In all my years of reviewing vehicles, I never thought I would see a $100,000 Jeep, but then again, I never thought I’d see a Jeep that tops out at 180-miles per hour, either.
Introducing the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, the fastest, most powerful SUV sold in America.
Pop the hood to reveal a 6.2-liter Supercharged Hellcat V8 that is pumping out 707-horses and is hooked to an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Trackhawk supplies you with 645 pound-feet of torque, and it will take you from a dead stop to 60-miles per hour in a mere 3.5 seconds.
The exterior of the Trackhawk is somewhat subdued. It proudly tells you on each front door that the 5300-pound SUV is supercharged, but that is about the only clue it isn’t just a normal Grand Cherokee. You may notice too, there are no fog lights in the front like most Grand Cherokees. Jeep uses that space to get more air to the thirsty supercharger.
As you enter the cabin of this 5-passenger SUV, it is well laid out with Laguna leather performance seats that are very comfortable and contoured to snugly hold you in place in tight turns.
The gauges are bright and easy to see, and there is comprehensive driver info readout among them that supplies the driver with all sorts of information. I like the large speedometer that registers 200-miles per hour even though Jeep electronically limits you to 180-miles per hour.
On the center console is the heart of this Jeep where you change the drive modes. The big Jeep remains relatively tame when you choose auto, but a click to the left puts you into sport mode or track mode and everything changes. The gauges move quicker, transmission shifts come harder and more often, and the beast gets even louder. A twist of the knob to the right puts you into snow mode, and a setting for when you are towing something. You can customize your drive modes as well.
Also on the console, there is the most magical button you’ll ever experience: Launch Mode. Hit the button, bury your left foot in the brake pedal, use your right foot to press the gas pedal to the floor as hard as you can and follow the instructions on the dash. When it tells you to, pop your foot off the brake and hang on for dear life. It’s an exhilarating experience, to say the least. The Trackhawk squats down about six inches in the rear and roars off.
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, Apple Car Play and Android Auto. You can also activate the Wi-Fi hotspot, or go through multiple pages of apps, including the fantastic Performance pages, where you get instantaneous horsepower and torque readings.
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.
Standard Features and Options
The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk comes loaded with a lot of standard features. They include steering wheel controls, keyless entry, backup camera, power seats, 20” wheels, and power liftgate.
Also standard are Brembo brakes, which you’ll need to slow down this large SUV. You also get remote start, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and advanced brake assist.
My tester has almost $13,000 in options, including a dual-screen Blu-Ray DVD player, trailer towing package, upgraded interior, an 825-watt Harmon Kardon sound system, and a panoramic sunroof.
The Trackhawk is an amazing SUV, unlike any I have ever driven. The sound from the quad exhaust in the rear is amazing. It is almost like having two different SUVs: a great daily driver when you are just going to work or shopping, then a drag racing SUV when you feel like it.
When you think of Jeep, you usually think off-roading, but this one only has about 8” of ground clearance, so you’ll want to keep it on the pavement.
Towing, Fuel Economy and Price
If you tow a boat or trailer, this SUV is very capable and will actually drag 7200 pounds behind it.
If anybody cares, fuel economy is 11 city and 17 highway, but I can’t get to either number, and that’s OK.
Base price on the Trackhawk is $85,900 but loaded like this one, the total sticker price is $99,965.
One impressive factor with this Jeep is how solid it is. It had 4500 miles when I got it, and if the car reviewers who had this vehicle before me drove it like I did, I can’t believe what great shape it is in, and how well it drives.
So, should you find yourself at a red light and feel like racing the Grand Cherokee next to you, if it has yellow brake calipers and no fog lights, don’t do it, you’ll lose.