2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk: The Hellcat-powered SUV we all knew was coming is finally here
The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk was really a matter of when. not if: You don t just build a 707-hp supercharged V8 and then not put it in as many of your vehicles as possible, especially when gas is this cheap. Never mind that a comfy SUV isn t really the first thing we d think of taking to the local drag strip; if the past performance of Hellcat-equipped SRT products is anything to go by (and if the Demon lives up to expectations), it will, however improbably, perform exactly as the Mopar guys say it will.
And that s a great thing.
Visually, the Trackhawk is a little more restrained than we might have expected, but — as with the Challenger and Charger Hellcats — any fan should be able to tell what they re looking at from a dozen paces. The Trackhawk sits an inch lower than a standard-issue Grand Cherokee (there s still 8.1 inches of ground clearance) and rides on new 20-inch wheels, which are tucked behind body-colored wheel flares. You ll be able to upgrade to lightweight forged aluminum rims, which saves a stated 12 pounds overall. Rubber options consist of Pirelli Scorpion Verde all-season and Pirelli P Zero three-season tires.
There are Supercharged badges on the front doors and a Trackhawk badge on the tailgate. But biggest tipoffs are probably the absent fog lamps on the front — they ve been removed to help pipe cool air into the engine compartment — and the quad exhaust tips peeking out from behind a black rear valance on the tail end.
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The real differentiator is the monster of a motor under the vented hood: The 707 (stated) hp supercharged 6.2-liter we ve come to know and love in the Charger and Challenger Hellcats. Connected to an eight-speed auto transmission, it s down on torque in this application (645 lb-ft to 650 lb-ft), but there s enough forced-induction shove to launch the Trackhawk from 0-60 in 3.5 — and, we re told, nail an 11.6-second quarter-mile at 116 mph right off the dealer lot.
Top speed is 180 mph. Towing capacity? 7,200 pounds. Truly, we live in amazing times.
The aforementioned Pirelli tires certainly help put all the Trackhawk s power to the ground, but there s also a range of driving modes that slice and dice its output: In addition to auto, tow and snow modes, which juggle traction control and front/rear torque split settings, there s sport and track. The former drops transmission shift times 50 percent over auto mode, firms up the suspension and sends 65 percent of torque to the rear wheels, while the latter drops shift times 68 percent, cranks the suspension to its firmest setting and sends 70 percent of torque rearward.
To slow it all down, the Trackhawk gets 15.75-inch Brembo vented brakes with six-piston calipers up front — the largest standard front brakes ever offered on a Jeep, according to the manufacturer; there are 13.78-inch vented rotors with four-piston calipers out back. You ll be able to slow from 60 mph to a stop in 114 feet.
With the New York auto show only a couple weeks away, Dodge is starting to run out of things to say about its Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. Well, the company is running out of things to say that.
From Porsches to Range Rovers, there is no shortage of performance-oriented SUVs for the Trackhawk to hunt down and devour; it certainly has speed on its side (handling remains to be seen) and its nicely trimmed interior, complete with a flat-bottom steering wheel, should help it stand its ground against the pure luxury field. About the only thing it won t be able to touch as far as initial acceleration is concerned is a Ludicrous Mode-equipped Tesla Model X. but we ll accept that as a reasonable sacrifice for what should be a gnarly V8 exhaust note.
Like the other Hellcat-equipped cars before it, the much-anticipated Grand Cherokee Trackhawk looks like it will be a very interesting machine. We ll learn more about the it, including its as-of-yet-unknown price, before it goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Graham Kozak – Graham Kozak drove a 1951 Packard 200 sedan in high school because he wanted something that would be easy to find in a parking lot. He thinks all the things they’re doing with fuel injection and seatbelts these days are pretty nifty too.
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