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William Maley

Afterthoughts: Going the Distance in A Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

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“I can’t believe we’re going to make it”

This thought passed through my head as I brought the vehicle to a stop on an off-ramp. Somehow, I was able to travel from my house in the outskirts of Metro Detroit to my hometown of Midland, Michigan on just a quarter-tank of gas. That may not seem like a huge accomplishment except when you look at the vehicle I was driving, the 707 horsepower Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

Originally, I wasn’t planning on traveling to Midland in the Trackhawk. Earlier in the week, I had driven it down to an event in Ann Arbor to drive a couple of Mitsubishi vehicles. The trip revealed the thirst of the supercharged 6.2L V8 by using up a third of the gas tank. My plan for the rest of the time would be running errands and some small trips to get a feel of the vehicle. Over the weekend, I would get some work done and take photos. But that would be thrown out the window when my brother brought up the idea of heading to the Northwood Auto Show in Midland.

The Northwood show takes place on the grounds of Northwood University. It is a unique auto show as the students of the school run all of the aspects of the show ranging from the planning to being the product specialists for each brand. This is part of their automotive and aftermarket degree programs. When I lived in Midland, the show was something I looked forward to every year as I would get the chance to sit in various new vehicles. Also, I would come home with a big bag of brochures that I would be reading throughout the year, letting all of the information seep into my brain. This may explain why I became so crazy about vehicles.

It had been a few years since I last attended the show due to various factors such as not knowing when it would be put on. But I was surprised that it would be taking place around the same time I would have the Trackhawk. At first, I was hesitant to go. But then, my brother said the magic words,

“I would be willing to pay for gas. I want to go for a ride in the Trackhawk.”

Once those words came out of his mouth, I had decided that it would be a good idea to go to Northwood. But something else crept into my head. Would it be possible to travel to the show on a limited amount of gas? I decided to put it to the test.

Saturday morning, my brother and I got into the Trackhawk to head towards Midland. Starting up the vehicle, the supercharged V8 thundered to life and the gas gauge rose to just a hair over a quarter of a tank. My plan was to put the vehicle into Eco mode and use the radar cruise control to travel at a steady speed of 75 mph. The instant fuel economy screen would be up in the instrument cluster to let me monitor and make adjustments as needed. I would stop for gas when the distance to empty notification reached 15 miles or under.

As I began to pull away from the house, my brother noticed that the vehicle was in Eco mode.

“I think its more of a suggestion than an actual mode,” I said when he brought it up.

To demonstrate what I meant, I pushed the throttle to almost the floor on an on-ramp. The V8 engine roared into life with the supercharged screeching. Even in Eco, it is quite shocking how fast this brick picks up speed.

“I get what you mean by this being a suggestion,” my brother said to me as we merged onto I-75.

The trip from my house to Northwood is about 90 miles. The trip computer told me that I would be out of gas in 90 miles. Cue “Challenge Accepted” picture. 

The first 15 to 20 miles of the trip was a bit nerve-racking. Watching the instant fuel economy fluctuate between 10 to 15 as the vehicle would slow down and accelerate as other vehicles came into its path. I began to worry about my goal of reaching Midland was all for naught. But as we traveled further on I-75, my confidence began to grow. The engine settled down and cruise at just a hair above 2,000 rpms. The fuel gauge was steadily going down, but my average fuel economy was rising.

It wasn’t till we passed the small town of Auburn, that car flashed its low fuel light. The vehicle said it had 30 miles till it reached empty. I knew that Midland was only ten or so miles away and decided to push it. The gauge continued to fall as did the distance to empty. I held my breath until we got onto the off-ramp. Just a few hundred feet away was a gas station. We had done it with just 20 miles to spare. According to the car, I had an average of 15.1 mpg for the trip.

I know there will be someone who will be saying: “Why did you this? Aren’t you missing the point of this vehicle?!” No, I know the point of the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is to go stupid fast. Defy the laws of physics. But that is what every review (including mine that will be coming in the near future) goes on about. I wanted to do something a bit different and look at it from a different angle. 

I think my brother said it best about this whole experience as I got back into the car after getting some gas,

“I wasn’t expecting that to happen.”


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Very cool, so you can have a Gun Bullet ride and yet just cruising it can still be efficient. I love it! :metal:

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Very cool...good to know it can still be a DD with a bit of care.....

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      The springs have been tuned for an optimum balance between on-road handling while providing a comfortable ride around town, with or without cargo in the bed, and legendary off-road capability. Ride comfort, body-roll control, handling, payload and towing capability is significantly enhanced with assistance from shock tuning, hard points and body mount strategy.
      An approach angle of 43.6 degrees, breakover angle of 20.3 degrees, departure angle of 26 degrees and a ground clearance of 11.1 inches allows Gladiator to go anywhere.
       
      Gladiator also benefits from up to 30 inches of water fording, up to 1,600 pounds of payload and up to 7,650 pounds of towing capacity with the available Max Towing Package.
      More than 80 available advanced safety and security features
      Safety and security were paramount in the development of the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator, which offers more than 80 available active and passive safety and security features. Available features include Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, forward-facing off-road camera, standard ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines, Adaptive Cruise Control and electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll mitigation.
      Fourth-generation Uconnect system delivers advanced technology
      The all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator offers three Uconnect systems – Uconnect 5-inch, 7-inch and 8.4NAV, delivering communication, entertainment and navigation features drivers and passengers desire, including a full-color LED instrument cluster.
      The Uconnect system includes easy-to-use features, enhanced processing power, faster startup times and touchscreens that display high-resolution graphics.
       
      Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features
      The all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator is available with the Uconnect 7.0 or 8.4NAV systems and includes the new Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features.
       
      Apple CarPlay
      Seamlessly integrates an iPhone with the vehicle’s built-in display and controls in addition to featuring Siri Voice control. iPhone-equipped drivers can make phone calls, access music, send and receive messages, and receive voice-guided navigation optimized for traffic conditions and more, while staying focused on the road.
       
      Android Auto
      System shares useful information when driving and makes it easy to access the best of Google technology. Featuring Google Maps with free voice-guided navigation, live traffic information and lane guidance, as well as on-demand access to 30 million songs with Google Play Music, the ability to place phone calls or send and receive messages while keeping hands on the wheel and ask Google search any question, Android Auto makes it easy to access popular apps and content from the Uconnect system’s touchscreen.
       
      Drivers and passengers also have an abundance of infotainment features at their fingertips with SiriusXM Radio, Travel Link, Traffic and Connected Services that provide real-time information.

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