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  • Quick Drive: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk

    • And for something completely absurd

    (Author's Note: Before diving into this review, I did an Afterthoughts piece on maximizing the fuel economy in the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk last month. If you want to see Trackhawk somewhat out of its element, then check out the piece here.)

    I keep a list of vehicles that I would like to evaluate on my computer. This list is what I reference whenever I reach out to automakers and inquire about getting vehicles. Some of the vehicles on the list only spend a short time, while others are there for years. An example of the latter is the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. Having driven this briefly a couple of times within the past few years, I was shocked by how capable this machine was around a winding road and power on tap. I always wanted to see how this model would fare during a week-long test where it would serve as a daily driver.

    Fast forward to this October when I finally got my chance to spend some quality time with one. Although, this wasn’t any Grand Cherokee SRT. What pulled up in my driveway was the SRT Trackhawk with the 6.2L Supercharged Hellcat V8 and 707 horsepower under the hood. This was going be an interesting week I thought while walking around the vehicle. 

    • The capability on offer with the Trackhawk really defies the laws of physics. For example, the Trackhawk will hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Quite impressive when you consider that it tips the scales at a hefty 5,363 pounds. A lot of credit has to go to the all-wheel drive system which shuffles the power around to make sure it gets onto the payment, not in tire smoke.
    • Stab the throttle and hold on to dear life as supercharged V8 thunders into life. Within the blink of an eye, you’ll be traveling well above the posted speed limits. Even lightly pressing on the pedal gets the Trackhawk up to speed at a surprising rate.
    • Starting up the Trackhawk is always an event as the engine provides a growl that is more common on late 60’s high-performance muscle cars. Your neighbors may get annoyed get after while with the noise, especially in the early morning hours. On the road, it will be hard to resist stepping on the throttle to hear the whine of the supercharger and cracking exhaust note.
    • Overall fuel economy for the week? Somehow, I was able to achieve 14 mpg.
    • For the suspension, Jeep lowered the ride height, replaced various components, and did some revised tuning. It makes for an entertaining vehicle in the corners with reduced body roll and impressive response from the steering. Some drivers will be wishing for the steering to provide more road feel. A set of optional Pirelli P Zero tires were fitted onto my tester and provide a noticeable increase in grip. However, these tires perform at their best when they are warmed up. Push them when you first get onto the road or in cold weather, and you’ll find out they lose a fair amount of grip.
    • The changes to the suspension does cause the ride to be slightly rougher with some bumps do make their way inside.
    • The Grand Cherokee SRT was already an egressive looking beast with an altered front end (narrowed front grille with three slots underneath and black surround for the headlights), larger wheels, and huge exhaust tips. Trackhawk models only add some small touches such as ‘Supercharged’ badging on the doors, black exhaust tips, and a Trackhawk badge on the tailgate.
    • If there is one disappointment to the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, it would be the interior. For a vehicle with a price tag of over $90,000, Jeep could have done something to make it feel somewhat special. Yes, there is carbon fiber trim, Alcantara inserts for the seats, and a quite thick steering wheel. But the rest if the interior is what you’ll find on other Grand Cherokees, which makes the Trackhawk a bit of a tough sell.
    • On the upside, the Trackhawk retains many of the plus points of the Grand Cherokee’s interior such as ample room for passengers, logical control layout, and the excellent UConnect infotainment system.
    • To summarize the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, it is quite absurd. An SUV should not be able to hit 60 mph in under four seconds, be agile in the corners, and have a snarl that will give muscle cars a run for their money. It is not a logical vehicle and yet, it is quite impressive what has been pulled off.

    Disclaimer: Jeep Provided the Grand Cherokee, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Gallery: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk

    Year: 2018
    Make: Jeep
    Model: Grand Cherokee
    Trim: SRT Trackhawk
    Engine: 6.2L Supercharged V8
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 707 @ 6,000
    Torque @ RPM: 645 @ 4,800
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 
    Curb Weight: 53,63 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Detroit, Michigan
    Base Price: $86,200
    As Tested Price: $91,530 (Includes $1,445 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    High-Performance Audio System - $1,995.00
    20-inch x 10-inch Black Satin Aluminum Wheels - $995.00
    295/45ZR20 BSW 3 Season Tires - $895.00

    Edited by William Maley


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