Jeep Wrangler, Grand Cherokee to Earn Desert Rated Badge

June 3rd, 2020 by

After initially debuting on the Jeep Gladiator, the Jeep Desert rated badge is set to make its way throughout the rest of the brand’s lineup, starting with the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. Sources confirmed an upcoming Wrangler Mojave trim set to debut sometime in 2020, but the inclusion of the Grand Cherokee in the Desert Rated conversation is new. We can expect that the Desert Rated models will mirror the Trail Rated models, with nearly-identical capabilities throughout. 

As the Desert Rated designation fluctuates across the brand’s lineup, the Mojave trim remains the only one with a Desert Rated badge. Existing Trail Rated trims, such as the Rubicon and Trailhawk trims, will remain untouched without desert capabilities. And while the Mojave trim is designated as the pinnacle of Jeep’s desert performance, an all-new Deserthawk is designed to slot underneath. The upcoming 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee (and the rumored Jeep Wagoneer) are both due to get at least a Deserthawk trim. Additionally, given that the Jeep Cherokee currently offers buyers a Trailhawk trim, the next-generation model might just get a Deserthawk trim as well — but that’s much further down the road. Both the Grand Cherokee and Wagoneer are currently slightly delayed due to Coronavirus. 

To earn a Trail Rated badge, Jeep models have to exceed capacity in the following five areas: vehicle traction, maneuverability, water fording, ground clearance, and off-road articulation. A Desert Rated badge also requires Jeep vehicles to be capable in five criteria — traction, desert prowess, ride control and stability, maneuverability and ground clearance. The distinction between the two badges is clear, as “desert prowess” indicates that vehicles such as the Gladiator Mojave are tuned to rise up to the challenge of desert terrain. 

Traditionally, Jeep’s best off-road offerings have been limited to body-on-frame vehicles, such as the Wrangler and Gladiator. Experts believe that the Deserthawk trim will be reserved for unibody models, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee or Compass. Jeep, in the spirit of offering individualization and exclusivity, will keep Desert Rated badges to the most capable off-road offerings in its lineup. There’s always a chance that could change later on, but experts don’t see Jeep sprinkling a Desert Rated badge to every vehicle in its lineup.

The Desert Rated Wrangler is expected to debut in the coming months, sporting its first-ever Desert Rated badge. Many Deserthawk trims are set to roll out after the big reveal. Jeep remains one of the only manufacturers to continuously dedicate a thorough part of its lineup to capable off-road vehicles. Expanding to new terrain types — as others usurp the off-road market — was only a matter of time for the automaker.

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