4x4 rules the day for any off-road application. AWD for daily driving. And locking diffs are amazing not close to brake locks. The problem with AWD your relying on the vehicle to do everything for you. Which I’d prefer to have some say over that.I’ve coming most immediately off of a 2012 subaru Wrx, and before that a 2002 grand Cherokee, and before that 1996 GC. The 2002 GC had selectrac (2wd high/4wd high/4wd lo) , 1996 GC had FT 4wd hi/lo, and the wrx was FT awd w an open center diff. I’ve taken all on typical terrain: dry, wet, sand, gravel, Snow, dirt/mud. The wrx was the worst performer (if one wheel loses traction 100% of your the power goes there and you become stuck altogether) and so the ridge and GCs performed equally as well (although I admit no snow test Yet for the ridge since it’s too new). I lve also driven Tacoma’s and jeep libertys a bunch. Based on my own experience, I agree with the OP: other than a lo setting, there’s no material difference in performance, the ridge is just as good as any “true” 4wd. Whether it’s mechnical locking diffs or brake locks or other tech the net effect is all the same, keepin the wheels on the ground turning!
I also agree w the comment on newer jeeps (FCA owned) , they’re being sold to and bought by suckers. $110k for a grand wagoner... and they’re ugly as hell!