The hawk is one of the most powerful birds in the sky. It dominates its territory by fiercely navigating the air, swooping in on its prey with incredible speed and accuracy. Now apply those characteristics to a vehicle and you discover something that is ferociously fast, nimble and adaptable with unprecedented performance.
by Anthony Sovinsky × Vaughn Lowery
The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is an AWD SUV equipped with the notorious Hellcat engine. A supercharged 6.2 liter V8 delivering 707hp with 645 ft-lb of torque in a 8-speed automatic with Quadra-Trac active on demand 4WD that catapults this brute from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, howling across the quarter mile in 11 seconds and reaches a top velocity of 180 mph. There are no other SUVs in the world exhibiting this type of performance besides the Lamborghini Urus (650hp w/ 626lb-ft torque starting around $200,000). With a height of 67.9 inches, you will be staring at the roof of many vehicles which are capable of keeping up, especially if you follow Launch Control instructions – this bird soars 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds.
Weighing in at 5,636lbs, it is armed with an enlarged Brembo performance anti-lock braking system. Up front, the Trackhawk is fitted with big 15.8-inch rotors with 6-piston calipers; and in the back end, it passes 13.8-inch rotors with 4-piston calipers, making it come to a halt from 60 mph in a mere 114 feet. The bright yellow calipers nicely compliment the 20×10 inch black satin aluminum wheels ($995) encased in meaty 295/45ZR20 BSW 3 season tires ($895). Moreover, Blistein competition suspension containing active dampening keeps it firmly planted with very slight roll. Select-Track system allows the driver to elect five different modes – auto, sport, track, snow and tow (w/ 7200lb capacity).
Many drivers in a metropolis are defensive, but some aren’t able to concentrate on what’s in our peripheral during a concrete jungle safari. Precisely for that reason, several safety features have been implemented: parallel and perpendicular park assist; LaneSense lane departure warning; full speed forward collision warning; advanced brake assist; adaptive cruise control to stop, blind spot and cross path detection; park view rear backup camera; and last but certainly not least, a valet mode that significantly reduces horsepower (to about 200 hp) and torque to make the car more manageable to the unfamiliar.
Carrying on to the exterior, the Jeep is tastefully badged with “Trackhawk” emblems (on floor mats as well as rear back gate) and a “Supercharged” side door steel plate informing spectators of what’s under the hood. The front-end features a seven-slot grille equipped with Bi-Xenon HID headlamps. And, similar to its Challenger Hellcat sibling, it features functional air intakes which replace fog lamps to help cool the powerful engine. Continuing towards the boot, Fiat-Chrysler North America (NA) added quad exhaust tips, causing the vehicle to appear more aggressive on most angles.
Upon entering the cabin, drivers and passengers are welcomed by Napa/Suede “Trackhawk” stamped performance seats, carbon fiber trim, blackened chrome accents and a three-spoke flat bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters. Adjacent, lies the Uconnect 4C NAV with 8.4 inch display which is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Furthermore, the screen can access various drive modes as well as engine performance readouts for the more avid aficionado. And, if you go on to purchase the 2XV package, not only will you have access to a high performance vehicle, but a high performance audio system ($1,995). Outfitted with 19 Harman Kardon speakers alongside a subwoofer and an 825-Watt amplifier. With ample head and leg room, one can expect space for the entire modern family – driver, four passengers and a small to medium sized dog to comfortably run circles in the trunk area. Moreover, there’s adequate room for a few weekender bags to stealthily fit underneath the trunk matt right above the spare tire.
It’s almost hard to believe that such an SUV exists at such an affordable price point: supercar power plant, all-terrain capabilities, tenacious brakes, moderately precise steering (best in track mode), enhanced suspension offers comfortable cornering and hypersensitive acceleration – no one will ever ask, “Are we there yet?” The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk base price is close to $85,900 and the customer preferred package 2XV adds another $4,980 for a total of $90,880. In short, Fiat Chrysler NA once again delivers a huge bargain which cannot be ignored while delivering tremendous curb appeal. Hence, the Trackhawk will leave enthusiasts watering at the mouth for years to come.