How We Score 'Em
Our scoring procedure utilizes five weighted categories. Here's the breakdown: 30% Trail Performance (how a vehicle performs in specific wheeling environments and off-road-centric features like 4WD system operation, tires, traction aids, etc.), 25% Empirical (RTI, acceleration, braking, price, etc.), 20% On Pavement (handling, ride quality, steering feel, etc.) 15% Interior (instrumentation, ingress and egress, seat comfort, storage, etc), and 10% Exterior (appearance, stance, body protection, etc).
Ken Brubaker, Senior Editor
Moab, please. I'm down with the package content of this Wrangler. The electric rear locker, 2.72:1 T-case, 3.73:1 axle ratio, and Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires are perfect for the type of trail-wheeling I love to do (old mining roads in Colorado). I dig the winch-ready front bumper and the fact that the exterior is unique, yet not gaudy (though I'd insist on a less hyperactive color). I think the Trailhawk is cool, but the Moab is less expensive, simpler in regards to suspension and axles, and it gets better fuel mileage.
John Cappa, Editor
I can appreciate the capabilities of both the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk and the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Moab. In most cases the Wrangler would be a better vehicle off-road and the Grand better on-road, but ultimately the Grand would serve me better. I like that it has a higher tow capacity, more comfortable seating for four (or five) and it's just less of a me-too vehicle in my mind. It's a classy 4x4 with aggressive off-road-worthy features and styling.
Jason Gonderman, Web Editor
Both of the competitors this year are excellent and I would be honored to have either in my driveway. However, for the type of off-roading and trails that I like to do, I would have to choose the Jeep Wrangler Moab. It performs great in all types of wheeling, and it is darn comfortable and even fun to drive daily.
Ali Mansour, Technical Editor
This is a tough question. If I had to keep the vehicle stock, the Moab Wrangler is the better all-around vehicle for me. If I could modify the rig, the Grand is what I would want. I already own a modified Jeep Wrangler, and having another doesn't make too much sense to me. The power and feel of the Grand in the sport setting makes for a great handling SUV and something I wouldn't mind heading to the mountains in. Admittedly, it would not be my primary wheeler, but that's not to say that I wouldn't take it off-road. I like the potential of the fully independent suspension and would love to see what it would take to ditch the air-springs for a set of coilovers and maybe put on some long-travel A-arms. A set of lockers would be nice too. Sure, the Wrangler is better off-road in many ways, but I like the build potential of the Grand. If I was stranded on a desert island, I'd choose the Wrangler for its robustness and out-of-the-box off-road prowess, but given I am safe here on the mainland, I would enjoy tinkering with the wild bird that is the Trailhawk.
Steve VonSeggern, Publisher
I'd take the Wrangler Moab home. Not that there's anything wrong with the WK2 Grand Cherokee, or this Trailhawk derivative, but it's just another high-end car-based SUV. Yes, the Grand Cherokee is possibly the most dirt-capable of what's available, but one could be driving one of its M or G class sister ships from M-B or one of the VW-spawned Touareg/Cayenne/Q7 cousins and get mostly the same experience. In fact, that high-quality European feel of the WK2 may be its best asset. Well, except the Hemi, of course, which is wonderfully happy in this car in the way it's not so much powerful as effortless. Not to mention the beautiful sounds the engine makes, unlike so many harsh mechanical-noise-emitting overhead cam motors that come in the alternatives. The Wrangler, however, is in such a class by itself that it stands out as something clearly different and iconic, and it's hard to understand why it sells so well and yet has no competition. Further, it's wonderful to see Chrysler now investing in the product with improvements every year, because they could easily rest on their laurels and still sell every JK they can crank out of Toledo.