This week I bring you the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, one of the most capable 4X4 off-road SUVs you can buy. For me, what makes this SUV unique is that besides amazing off-road abilities, it makes a great daily driver as well.
My tester has the 3.6-liter V6 and an 8-speed automatic. A lot of people will opt for the larger 5.7-liter Hemi, but honestly you don’t need it, the 295-horse six banger has plenty of get up and go.
The exterior of the Trailhawk has some unique features.
They include a blacked out grill and headlights, red Grand Cherokee emblems on the doors, unique 18” wheels, dual exhaust, a black anti-glare decal on the hood, and red front tow hooks. There are even silhouettes of a Jeep Wrangler in red stamped into the wheels.
You’ll notice too, red badges that proclaim this Grand Cherokee as Trail Rated. To get that designation, a Jeep is put through rigorous testing off-road, it’s not just an emblem, it’s a badge of honor for Jeep owners.
As you enter the cabin of this 5-passenger SUV, it is well laid out with Nappa leather and suede contoured front seats that are very comfortable and snugly hold you in place. The seats remind you this is a Trailhawk, with stitching in the back of the front seats.
The gauges are bright and easy to see, and there is a comprehensive driver info readout between them that supplies the driver with all sorts of information. For me, I like the large digital speedometer.
On the center console is a revised gear shifter and the heart of this Jeep, which is the Quadra Drive II 4-wheel drive system.
You can choose from automatic, sand, snow, mud, or rock. You can also raise or lower the vehicle thanks to the Jeep air suspension system, shift into 4-wheel low for the roughest terrain, and a button for rock crawl mode.
One amazing feature of this system is the Grand Cherokee can transfer power to any wheel when needed, and will send 100% of its power to one wheel if you get stuck. On a side note, if you get this Jeep stuck, you were probably somewhere you shouldn’t have been.
There is an 8.4” color screen that houses the U-Connect system, which I always say is one of the best systems around.
You operate the sound system, Bluetooth, navigation system, heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel, voice activation, Siri Eyes Free, and you can activate the Wi-Fi hotspot. You can also go through multiple pages of apps, including something new called the off-road page, which I love.
The Off-Road Pages display four key components: the Selec-Terrain driving modes; (drivetrain information like current steering angle, transfer-case position and rear differential lock) suspension information such as wheel articulation and air suspension height; and accessory gauges to give you coolant, transmission and oil temperatures, battery voltage and oil pressure readings. All this info is in real-time; you even get longitude and latitude readings and current altitude. This is a very cool feature offered on just a few Jeep models.
Just under the touchscreen you can operate the park assist that will parallel and perpendicular park the Jeep.
You can activate the lane assist system, turn off the annoying start/stop system, and choose drive modes of Eco or Sport, and turn off the traction control.
The automatic air conditioning system is simple and the radio operates with large round knobs. All occupants will enjoy good legroom and headroom, and with the back seat down, you have 67.5 cubic-feet of cargo area.
The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk comes loaded with a lot of standard features.
They include steering wheel controls, paddle shifters, trailer towing package, keyless entry, backup camera, and power lift gate.
My tester has the Luxury Group, which is primarily the panoramic sunroof, power tilt wheel, high beam self-leveling headlights, and LED fog lights and running lights.
It also has the Active Safety Group, and you get adaptive cruise control, brake assist, collision warning, and lane keep assist, which will direct the Jeep back into the middle of a lane if you stray out.
It also has Rock Rails underneath to protect your Grand Cherokee, and it has blind spot warning. It even comes with a real spare tire and wheel, a rarity these days.
This Grand Cherokee drives very well, has a smooth ride on the freeway, is quiet inside, and as I mentioned, has amazing off-road capability. All those together are unusual in an SUV in this price range.
Fuel economy is 18 city and 25 highway and super loaded like this one, MSRP is right at $50,000.
I love the Jeep Wrangler, especially the 4 door Rubicon, but if I wanted a Jeep, this is the one I’d buy because it is to me a much more enjoyable all around vehicle, both on and off the road.