Back in 1997, well before the prolific outbreak of high-performance premium SUVs, for a shining moment, Jeep held the title for having the very fastest in the world with their 1st generation (ZJ) 5.9-liter V8 Limited model with 245 bhp and 345 lb-ft of torque. For the next following generations Jeep has had high performance variants in their stable. The current 4th generation has had multiple variants simultaneously. The standard SRT uses a normally aspirated 6.4-liter HEMI V8 pumping out 475 bhp and 470 lb-ft of torque (4.7 seconds from 0-100 km/h!) while our mind-melting Trackhawk test unit uses a high-strength, forged-alloy piston, powder-forged connecting rod and sodium-cooled exhaust valve intercooled and supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine with 707 bhp and 645 lb-ft of torque (shared with the Dodge Hellcat)! Heck even the most modest V8 in the roster, the iconic 5.7-liter HEMI, still produces a healthy amount of juice at 360 bhp and 390 lb-ft of torque (0-100 km/h in 6.8 seconds). The entry level 295 bhp/260 lb-ft of torque 3.6-liter V6-powered 4×4 variants will also accelerate from naught to 100 km/h in less than 8 seconds, so there are actually no anemic Grand Cherokees; yes, even the diesel model is potent.
With a water fording depth of 510 mm, the Jeep Grand Cherokee can wade through a little deeper than in a BMW X5, but that isn’t the point. For maximum bang-for-buck you truly cannot get a premium SUV with this much ability for less than what Jeep is asking for its almost nuclear Trackhawk.
Our test unit came in the tasteful metallic Crystal Granite exterior color packaged with the dark Ruby Red interior which may not be so enticing. There is a lot of carried-over equipment though which challenges for the first time the whole concept of maximum value in this segment. Admittedly, at a retail price over US$100k, the most expensive Jeep ever, I expected a more thorough upgrade of the interior.
Naturally the dynamic bits have been gloriously sorted, which includes the forged alloys, but I expected even better materials and redesigned switchgear altogether rather than just mostly new graphics and enabled technical goodies. Thankfully, the Laguna leather seats are very comfortable and supportive and the cabin is still fairly classy yet once again, given the price there should be more definitive separation of the models. You could get the same 825-watt 19-speaker Harman Kardon® Logic 7® GreenEdge® Audio system in other models for example.
All my criticism vanishes as soon as I ignite the fierce supercharged 6.2-liter V8. WOW! The raw power is very addictive. As awesome as the Trackhawk sounds though, especially when driven aggressively, it may be in fact too loud. It would benefit greatly from adapting a similar adjustable exhaust system used in the Ford Mustang GT to manage the sound accordingly so you don’t upset your neighbors and reduce unwanted attention when you are on the road. One obvious visual telltale that you are driving an extra special beast is the new appropriately larger Brembo brakes. The Trackhawk is equipped with larger two-piece 15.75-inch slotted/vented discs clamped by six-piston front brake calipers painted yellow with matching 4-pot rears, while the still potent SRT® uses slightly smaller 15-inch vented front discs still squeezed by six-piston brake calipers with all corners clad in red (both model’s rear discs remain the same at 13.8 inches). The Trackhawk uses fortified stronger drivetrain components and upgraded cooling systems to handle the considerable power gain. It also gets the additional Torque Reserve function for optimal mad launches.
Building on the already maniacal performance dynamics of the standard SRT model that weighs close to 200 pounds less, the Trackhawk’s adjustable suspension (9 % stiffer up front and 15 % stiffer in the rear) is still a little too firm though. This can cause it to lose composure as well when driven very aggressively, but then again when I would glance at the new crisp multi-information instrument cluster I would also see deep triple digits on the speedometer so in fairness I was hitting cornering speeds and catapulting out of them at figures that even the SRT could only fantasize about. Despite the incredible power gain from 475 bhp to 707 bhp, gratitude to the 11.6-psi boost from a 2.4-liter IHI supercharger, real-world fuel economy remained about the same even if the SRT is supposed to be more efficient by 2 mpg, so I can actually say that there was an improvement in this area. As it stands, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is still very loaded with creature niceties and unique yet functional novelties, is intoxicatingly very, very fast, and deserves a prime spot in your garage. There is genius in its rawness.
|Engine||V8, 6166 cc, ohv 16V, HEMI Intercooled Supercharger, 8-speed AT|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||707 bhp @ 6000 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||645 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm|
|Top Speed||288 km/h (180 mph)|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||3.7 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||11 mpg City / 17 mpg Highway|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||US$ 100,215.00|
|What's Great||A genuine convincing alternative to the Teutonic Super SUVs, most bang for buck in its class.|
|What's Not So||Epic thirst, no front fog lamps, interior design should be updated, steep price|