Trailhawk. A bit of an oxymoron, we sometimes wonder what exactly Jeep® was thinking when they combined these two somewhat opposing terms. A bird of prey does not usually use the trails of the land to get around and a car does not generally fly through the air! Maybe it has to do with their origins in the U.S. Army, maybe not. However, one things is for certain. If a Jeep vehicle has a Trailhawk badge, then it’s  a Trail Rated Tough off-road vehicle.

What is a Trailhawk Model?

If a Jeep model trim is a Trailhawk, then it’s the best-of-the-best in the Jeep lineup. There are several key differences in a Trailhawk model, some aesthetic and some more mechanical. The equipment and features one may find are red tow hooks, increased ground clearance, a distinctive front fascia, and many have an exterior hood decal. Furthermore, the interiors usually come with leather seating and “Trailhawk” stitched into the seats.

A Trailhawk trim is also called “Trail Rated Tough.” Simply put, it means that specific trim or model has been tested to withstand various off-road conditions and challenges. Some of the elements tested are: traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation, and water fording. To combat with such challenges, every Jeep has a 4x4 system. Jeep Trailhawk trims sometimes have an exclusive 4x4 off-road system. All Jeeps come with a Selec-Terrain Traction Control System that can drive through snow, sand/mud, and rock depending on the dial setting the driver selects and what modes are available.

Trailhawk Models

There are a total of four Jeep models that have a Trailhawk trim. They are the new Jeep Compass, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Cherokee, and Jeep Renegade. The major differences between them are their 4x4 systems.

The Jeep Compass and Jeep Renegade come with the standard Jeep Active Drive Low 4x4 system, once exclusive to the Renegade before the new Compass was born. This system features a 20:1 low crawl ratio for great torque at low speeds, and has the following modes with the Selec-Terrain Traction Control System: Auto, Snow, Rock, and Mud.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee comes with the Quadra-Drive II 4x4 system, integrated with a rear electronic limited slip-differential. What this means is that a system integrated into this Jeep model prevents an excess of power being delivered to one wheel when another slips or is freely spinning; an electronic variation is controlled by the vehicle’s computer. With the Quadra-Drive II 4x4 system however, it can send 100% of all available torque to a single wheel if needed, such as getting out of a ditch or the sand where the majority of wheels are freely spinning. It has the following modes with the Selec-Terrain Traction Control System: Auto, Sand/Mud, Snow, and Rock.

The Jeep Cherokee comes with Jeep Active Drive II and Active Drive Lock. This system allows the driver to lock the vehicle into a 4x4 drivetrain; the others are part-time. Otherwise, the system will engage four-wheel drive when driving conditions call for it, a low range mode has been added for great extra low-speed traction, and a neutral mode has been added for flat towing behind an RV. Plus, the Active Drive Lock come with the exclusive Selec-Terrain Traction Management Rock mode.


Made for going off-road, Trailhawk models are the ones to get. Looking for your own? You can check out our inventory today.

Photo Source/Copyright: Jeep