Review: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk - we pity the fool that don’t drive one
The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is 700+ horsepower worth of sport utility vehicle. It's crazy and awesome at the same time. We're convinced that if The A-Team were remade as a television show in 2018, B.A. Baracus would drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.
Is stuffing 707 horsepower (527 kW) into a big, family-sized sport utility ludicrous? Of course it is. That hasn't stopped Fiat-Chrysler from doing so, though. If our time in the 2018 Durango SRT taught us anything, it's that nothing is sacred when it comes to the wanton power-stuffing that FCA is willing to do. And we're giddy with delight at the results.
The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk is similar to the standard Grand Cherokee models in its size and layout. The Trackhawk does not have a third row option, but has the same comfortable seating and cushy interior that's found in other Grand Cherokee models. This is where the similarities end, though. The Trackhawk is a very different beast from the standard Grand Cherokee.
The obvious place to start is with the engine. The same 6.2-liter V8 that's found in the Hellcat models sits under the hood of the Trackhawk. That engine, as in the Challenger Hellcat, rumbles out 707 horsepower thanks to some supercharging, resulting in 645 pound-feet (875 Nm) of torque. That runs through a highly-modified all-wheel drive system made to keep the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk rubber side-down.
All that power results in some amazing performance for the huge SUV. The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk weighs in at almost 5,400 lb (2,449 kg), but still sprints to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in only 3.5 seconds. Huge Brembo brakes and Pirelli P-Zero tires then stop it from that 60 mph speed in only 114 feet (35 m). Considering the huge bulk of the Grand Cherokee, those numbers are almost mind-boggling. Those are professional driver numbers, of course, but our amateur attempts were still extremely impressive, getting flat-footed 0-60 times of just over four seconds and stops in under 118 feet (36 m). As with any extreme performance vehicle, the toughest part is keeping the traction unbroken to maximize takeoff, but with the AWD system in the Jeep, that was far easier than it was in the rear-driven Challenger Hellcat.
Jeep did a lot of work to make those digits possible, and even more work to make curves and turns also a possibility. Suspension and drivetrain changes include an eight-speed automatic transmission designed for the big 6.2L monster. The AWD comes thanks to a purpose-built single-speed transfer case to power the front wheels. The rear differential was also spec-designed for the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, to provide limited slip capability in a vehicle this heavy pushing that much power to the axle.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk isn't a sports car made for cornering, but it's far better on the track than might be expected. Unlike the more forward-driving Challenger that it's often compared to, the Trackhawk is less dragster than it is racer. It handles extremely well in hard cornering considering its huge bulk. Body roll is inevitable in a vehicle as big as the Grand Cherokee, but it's less intrusive than one might expect thanks to some really well-done suspension tuning and stiffening.
On the road, the Grand Cherokee in any rendition is a comfortable, manageable drive with good feel. In the Trackhawk, things are a little more bumpy due to the stiffer suspension ride, but it retains that confident comfort otherwise. We like the heavy steering wheel in the Trackhawk, which gives it a meaty quality for steering, inspiring confidence.
What's best about the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is its extremely entertaining power surge, supercharger wine, and pipe rumble. It's difficult to avoid goosing the throttle at every open straightaway or up every on-ramp. Pressing passengers into their seats and feeling that stomach tingle at the rumbling sounds made by the Jeep are viscerally satisfying. This is the true reason to drive a muscle car, and it's the reason all of us openly (or secretly) love them, despite ourselves.
The over-the-top nature of the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is its greatest selling point. It's for this reason that we can so easily imagine a remake of The A-Team having B.A. driving one of these big beasts around. It's got Jeep's off-road credibility, power beyond anything else in its class, and extreme muscle car sounds to lend authority to every "Shut up, sucka!"
We almost feel bad for the bad guys who get peppered with cabbages from a machine powered by the wheel of the Trackhawk and Baracus ingenuity. Almost.
The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk has a base price of US$85,900. Our test model rang in at $90,880.
Product Page: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk