Jeep is a name generally associated with extremely good off-road vehicles. However, nowadays this brand is making cars that rarely go off the paved roads. They are mostly driven around the city and serve as spacious family cars. But now Jeep introduced Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and it is meant for… the racing track?
An iconic American brand, actually owned by an Italian company, is now trying to show its character to such competitors as Range Rover SVR, Porsche Cayenne Turbo S and Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG. However, Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is faster and more powerful than all of them. It borrowed its powertrain from Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and that means business.
Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine delivering 707 horsepower and 875 Nm of torque. It is enough to launch this large SUV to the speed of 60 mph in just 3.5 s. and up to the top speed of 180 mph (almost 290 kph). It is currently the fastest and most powerful SUV on the market – it is even faster than some of sportscars.
Of course, to handle the added power and torque suspension had to be altered. It is now lower and stronger, but still features Jeep’s signature on-demand four-wheel-drive system. Interestingly, transmission is still the standard TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic, although it has been tweaked a little to improve its response time. And, of course, vehicle management software got an upgrade too. There is launch control system, which helps acceleration, and five different drive modes to choose for every situation: Auto, Sport, Track, Tow and Snow. There is also a possibility to limit engine’s power and torque and disable launch control possibility, which will provide some peace of mind when leaving the car in friend’s place or in remote repair shop.
Exterior of the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk looks very aggressive. There are some heat extractors on a sculpted bonnet, flared wheel arches and new accents on the headlights. Meanwhile fog lights are gone – they have been replaced with some additional cooling surface to serve the bigger engine. However, the big surprise is waiting for you to step into the vehicle.
What would you expect to find in the fastest SUV in the world? A roll cage? A stripped down interior? Nope, Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is actually pretty luxurious. It has Nappa leather and suede seats, a complex infotainment system, which helps tracking down performance events, and a nice audio system. It looks pretty fine too, one would not know what car is this only by sitting inside of it.
Grand Cherokee Trackhawk for now will be production SUV kind of the track, we will have to wait and see if Porsche will reclaim this title. More and more people want to drive big cars, so this market is expanding. We are likely to see more of these performance-oriented SUV’s in the near future.