2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Apr 10, 2017
FAST FACTS
  • Hellcat-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 engine making 707 horsepower
  • Upgraded all-wheel drive (AWD) system, brakes, and suspension
  • Pricing to come, won’t be cheap, expect close to $85,000

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2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk front quarter left photo

Introduction

At the 2017 New York Auto Show, Jeep has unleashed the most powerful SUV in its history: the 2018 Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

Essentially, the Trackhawk is a Grand Cherokee SRT with a Dodge Hellcat transformation, and the results are predictable. Acceleration to 60 mph takes a claimed 3.5 seconds, and Jeep says the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk covers the quarter mile in 11.6 seconds.

Translated, that’s blisteringly fast for an SUV weighing more than 2.5 tons.

Exterior Features

Glance casually at the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between it and the SRT version.

The main identifiers are yellow-painted brake calipers, quad exhaust outlets, and unique 20-in. wheel designs, including a set of matte-black forged aluminum wheels. Functionally, the front bumper does away with the SRT model’s fog lights in order to improve engine cooling, Jeep says.

Interior Features

Jeep equips the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with Nappa leather upholstery, carbon fiber trim, and black chrome accents. Alcantara simulated suede is used for the seat inserts, and the front seats are heated and ventilated.

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2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk interior photo Optional FeaturesJeep has announced a handful of upgrades for the new Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. They include Laguna premium leather, real metal interior trim, panoramic sunroof, and a premium sound system.

Under the Hood

Long rumored to be in the works, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is equipped with the same supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 engine that is installed in the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. In the Jeep, the engine makes the same 707 horsepower but is down a tiny bit on torque, which measures 645 lb.-ft.

An 8-speed automatic transmission feeds the power to all four of the Trackhawk’s wheels, helping the SUV to set blistering acceleration numbers. A launch-control system, which also comes in the Grand Cherokee SRT, certainly helps in this regard.

The AWD system features a fortified transfer case, rear driveshaft, and half-shafts, and the power split is dependent upon the selected driving mode. In Snow mode, power flows evenly to the front and rear wheels. In the default Auto mode, 40% goes to the front wheels while 60% heads to the rear wheels. In the Sport and Track performance modes, just 30% goes to the front while 70% goes to the rear.

An adaptive-damping performance suspension drops the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk’s ride height by an inch, and calibration changes depending on the chosen driving mode. In the performance-oriented modes, transmission shifts quicken, too.

Jeep also installs Brembo brakes with 15.75-in. rotors and 6-piston calipers in front, while 4-piston calipers grasp 13.73-in. rotors in back. The 20-in. wheels are wrapped in all-season or summer performance tires.

Safety

Embedded into the center of the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk’s lower grille, you’ll spot the unit powering several of the SUV’s driver-assistance and collision-avoidance features. Highlights include adaptive cruise control with full-stop capability, forward-collision warning system, automatic emergency braking, and a lane-departure warning system. Jeep also offers a blind-spot warning system for the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, which is accompanied by a rear cross-traffic alert system.

Should such features fail to prevent a collision, you should know that the aging Grand Cherokee’s structure provides no better than “Marginal” performance in the small overlap frontal-impact collision test administered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This result, however, may not apply to the SRT and Trackhawk versions of the SUV.

Technology

Jeep will supply the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with a robustly fitted version of its Uconnect infotainment technology, complete with Performance Pages technology. Using Performance Pages, the Trackhawk’s driver can monitor acceleration time and speed, cornering g-force, braking distance, and other performance-related parameters, and can save the information to an SD card or USB stick for sharing online.

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