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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A yellow 2023 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk parked on a rocky outcropping near a Jeep dealer.

Ranking Jeep’s Adventurers, Off-Road Edition: From the Renegade to the Grand Cherokee

The Wrangler steals the spotlight at Jeep dealers across the nation because it’s hard to argue with a legend. Its heritage in the Jeep lineup is rich, officially putting the automotive brand on the map after World War II. More importantly, it lives up to its reputation as the go-anywhere, do-anything adventurer and has a community of loyal followers proud to be part of the Jeep Wave family. But bright lights cast shadows, even with the best intentions.

The Wrangler isn’t the only adventurer in the Jeep family. The American automaker proves that adventure is in the eye of the beholder by ensuring that every SUV in its lineup has something unique to offer adventurers from all walks of life. We see this firsthand in Jeep’s Trailhawk and Overland trims, gracing the lineups of the award-winning Grand Cherokee, Cherokee, Compass, and Renegade. These trims push the SUVs into the spotlight, showcasing that there’s more to the Jeep lineup if you know where to look.

Trailhawk vs Overland: Adventurous, Capable, and Luxurious

Jeep’s history is intricately intertwined with every inch of American soil we stand on today, with its roots in World War II when the American military asked automakers to design a light reconnaissance vehicle. Jeep, known as then as Willys, never faltered and was one of only a handful to respond to the request. The Quad, as it was known, was quickly delivered to the troops, playing an integral role in the war and immediately setting the automaker on a trajectory of success. When America asked, Willys answered, honored to serve.

The Wrangler is associated with this heritage, tracing its lineage directly back to the Quad. However, there’s more to Jeep than its best-selling and most iconic model. After World War II, civilians wanted the same experience from the Quad, and Jeep delivered. Over the years, those demands have evolved with every breath of the American population, from our insatiable need for adventure to the expectations of luxury we have when navigating our busy lives on and off the pavement.

Trims like the Trailhawk and Overland showcase Jeep’s response and consistency to meet our needs and exceed everything we imagine and expect from the lineup. In 2016, Jeep recognized the growing demand for luxurious SUVs, designing the Cherokee Overland as a crossroads of luxury and capability. Today, the Overland is Jeep’s no-compromise approach to giving us everything we want and more in an SUV.

The legendary capability ingrained in the Jeep lineup is as natural as the air we breathe, but Jeep has consistently gone above and beyond to give us more. This is apparent in the Trailhawk trims, which debuted in the 2017 Grand Cherokee lineup. The most awarded SUV in Jeep history became even more capable that year, with Jeep extending the Trailhawk family to other incredible SUVs that make adventure accessible to more drivers. This accessibility, whether you’re looking for luxury in the Overland or the extreme adventures of a Trailhawk, earns Jeep its acclaim. When drivers ask, Jeep excitedly responds.

Overhead view of a grey 2024 Jeep Compass Trailhawk parked in the woods.

The Unassuming Dirt Road Warriors: The Compass Trailhawk and Renegade Trailhawk

The Renegade and Compass aren’t often the first SUVs that come to mind when you think of an adventure-ready Jeep, but trims like the Trailhawk nudge the subcompact SUVs further into the realm of capability (nudge being the keyword). The Renegade is easily at the bottom of the Jeep lineup as the smallest in the fleet, but it’s also the most affordable. Jeep adds to its appeal with the Renegade Trailhawk, catering to adventurers on a budget. What earns it that Trailhawk designation?

Jeep gives the Renegade Trailhawk a black-painted accent roof and 17-inch on and off-road tires that differentiate it from the Altitude and Limited trims. Beyond that, the Trailhawk is a blank canvas that you can tailor to your adventure needs, such as opting for Jeep’s Selec-Terrain Traction Management System and adding perks like heated front seats trimmed in leather. Even then, the Renegade Trailhawk isn’t built to venture too far off the pavement, with its lower ground clearance faring better on well-maintained dirt or gravel roads.

The Compass Trailhawk tends to lean more into adventure and value, with Jeep shying away from the Renegade’s blank canvas design to distinguish the Trailhawk from the rest of the Compass lineup. For example, the Compass Trailhawk is trail-rated and features an off-road suspension that heightens its agility on the trail, putting it a rung above the Renegade on Jeep’s ladder of capability. Apart from this designation, the signature red tow hooks, and hood decal, the Trailhawk is a luxury- and tech-oriented package, adding extensive safety, driver-assist, and connectivity features that make the SUV well-suited for pavement running or easy-rated trails.

The Most Capable Trailhawk: The Cherokee

Where the Compass and Renegade give some semblance of adventure and capability, filling a much-needed vacancy in the Jeep lineup, models like the Cherokee Trailhawk take a different approach. The Cherokee Trailhawk is what people think of when they think of Jeep’s legendary capability off the pavement. The trail-rated trim sits taller to accommodate more technical terrain and instill confidence in the driver’s seat. Jeep heightens this confidence and the Cherokee Trailhawk’s handling and off-road competency by outfitting it with the renowned Selec-Terrain Traction Management System with its five drive modes, the automaker’s Active Drive Lock 4X4 System with a rear locker, and skid plates.

The combination is extraordinary, with the Cherokee Trailhawk engineered as a go-anywhere SUV that can comfortably handle your weekday commute and never miss a beat when venturing off the pavement. Jeep takes this appeal even further, outfitting the best-selling SUV with class-exclusive features that extend from the Cherokee Trailhawk’s expansive digital displays to its award-winning powertrain. These features earn the Cherokee Trailhawk the honor of being the most capable SUV with the Trailhawk designation.

A blue 2023 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk barrels through deep snow.

Offering the Best of Both Worlds: The Grand Cherokee Overland

Who says adventure can’t be luxurious? The Grand Cherokee has a stellar reputation as the most-awarded SUV in Jeep history. Its success is deeply tied to its versatility and capability, but Jeep’s ongoing efforts to evolve the Grand Cherokee play a critical factor. Instead of resting on its laurels, Jeep digs in and looks for ways to give us everything we can imagine and more. The Grand Cherokee Overland embodies that approach as a crossroads of luxury and legendary capability.

The Grand Cherokee Overland expertly toes the line between a luxurious chariot and a capable adventurer, begging to be taken in either direction on a whim. Jeep guarantees this on-demand capability by equipping the Grand Cherokee Overland with the essentials, from the Quadra-Trac II Active On-Demand 4X4 System to the Quadra-Lift Suspension System that improves ride quality and handling on any terrain and in any condition. With the Grand Cherokee Overland’s off-road capability well established, the SUV’s focus turns to opulence, guaranteeing that you never have to “rough it” when tackling technical terrain. Luxury is everywhere you look, from the premium leather-trimmed interior to the heated and ventilated front seats and the heated second-row seats that heighten every experience on and off the pavement.

When the Pavement Ends

If you’re behind the wheel of a Jeep, you’re already ahead of the game because of the automaker’s incredible reputation for offering legendary capability with its four-wheel drive systems. It’s determining the right level of capability for your adventuring needs that’s essential to choosing the right Jeep for you.

The Renegade and Compass are Jeeps worthy of the spotlight. They offer budget-friendly models capable of light off-roading without requiring you to spend a fortune to join the Jeep family. Alternatively, drivers looking for the genuine Jeep experience will find it more so in the Cherokee Trailhawk, with the Grand Cherokee Overland blending that capability with luxury fit for royalty. These characteristics make the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee the top contenders, with the Trailhawk and Overland trims showcasing how Jeep readily and excited answers the call for more without asking us to compromise.

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