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2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Jeep, SUV, Test Drives


By now, everyone should be convinced that we’re living in an automotive golden age when we can shop dealership lots for 700-plus horsepower monsters and drive one home with your family packed in the back. Taking the collective of America’s current appetite for SUVs and crossover utility vehicles, FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) does what any gearhead would do when the Hellcat becomes a bore, which is take a Hellcat engine and throw it into the Jeep Grand Cherokee to birth a 707-horsepower SUV, dubbed the Trackhawk.

>> Get the best price on the Jeep Grand Cherokee from a network of local dealers now. <<


Taking ranks as the most powerful SUV you can buy from an automotive manufacturer, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is a dream come true for those who want it all bundled up on one vehicle. Not only are you getting an SUV capable of 180 mph, a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds, and the ability to haul four additional passengers, but you can tow up to 7,200 pounds when properly configured and load up whatever you can throw behind the second row to take up its 35-plus cubic feet of storage.


Never before has there been a meaner and more powerful SUV that retains the versatility that Americans expect from their beloved utility vehicles until the Trackhawk. There’s something to be said about such a unique vehicle in terms of its outrageous performance. Jeep didn’t hold back or skimp on their efforts to stuff a Hellcat engine under the hood of their already respected Grand Cherokee. They pushed the envelope to make it a complete package to support those 707 wild running horses with unique Brembo 6-piston caliper brakes biting down on 15.75-inch two-piece rotors up front and 4-piston calipers clamping on 13.78-inch rotors out back. You’re going to thank Jeep for those massive brakes, three-mode suspension dampers, and beefy 295/45R20 Pirelli P-Zero Tires at all four corners to keep over 5,300 pounds of the Trackhawk in check.


Starting with the basis of what the Jeep Grand Cherokee is, offering a plethora of trim levels and a go-anywhere attitude, the Trackhawk does away with the traditional off-roading bits in place of track-thrashing tuning through its reinforced all-wheel-drive system, toned-down exhaust note over its Charger and Challenger Hellcat siblings, and a launch mode that is take-me-out-to-the-ballgame fun for the whole family. I get giddy whenever I drive supercars or powerful sports cars. However, when it comes to having a midsized luxury SUV that grapples the pavement at all four wheels powered by a 707-horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque supercharged 6.2-liter V8 HEMI, things start to get mind-boggling – in a good way. Just the acceleration out of the hole alone is enough to catch most off guard. I’ve driven a lot of vehicles in my lifetime, and the Trackhawk is something that will be etched into my memory for a lifetime due to it going against the trained and familiar grain that no SUV should be this fast. For that matter, no SUV has ever been this fast.


Hitting 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and the quarter mile in 11.6 seconds is just part of the experience in driving the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Cruising on an open highway and nailing the throttle deep into a “three-digit go to straight to jail speed” in just a couple seconds is yet another part of what the Trackhawk can do, as is its ability to bring things to a stop from as fast as some sports cars and turn 0.89g on the skidpad. To bring home the distinctiveness of such a vehicle, the Trackhawk appeases in these areas all the while you can tote your family while watching the ‘Cars 3’ movie in the back thanks to the optional Blu-ray DVD entertainment system on my test vehicle.


You are probably wondering, is the Trackhawk “faster” than the Challenger or Charger Hellcat?” In a quick answer, yes, it is! Most of the Trackhawk being faster is its all-wheel-drive system allowing all four wheels to hookup upon initial acceleration, which is an astounding event that became addictive in ways I don’t want to admit.


By now, if you have the slightest interest in all-things-fast on four wheels, you know about the Trackhawk, but it intrigues you in a way that you want to know what it is like to live with such a vehicle. In a nutshell, it’s just like any other midsized SUV until your right foot commits to a life-changing event by depressing the throttle more than a quarter of the way to the floor. Otherwise, the Trackhawk’s hellcat side fades into the background to appease with a compliant ride thanks to its adaptive dampers, several luxury amenities, such as, heated power telescoping steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, several USB ports, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, one of the most user-friendly infotainment systems in the business, a suite of active safety features including adaptive cruise control, and a slightly menacing exterior look from just a handful of small ques that differentiate it from its SRT or lesser-trimmed Grand Cherokee siblings.


The ‘you gotta pay to play’ formula comes to mind when driving the new Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Not only does the Trackhawk drink premium fuel at an alarming rate (EPA figure is 11 mpg city, 17 mpg highway, and 13 mpg combined) but my fully-loaded test vehicle demands a price of $101,555, which includes a $1,095 destination charge. At such a price, I’m not completely convinced of the Trackhawk’s value. Nevertheless, I completely respect the performance of the Trackhawk, something that you won’t find in any other SUV currently on sale at such a level. Does the mesh of the most powerful SUV that also retains its highly praised versatility and luxury proposition demand such a price? Maybe at the base price of $85,900, and not a dime more. Still, Jeep has one mean machine to contend with, and for now, it’s the SUV king of the street – and track if you are so ever inclined to taking an SUV to the track. If you do go to the track with an SUV, the Trackhawk is the one to have – hence the name given by the true gearheads at FCA.

>> Get the best price on the Jeep Grand Cherokee from a network of local dealers now. <<


  • Price: Base Jeep Grand Cherokee TrackHawk $85,900 / As-Tested Fully Loaded $101,555
  • >> Get the best price on the Jeep Grand Cherokee from a network of local dealers now. <<
  • Engine: 6.2 liter Supercharged HEMI V8 707 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm / 645 lb.ft. of torque at 4,800rpm
  • Wheelbase: 114.7 inches
  • Total length: 189.8 inches
  • Total width: 76.5 inches
  • Total height: 67.9 inches
  • Track: f/r-63.7/64.3 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-39.9/39.2 inches with sunroof
  • Legroom: f/r-40.3/38.6 inches
  • Cargo volume: behind rear seat-35.1/rear seats folded-68.7 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 5,258
  • EPA Fuel Mileage: 11 mpg city / 17 mpg highway / 13 mpg combined
  • Fuel tank: 24.6 gallons
  • 0-60 mph: 3.5 seconds
  • Top Speed: 180 mph

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