desert rated, desert approved

Jeep Could Be About to Make Its SUVs Even Tougher, Starting With the Wrangler


May 30, 2020 Cars By
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Back in the 2000s, Jeep debuted the “Trail Rated” badge on its SUVs, signifying that the model boasting said badge was the most off-road capable version (and implicitly acknowledging Jeep made some SUVs that were not). But the march of progress means even Jeep can’t rest on its laurels, so this year, the company introduced the Desert Rated badge on the new Gladiator Mojave, signifying that the truck boasting it is even more off-road capable. Now, according to reports, that badge is set to make its way to the Wrangler — followed by much of the Jeep lineup.

The Desert Rated badge is meant to show extreme competency across five broad categories: ride control/stability, sand/dirt traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, and desert prowess (resistance to heat and sand). It’s meant to signify that the vehicle boasting it is more of a Baja 1000-style high-speed desert cruiser like the Ford F-150 Raptor vs. a low-speed rock climber like the Wrangler Rubicon.

Mopar Insiders says the next Jeep vehicle to become Desert Rated will be the Wrangler, with a Wrangler Mojave version coming out in 2021. (Interestingly, the report claims it could come with a manual transmission connected to the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, which has not previously been offered.) After that, according to Motor Trend, the badge may also make it to a new Deserthawk trim of the upcoming 2021 Wagoneer, Grand Cherokee and, potentially, the Cherokee.

Is this badge mostly marketing? Maybe. We’d suspect most Jeep owners won’t be testing their vehicle’s heat resistance or performing high-speed maneuvers during a school run. But knowing your vehicle could do those badass things has always been an inherent part of the Jeep appeal —  as is having your Jeep looking the part. So expect all those Desert Rated models to be popular.

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Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol's Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He's based outside Detroit.

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