Every five years or so, one manufacturer will blow all of the rest away by doing something absolutely insane with one of their cars, be it installing a gigantic engine in an otherwise insignificant model, or releasing a track version of their minivan, or something else that just leaves journalists and gearheads scratching their heads in wonder. FCA seems keen to be the brand to win that award for the 2010s, pumping out some wild models such as the Hellcats and the Challenger Demon. However, I feel like only one of the models that they’ve put out will really go into the history books, because fast Challengers and Chargers are one thing, but putting 707 bhp in a Jeep? That’s another thing entirely. Say hello to the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk, Detroit’s ultra nuke to win the SUV power war.
Pros: Did you not hear me? 707 bhp in an SUV, doesn’t sacrifice practicality for power, rather light on its feet. Cons: MPG, the interior is not the greatest thing in the world. MSRP: $86,000 base.
For years we heard rumor after rumor that FCA was going to dump the Hellcat motor into the Grand Cherokee. A few years back we got the big name reveal for the Trackhawk, which we all thought was badass. And finally, we got it after years of speculation, a short period where any news on it disappeared, and frankly being prepared for them to just say, “Ah, we cancelled the thing.” But no, Jeep delivered in the end. They delivered 100%.
Now that its here, you can look at the outside of the Trackhawk and it would be easy to understand just mistaking it for a regular SRT. There’s barely any difference to the naked eye between the two, and if you ask me, that’s actually a good thing. There’s no real reason to put big flares, wings, canards, and a bunch of other tacky crap on a Grand Cherokee, especially when the regular Hellcat barely even makes an effort to do similar. It kind of feels like a sleeper, even though you know the regular SRT isn’t much of a sleeper. But, those who know, will know, once you see that Supercharged badge on the back, all bets are off.
All that being said, it gives me an opportunity to lay down the law that I do not think this generation of Grand Cherokee has aged badly, at all. In fact, I think it’s gotten better. The facelift with the new light design has been maligned a bit for the addition of fake vents under the headlights, but I find them to be quite attractive, and it adds an air of a more upscale package overall. Adding to this is the fact that FCA probably has some of the best-looking LED trail designs in the business, and the Trackhawk is no different. I could honestly look at those headlights and tail lights all day long.
Stepping inside, you’ll find the usual comfort that you find on any high trim Grand Cherokee, albeit with some obvious Trackhawk differences. The seats are nicely bolstered and comfortable, plastered in leather and Alcantara finishes. The entire cabin is awash with white stitching. The dashboard is well-built, but materials are not quite up to spec to some of its rivals such as the Range Rover, Porsche Cayenne, or even the Cadillac Escalade. But there is a good deal of function here, it is a livable cabin, You get tons of standard features on the Trackhawk such as FCA’s 8.4 inch touchscreen, an upgraded audio system, pretty much what you can expect in a Grand Cherokee Limited.
The biggest news about the Trackhawk, though, is of course the engine. What makes the Trackhawk a Trackhawk is the fact that under the hood sits the 6.2L Supercharged V8 from the Dodge Hellcat models. That means that you’re getting 707 bhp and 645 lb ft of torque going through all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. This combination certainly makes for some addicting results.
To say this behemoth has a fast launch is a bit of an understatement. The Trackhawk not only launches you, it catapaults you. A 0-60 time will make even the fastest starship blush and wonder what the hell just happened as it gets you down the road in nearly 3 seconds flat. You will get addicted to planting your foot down only because the power just seems to never stop coming. I can understand the necessity for 707 bhp in an SUV completely now.
Straight line launches really only count for one thing to some ridiculous people, and if you’re intrigued but actually wondering how something like this goes around the corner, then okay, I’ve got you covered. Frankly, it sucks around the corners as a whole, but for an SUV with 707 bhp, corners could be worse. It has a tendency to feel like it wants to oversteer AND understeer at the same time, with all the torque going to the wheels and its immense weight fighting against one another to gain overall control. Once you can get past this, it’s a much easier to tame beast.
But really, I think it’s best to state that this ultimate Grand Cherokee really has only one purpose, and that’s to set quarter mile records. If you want to corner, you’ll be okay, but seriously...seriously, that power is just amazing.
So, do I like the Trackhawk? I like it a lot. I enjoy the fact that Jeep took the time to write out one big, “F**k you,” to other manufacturers like Porsche, Land Rover, and Bentley who have recently tried their hands at the SUV power race, and I’m glad it really pays off in the end. It’s safe to say that the Trackhawk could very well be my favorite new sports SUV. It would take a lot to drag me away from one, there’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do to strip Jeep from this crown, and I hope to god it stays that way.