Have you ever fired a gun? I have. Repeatedly. I am, of course, not referring to a physical gun or pistol, I am talking about the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. A more dangerous weapon of mass decimation I’ve never come closer to. I get why people get hooked on firing guns. It’s a sense of power, invulnerability, of near omnipotence. I’ve never felt this kind of arrogance behind the wheel of any vehicle, ever.
This unmatched display of “we’re FCA, this is what we do, deal with it” should come with a warning label and a psychiatric evaluation. In the wrong hands, like mine, chaos is imminent. I understand why wars begin now. I got so drunk on absolute power that I felt as though I could reverse the Earth’s rotation. When the throttle hits the firewall, it seems possible.
How does one rationalize this truck, you might ask? It’s simple actually. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is one of the most complete vehicles, with an enclosed trunk, anyone can buy today. A lifetime supply of chill-pills should be included however.
The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk looks little different from the pedestrian SRT. Is that a good thing, or not? The SRT is already easy to spot so there’s no hope going unnoticed however both are very different beasts.
Physically, the Trackhawk dumps the fog lights, doubles up on taillights, sports smoked headlights and gives it all away with the door-mounted “Supercharged” badges. I’d have those removed in less time than my first sprint to 100 km/h would take. I’d also skip Diamond Black in favour of Redline, Velvet Red or True Blue. Having said that, Black’s totally badass.
The cabin is all Grand Cherokee with the same the tasteful and simple approach as in all other trims. The only distinguishing feature here between SRTs is the light black Chrome instrument panel bezels. The dashboard is otherwise ergonomic and straightforward. The 8.4” display is the gateway to FCA’s UCONNECT. You get Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, satellite radio, it’s all included depending in this one.
The 2018 Jeep Trackhawk loses nothing in these departments over the normal Grand Cherokee. It remains a true five-seater SUV. The trunk is wide and deep up to just over 1,000 litres of cargo volume and the rear bench can handle two adults, and a considerably large baby seat.
The SRTs gain Nappa leather covered seats that’ll warm or cool your behind depending on the time of year, or how fast you’re going. Room for all is generous save for storage spots – the glove compartment and cupholders will quickly fill with speeding tickets. Where will you put your phone then?
Although the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee is in fact a Jeep Grand Cherokee, it has little in common with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. A base Laredo retails for $39,895. The Trackhawk is nearly three times that amount at $110,845.
The Apex of Grand Cherokee has everything in the Jeep catalogue, except for genuine wood accents. Sorry if that’s a deal-breaker.
The value proposition in the Trackhawk makes no sense. It’s $39,000 more than the SRT. Even if the Trackhawk includes a competition suspension, a Hellcat powertrain with a serious AWD system, how does Jeep justify the other $25,000? The answer? They don’t have too.
My tester included the rear entertainment system, the Signature leather-wrapped interior package with high-performance Harman/Kardon audio and red seatbelts for a total of just over $122,000.
Real competition? Not in this price bracket. Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne Turbo, another Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk?
I said Hellcat earlier so you all know what that means. The Trackhawk tears up all surfaces with it supercharged 6.2-litre SRT HEMI V8. This mega-monster of an engine produces 707-horsepwoer at 6,000 rpm and 645 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm. It also produces so ear-drum piercing charger-whine no matter the speed. I loved it and hated it.
I found that mashing the throttle was the best way to drown out the whine. Two things would happen. At first, the V8 exhaust’s would drown out the high-pitched frequencies and only a few moments later, the Trackhawk would accelerate past the speed of sound. Problem solved. Yes, this truck is unnervingly fast. The 8-speed automatic transmission dispatched the power like the best croupier in Vegas. The AWD system demonstrated the same kind of abilities as forward motion was instantons. With ease, the Hellcat catapults the truck to 96 km/h (60 mph) in only 3.5 seconds. The ¼ mile goes by in a scant 11.6 seconds.
Passing on the highway becomes a game. This is the wrong hands part… No longer is it necessary to wait for passing opportunities to get around the beige Corolla or orange Caliber sitting in the left-hand lane at 95 km/h. These opportunities are created at the slightest change in pressure on the throttle. One quickly becomes trigger-happy. The gun thing, remember?
To cope with the immense speed, Jeep tacked on what they call a Competition Suspension that consists of Bilstein adaptive damping. The work they, and the high-performance Brembo brakes, do defies Newton’s laws. Even though the Trackhawk is designed to do just that, prey upon other ground dwelling vehicles and conquer racetracks, the Jeep’s still very much at home on the road to Costco.
The Selec-Track AWD system uses performance-tuned software pre-configures five modes: Auto, Sport, Track, Snow and Tow. There’s also Custom mode but Auto, which works out a 40/60 front/rear torque split is the better and more user friendly option.
The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is weapon’s grade mad. And in the end, it’s all a little too much for me. I’d still take a Dodge Durango SRT with a few options at around $75k. I’d be more than satisfied with its power, versatility and, in my opinion, better looks.