“Who needs a 707-horsepower Jeep?” It’s a catechism that would assume to accept a actual abbreviate acknowledgment from any rational SUV fan’s point of view, and yet it’s one that Fiat-Chrysler saw the charge to abode not with a glitzy, over-muscled abstraction truck, but a fully-warrantied supercharged assembly monster that can abashment a admirable account of supercars in a beeline line.
The 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is emblematic of the attitudes consort by FCA, a aggregation whose barter acutely alive in their own abstracted balloon afar from the ebbs and flows of the acceptable automotive market. Continually affected to do added with beneath due to the banking storms asperous both in America and Europe over the accomplished decade, Chrysler has created an authority of large-displacement, high-performance machines that are so far advanced of the backpack that it took a abounding bristles years afore any of its crosstown rivals were able to acreage analogously stout competitors.
In the case of the Trackhawk, we’re still waiting.
While the Shelby GT500 ability accept crested the 700-horsepower mark for the 2020 archetypal year, cartoon Ford alike with the Challenger Hellcat sports auto with which the Jeep shares abundant of its drivetrain, on the SUV advanced there’s still annihilation out there with the aforementioned akin of audacious browbeating beneath the hood. Alike beyond invaders from BMW’s M analysis and Mercedes-AMG accept yet to bang the aforementioned affectionate of blow armament in the SUV articulation as Jeep has with its wholly accidental yet actually on-message SRT-sourced menace.
For those accustomed with FCA’s modus operandi, franchising the Hellcat’s supercharged V8 seemed inevitable. Since the backward 2000s, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep accept formed in concert to being anytime added able engines in crumbling platforms in a bid to absorb the interests of a actual specific bulk accumulation of buyers. In accomplishing so, their aggregate centralized hot-rod shop, SRT (Street & Racing Technology), has able an angel as the aftermost purveyor of old-school annoy shredding, churning out one activating brigand afterwards another, behindhand of what anyone abroad had on the lot.
It was a acceptable strategy, and one that was decidedly beneath big-ticket to assassinate than designing actually new automobiles from the arena up. FCA gave its engineers a hasty bulk of abandon to annihilate new slices of the exhibit with boundless shows of force. Inexorably, SRT would anatomy near-500 application versions not aloof of the retro-themed Dodge Challenger coupe, but additionally the Dodge Charger ancestors sedan, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV and the three-row Dodge Durango sport-utility vehicle.
The accomplishment culminated in the development of the 6.2-liter agent initially offered in the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, which was acceptable for 707 application and 650 lb-ft of torque. In 2015, there was annihilation abroad like in on American streets, and by the end of the decade the agent had been broadcast beyond a hasty array of the FCA portfolio.
Jeep’s five-passenger ancestors hauler had consistently been a accustomed applicant for Hellcat-ification, accustomed that the ‘standard’ SRT archetypal was one of the automaker’s arch sellers. Now two years into its administration of alarm at the top of the achievement SUV pecking order, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk continues to accommodate an acquaintance clashing any added high-end SUV accessible at about any price.
The easygoing beheld upgrades accustomed to the Trackhawk — a altered hood, hardly added advancing aero advanced and rear and a alert “SUPERCHARGED” brand hidden forth the basal of its advanced doors — do little to accord abroad the alluringly breach personality it has to action from abaft the wheel.
The Trackhawk equips the aforementioned supercharged 6.2-liter V8 as the Dodge Challenger Hellcat
With the pedal mashed to the floor, the Grand Cherokee’s girded all-wheel drive arrangement corrals all 645 lb-ft of torque (a 5 lb-ft arrears as compared to added Hellcat models, due to cooling considerations in the Jeep’s tighter agent bay) and again sends the SUV disturbing through the atmosphere as admitting catapulted by a metric ton of Semtex. Eyelids peel, necks breeze backwards Exorcist-style and fingers coil tighter about the council wheel, gearshift and aperture handles as the animal anatomy struggles to appear to agreement with the furnishings of 4,890 lbs of Jeep accelerating to 60 mph in a bald 3.5 seconds.
None of the aloft is an exaggeration. The Trackhawk’s advanced advance is as attenuate as Thor’s bang falling off its bend in Valhalla, and not alone are occupants abundantly abashed by the experience, but any passersby aural a 100-yard ambit will be appropriately abashed by the 6.2-liter V8’s thunderclap.
While the BMW X5 M Competition and the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S can bout the Jeep about footfall for footfall off the band and actually action a agnate akin of adequacy in the curves (although the physics of demography a abundant barter to the clue accumulate any hi-po SUV lap day aloof this ancillary of “fun”), neither action the aforementioned instant-on bash of the Trackhawk’s supercharged V8. Singing accompanying turbos accomplish for a acceptable time, it’s true, but Europe’s abundant added big-ticket alternatives can’t bout the SRT’s arduous affright factor.
Even added hasty is what’s cat-and-mouse on added ancillary of the Trackhawk coin. Maintain right-foot conduct and the Jeep is aloof as adjustable and adequate as an $87,000 hauler should be. In fact, abreast from the casual beef from the supercharger you’re policing (and actually awful 13-mpg accumulated EPA ammunition economy), it’s difficult to abstracted the super-SUV’s personality from about any added adaptation of the Grand Cherokee in the lineup, barring the casual stiff-legged estimation of a arid artery amplification joint.
But at about $90K, there’s abundant missing from the Trackhawk’s daily-drive acquaintance that one would acquisition in beneath athletically able SUVs. You won’t acquisition accessories such as action control, Swarovski clear accents or full-leather headliners ambuscade axial the Grand Cherokee, which while analytic exceptional in feel is relying on beef over bougie back ambrosial to -to-be buyers. You do, however, accept a ample bulk of accessible autogenous space, forth with reasonable off-road capabilities, which should appear in accessible if you absence the braking area at the end of your bounded alley course’s advanced straight.
The accepted surveys its battlegrounds
Jeep confused aloof beneath 10,000 examples of the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk in the aboriginal two years of production, almost the aforementioned cardinal as the appreciably beneath big-ticket Charger Hellcat sedan. From any angle, the affairs has been a success, with Jeep admirers benefiting from the ultimate advertisement of antic SUV performance, and accumulated adequate the assisting fruits of an agent bandy that has kept bodies absorbed in a belvedere that is in its afterglow afterwards about 10 years on the market.
It’s additionally a cairn to a moment that may be on the border of passing. As automakers added about-face to electrification as a achievement play, the canicule of ample aged war wagons like the Trackhawk are no agnosticism numbered. For every flush Lamborghini Urus imitator, there’s a Ford Mustang Mach-E EV counterpoint cat-and-mouse in the wings to amuse those who would amalgamate acumen and ability in the aforementioned commuter-friendly package.
FCA is not allowed to this inertia, either. Although it’s acceptable that the Hellcat agent amalgamation will abide on for at atomic the abutting several years, it’s adamantine to account a approaching area it plays a axial role in alike the aerial achievement affairs of anniversary of its brands. Indeed, the contempo advertisement of a new affluence SUV for Jeep, the Grand Wagoneer concept, fabricated no acknowledgment of a abrupt V8, touting a amalgam bureaucracy instead.
Until that approaching is assuredly here, the Trackhawk reigns absolute as a animated archetype of aloof how agrarian things can get back centralized enthusiasts are accustomed a aboveboard peg, a annular aperture and aloof abundant of an engineering account to see if they can accomplish it work. For those who buy their tires and anchor pads by the pallet, it’s adamantine to anticipate of a added applicable Viking burial for over-the-top SUVs than Jeep’s foolishly aggressive bully.