4×4 and Off-Roading Features of Jeep’s Trailhawk Models

November 9th, 2016 by

Aventura Jeep Renegade 4x4 Capability

When it comes to Jeeps, people think “off-road adventure,” and they’d be right. Many Jeep models are 4x4s, and they are equipped with excellent off-roading features. Yet, some models are better equipped to take on the most challenging terrains, and they are called the Trailhawk trims. There are three different Trailhawk trims on three Jeep models — the Grand Cherokee, Cherokee, and Renegade — and soon enough there will be a fourth Trailhawk model when the all-new Jeep Compass and all of its trims are made available. What makes these particular models so tough?

Trail Rated Tough

Let’s first look at the “Trail Rated” badge. Off-road masters like the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, and Jeep Renegade Trailhawk all wear this badge. What is Trail Rated? Straight from Jeep themselves, “The Trail Rated badge means that your Jeep 4×4 has been designed to perform in five categories of off-road conditions: traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation, and water fording.”

It’s a good thing to keep in mind, because although a lot of Jeeps are tough, only specific trims can wear the badge. Okay, so what are some of the systems that one would see in a Trail Rated Jeep? Good question.

4×4 Systems

A 4×4 system is a variation of a drivetrain that is capable of providing power to all four wheels. Although many Jeeps have a 4×4 system, they’re all different in their own way.

Jeep Active Drive I and Jeep Active Drive II can be found on the Cherokee. Drive II is designed for low-range driving, rock crawling, or towing behind an RV. Drive I is made for drivers in unpredictable weather, as its brake traction control makes it ideal for all-weather capabilities. A third system, Jeep Active Drive Lock, can only be found on the Trailhawk trim, featuring all of that on the Drive II 4×4 system, plus a mechanical rear axle lock and the Trail Rated off-road functionality.

Multiple 4×4 systems are on the 2016 Grand Cherokee, and many more are available on the 2017 lineup. The Quadra-Lift Air Suspension system increases ground clearance up to 10.8 inches. Quadra-Drive returns as Quadra-Drive II 4×4, combining the traction of Quadra-Trac II and Selec-Terrain for superior all-weather traction and off-road capability. The two trac 4×4 systems return, Quadra-Trac I and Quadra-Trac II, with the former providing power to the front and rear axles, and the latter that combats wheel slippage by rerouting torque to the wheels with the most traction.

The Jeep Renegade is a very sporty Jeep model and it has two 4×4 systems – Jeep Active Drive and Jeep Active Drive Low. Both systems feature a rear axle disconnect system that seamlessly switches between two and four-wheel drive, and Active Drive features a Selec-Terrain traction management system so drivers can take on snow, sand, and mud without delay. Active Drive Low features all of this and more for the Renegade Trailhawk, featuring a 4WD low mode for low-speed traction and towing.

The 2016 Jeep Compass had what is known as Freedom Drive I, a 4×4 system designed as a combination between Jeep Active Drive and Quadra-Trac II, made for snow, ice, and mud, and detecting and correcting wheel slippage. In the 2017 Compass, Freedom Drive II builds on top of Freedom Drive I and adds a selectable locking off-road mode with hill descent control for superior off-road capability and control.

Trailhawk Models

Alongside special 4×4 systems, the group of Jeep Trailhawk trims have a variety of other features  that help them dominate trails and obstacles.

Let’s take the Jeep Cherokee as an example. Most if not all trims, including the Cherokee Trailhawk, come with the standard 184-hp 2.4-liter Tigershark I4 engine. Two of the three Active Drive systems are available, along with Select-Terrain traction control. However, only the Cherokee Trailhawk is built to withstand off-roading and rock crawling. Additionally, the Cherokee Trailhawk comes with skid plates, a 1-inch suspension lift, all-season tires for any kind of weather, and front and rear red tow hooks.

The tow hooks and the skid plates are the outstanding differences, so quick break to discuss them. Skid plates let drivers take on the toughest trails and terrain without risking damage to the underside of their vehicle when going off-road. Red tow hooks (aside from red being more easily spotted in the dark), are located in the front and back of the Jeep and they make it easier to tow, or be towed out of a tight spot. Red tow hooks can tow 1.5 times the gross vehicle weight, so they’re great to have when going off-road.

Another good example is the mighty Jeep Renegade. We all love the Renegade, it’s just so cool. This time around, the Renegade Trailhawk actually comes standard with a better, more powerful engine. Under the hood is a 2.4-liter I4 MultiAir engine generating 180-hp and 175 lb-ft of torque, twenty more horsepower than the standard 1.4 turbo engine. Secondly, although Jeep Active Drive is available on the Sport, Latitude, and Limited models, Jeep Active Drive II is exclusive to the Renegade Trailhawk trim. Plus, it’s also equipped with standard skid plates, a raised ride height, all-terrain tires, and red tow hooks on the front and rear bumpers.

All this and more is what makes Jeep vehicles Trail Rated tough and built for off-roading adventure. Looking for a new Jeep to go trekking in? Look no further than our inventory.

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