handle off-road conditions. In this way, you can take your vehicle off the beaten path and have some exciting new experiences.

What is the Purpose of Trail Rating?

Are All Jeeps Trail Rated?

Trail-rated vehicles are subjected to extensive testing and examination before being awarded the emblem. Yet, not every Jeep model is road-worthy.

Trailed Rated Jeeps in the current model lineup include:

  • Jeep Cherokee
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Jeep Wrangler
  • Jeep Compass
  • Jeep Gladiator
  • Jeep Renegade

You can safely take to the open road in any of these vehicles. Since these automobiles have more to offer than unrated ones, you may expect to have a more pleasant driving experience.

Which one is best: Trail Rated vs. Non Trail Rated?

Will you go with the Trail-rated vehicle or settle with the non-trail rated? To answer this question is to know what is your purpose in buying the Jeep.

If you only want to use it for daily transportation, a Jeep that isn’t made for off-roading should be fine. But if you like the outdoors and want to use the Jeep for off-road activities, I would suggest getting the trail-rated vehicle. If you want to do both, then you should get a Jeep that can handle rough terrain.

You should also know that there’s a big difference between the two vehicles. Trail Rated Jeeps are more expensive than the same model without the badge. So, it all depends on what you want the car for and how much money you have.

Which one is best: Trail Rated vs. Non Trail Rated?

Are There Any Disadvantages To Buying A Non-Trail Rated Jeep?

If you purchase a Jeep that is not Trail-Rated, your ability to travel off-road will be restricted. You will have a greater chance of being bogged down on the trail and causing damage to your vehicle.

If, on the other hand, you keep away from the trail, you won’t find that much of a difference. Nevertheless, if you want to go off-roading and drive in any kind of weather, you should choose a Jeep that is rated for trail driving.


The Trail Rating Badge is only awarded to the most rugged and off-road ready Jeeps. While every Jeep can handle the majority of terrains and climates, only those with the Trail Badge are truly acknowledged to be the most off-road capable vehicles.

However, if you are a road trip type of person, you should get trail-rated vehicles. That way, you will enjoy your off-road trips and have more fun when you are on the road. Besides, with this option, you can be certain that you will enjoy the road trip and reduce the chances of any issues on the road. Moreover, where you are driving is rocky or steep, the trail-rated vehicles will give you a great service.

Frequently Asked questions

What is the difference between a Trail Rated Jeep?

When you see the Trail Rated badge it means that Jeep model is capable of performing in off road conditions comfortably. This designation is given by testing each jeep in different categories. They are Traction, Water Fording, Maneuverability, Articulation and Ground Clearance.

Why is my jeep not Trail Rated?

In order for a Jeep to become Trail Rated, the Jeep must pass strict specifications regarding vehicle traction, maneuverability, ground clearance, water fording, and off-road articulation.

Where do Jeeps get Trail Rated?

The Jeep Trail Rated Badge testing takes place in the famous Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. It has one of the toughest off-road terrains.

Do all Jeeps have Trail Rated?

All Wrangler and Gladiator models come with the Trail Rated badge, while the Grand Cherokee, Cherokee, Compass, and Renegade all come with a Trail Rated Trailhawk trim level. The Trail Rated badge isn’t given; it is earned. All Jeep Trail Rated vehicles are pushed to their limits by a treacherous five-phase test.

Andrea Barbuti
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