‘Jeep Market Research’ emailed one forum member asking for insights.
The Ford Bronco offers Trail Turn Assist. The GMC Hummer EV will feature a unique Crab Mode for its four-wheel steering. And Toyota has included Turn Assist Control on the Land Cruiser for years now. So is Jeep next to jump on the induced-yaw bandwagon? One enthusiast received a market research email that suggests the company is considering it.
According to screenshots posted on JL Wrangler Forums, a sender named “Jeep Market Research'' emailed a survey to members of a Jeep enthusiast panel, informing them that their opinions might help shape a future product from the company. While the origin of the email isn’t exactly concrete (we’ve reached out to Jeep representatives to confirm), it would make sense for the off-road automaker to ask its enthusiasts whether a feature would improve their experience with Jeep products.
Gallery: 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon: Rubicon Trail
Forum user “JDyj90” posted screenshots of the survey, inquiring if an off-road turn assist feature – locking the inside rear wheel around corners when the vehicle is in low range – would be useful. The question specifically calls out improved maneuverability on long-wheelbase vehicles, leading us to wonder if the 2021 Grand Cherokee L or production Grand Wagoneer will feature such a device. Of note, Toyota’s Turn Assist Control does just what the survey describes, and it improves maneuverability of the big Land Cruiser by counteracting the wider turning radius that intrinsically comes when engaging low-range four-wheel drive.
Another question in the survey seemed to take aim at the GMC Hummer EV and its unusual Crab Mode, asking Jeep customers what they’d appreciate more: a four-wheel steering system that decreases the turning radius or a system that provides for sideways diagonal movement. For our part, we still can’t discern any off-road situations where a crab-walk would be better than counter-phase four-wheel steering.
Commenting on the survey, JDyj90 said they would like some off-road turn assist that locks the inside rear wheel in a corner. Other forum users chimed in with valid criticisms for complex assistance features like four-wheel steering. For example, one user pointed out that a steering axle is usually weaker and heavier than a fixed axle, and another invoked the Jeep Wrangler’s infamous freeway death wobble by sneering, “Crappy factory ball joint in four locations.”
Jeep revealed many specifications of the forthcoming Grand Cherokee L, but we haven’t heard anything about four-wheel steering or turn-assist capability. The former, however, could be added with little effort, since it would likely make use of existing anti-lock braking and traction control systems. If rear-axle steering is on the way, we presume Jeep will reserve it for the larger, longer Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs when they arrive for the 2022 model year.