With a pukka Trailhawk version available here, Kiwi Jeep dealers have a Grand Cherokee model to satisfy every taste.
“Be rude not to,” I quipped as Jeep NZ staffer Rebecca Anderson held up the keys to the 6.4 litre hemi V8-powered SRT Grand Cherokee outside the company’s HQ in Auckland’s industrial Mt Wellington. In theory, the country’s motoring writers had been invited to a day out driving the new addition to the GC ( Grand Cherokee) line-up, the Trailhawk, at Kariotahi on the ‘super city’s south-western coast. But we had to get there – from Mt Wellie – first. And at that particular moment, I couldn’t think of a better way to cover the 60-or so kilometres than behind the wheel of the only real option if a Range Rover Sport is not your particular cup of tea ( or shot of bourbon!) Sat there all squat and menacing on wide 20 in. dia. alloys and tyres like sticky straps of liquorice the SRT really is an imposing piece of luxury 4x4 kit and needless to say, the trip from city to country was concluded in the effortless and absolutely stress-free manner I’m sure those with over $ 100K to spend on a luxury SUV expect as of right. Me? I resolved to borrow it again at some stage, preferably if I ever have to make a dramatic, car-borne entrance to some black tie function or other. Or, next time I have to tow the drift car to Manfeild and back!
On the trail
But I digress. Once at Kariotahi (and yes I was one of the first to get there!) we were ushered into one of the Castaways Resort’s (check the place out at castaways. co.nz, it’s a cool spot) themed conference rooms and given the run-down on the new, expanded Grand Cherokee range, and the new Trailhawk model in particular. First seen as a concept(as is Jeep’s way) at the annual Jeep Safari at Easter, the annual event at Moab in Utah which the company uses to preview trends and
( usually thinly disguised future production models) the new Trailhawk is one of five different Grand Cherokee models ( Laredo, Ltd, Trailhawk, Overland and SRT) now available here. All share the same unibody ( monocoque) platform with RRPs ranging from just $ 64,990 for the Pentastar V6 Laredo 2WD to $ 114,990 for the V8 Quadra-Trac on-demand 4WD SRT. At a cool $ 94,990 the 184kW/ 550Nm 3.0 litre turbo- diesel-powered Trailhawk sits slap-bang in the middle of the line-up and is pitched at the buyer who is definitely interested in heading off the beaten track. Though it takes a keen eye to initially pick out the signs ( the matt-black paint inserts on the bonnet, red tow hooks and Trailhawk Rubicon Trail-earned ‘ Trailrated’ badges are the key giveaways) the Trailhawk comes ‘ loaded for bear.’
All the bells
For a start it is equipped with the topof-the- line Quadra- Drive 11 4WD system which includes Jeep’s Electronic Limited Slip Differential ( ELSD) at the rear, a unique version of the company’s highrise, Quadra- Lift air suspension system ( which offers improved articulation as well as considerably more suspension travel) and Selec- Speed Control with Hill Ascent Control. Robust skid plates are standard and clever packaging around the nose and chin spoiler and rear bumper sees an approach angle of 29.8 degrees and a departure one of 22.8 degrees. The Quadra-lift system also means almost 275mm of ground clearance. Wheels are 18-inch alloys, tyres Kevlarreinforced Goodyear Adventure A/ Ts. Inside, Trailhawk models feature a mix of comfortable, supportive black leather and suede sports seats , a gun-metal finish on all painted interior parts and red accent stitching on the seats, doors and console. An 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen is standard and comes complete – get this ! – with scrollable ‘pages’ showing not only the 4x4 and Selec-Terrain modes you are in, but also functions such as suspension height and wheel articulation.
In addition to the arrival of the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk for 2017, Jeep has also made a range of enhancements and improvements across the Grand Cherokee range. These include: • Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Trailhawk models all get the front fascia and sevenslot Jeep grille that debuted on the 2016 Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary edition. • The SRT model gets an exclusive front fascia/ fog lamps/ grille combo as well as a Signature leather interior package. • Rearview cameras, rear park sensors, uConnect telematics, and LED daytime running lights are now standard on all Grand Cherokee models.
Trailhawk is latest Grand Cherokee model to be released here
Trailhawk badge is well-earned.
Engine of choice for local market is smooth, torquey 3.0 litre V6 turbo-diesel
Bright re tow hooks, matt black bonnet inserts and badging distinguish Trailhawk from other Grand Cherokee models