Lyman Trail is in the backwoods of the Chelsea Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Mich. It's where FCA goes to push off-roaders to the limits. Autoblog's Greg Miglore made a recent visit to Lyman Trail with the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. Check out the video to see how the SUV performed.
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[00:00:00] We are on Lyman Trail here, deep within the Chelsea proving grounds in the woods. This is where they test all the off-roaders, the Jeeps, the Rams, everything that's capable and needs some sort of a trail rating - this is where they bring it to shake it down. It's all downhill from here. Except when it's rocky and wet. Here we go!

[00:00:30] Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is very capable off-road. Of course it's trail-rated. It definitely has all of the gizmos and things that you need to get over the obstacles that we're going to encounter. This first one is called traction. This is where, basically, to be trail-rated the vehicles need to have a certain degree of traction so they can basically, you know, stay sure-footed over certain obstacles. When going up things like this, pick your line, I'm going straight up the middle, and just stay nice and even.

[00:10:00] Go straight up let the Jeep do the work, keep on going, skid plates doing their thing, there ya go.

This one is over the riverbed. This simulates a dried riverbed. It's rocky, lots of stones here, things you might see on the shores of Lake Michigan. We're just gonna go right over it. Keep it nice and simple. Nice and easy. Okay, hit it kind of hard, gonna straighten the wheels. Again, you hear those skid plates, they are protecting the fuel tank, ...

[00:01:30] the transfer case, and the front of the vehicle. So I'm not gonna touch the brakes, I just want to go over it nice and easy.

We've come upon one of my favorite events here. This is where you go through the water. It's basically mud, a little bit of a bog kind of thing. Jeeps are so capable, you don't even have to worry about it.The trick about going through the water is to keep a nice even pace ...

[00:02:00] and don't loose your nerve. Some people go in the water and are like "woah," freaking out because literally there's water all around you. So, just keep right on going, steer, point the vehicle right on through. We're making some waves here. Keep on going. Keep it smooth. Up the hill we go. And there you have it. Your Jeep not only went off-roading, it went off-landing. That's a bad joke.

[00:02:30] Alright so that was going through the water. We're gonna do the opposite of that right now, which is to go up the ground clearance. Ground clearance is another hallmark of Jeeps, of off-road vehicles. You need ground clearance to really do anything. I think it's in some ways more important than anything else. There ya go.

[00:03:00] B-roll

So we've reached articulation - one of the signature things of any Jeep. Basically you put a couple wheels off, up in the air, and the other ones just do their thing to keep you safe and secure and going right through it. Like the other obstacles, the idea is to pick your line, gonna try and center this right here, and then just keep it nice and smooth. Here we go. Feels like we're gonna tip over, but we're not.

[00:03:30] Up and down we go. Over the hills. Keep it nice and smooth. Nice and consistent. Try and keep your insides inside. And there you go. That was a lot of fun.

The mud, the trees, the dirt, the rocks, they were no match for the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. Don't be fooled by its luxurious features. The Trailhawk is first and foremost an off-road machine. For Autoblog, I'm Greg Migliore.

Autoblog accepts vehicle loans from auto manufacturers with a tank of gas and sometimes insurance for the purpose of evaluation and editorial content. Like most of the auto news industry, we also sometimes accept travel, lodging and event access for vehicle drive and news coverage opportunities. Our opinions and criticism remain our own — we do not accept sponsored editorial.

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