For posh ur­ban­ites on dirt

Jeep launches its most ca­pa­ble fac­tory- pro­duced model range of Grand Chero­kee Trail­hawks

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - CC WEISS — Giz­mag.

JEEP has flashed some se­ri­ous of­froad mus­cle in both Moab and New York this month.

While the bright lights and pol­ished floors of the Ja­cob Jav­its Cen­tre don’t make for quite as dra­matic a Jeep re­veal back­drop as the red cliffs and tow­ers of Moab, that’s where folks will find the big­gest Jeep de­buts right now.

The new 2017 Grand Chero­kee Trail­hawk wears a raft of up­grades that make it the “most ca­pa­ble fac­tory- pro­duced Grand Chero­kee yet”, while the Jeep Sum­mit de­buts as the most lux­u­ri­ous.

Moab’s Easter Jeep Sa­fari isn’t just no­table to this story be­cause it shares some of the New York Auto Show’s dates once again this year, but be­cause it was the birth­place of the of­fi­cial Trail­hawk trim, with the Grand Chero­kee serv­ing as the launch ve­hi­cle.

The Trail­hawk name ex­isted at Jeep for a while, and was used on an open- top, Wran­gler- based 2007 con­cept car, but it re­ally gained steam at the 46th An­nual Jeep Sa­fari in 2012. Jeep’s an­nual slate of Sa­fari con­cept mod­els that year in­cluded the Grand Chero­kee Trail­hawk Con­cept.

Quite sim­ple by Jeep Sa­fari con­cept stan­dards ( es­pe­cially com­pared to the Mighty FC also re­vealed that year), the 2012 Trail­hawk con­cept was a look at a Grand Chero­kee with el­e­vated of­froad readi­ness. It in­cluded Mopar rock rails, 18- in Goodyear off- road tires, and red, min­eral- gray and black ac­cents through­out.

It wasn’t nearly as rad­i­cal or lust- wor­thy as other Jeep Sa­fari con­cepts then and since, but the mod­est Trail­hawk pack­age was one of the more pro­duc­tion- ready de­signs to come out of the an­nual Sa­fari gath­er­ing. Jeep ex­per­i­mented with a short- lived pro­duc­tion Grand Chero­kee Trail­hawk in model year 2013, then gave the “Trail­hawk” a hard launch as the most ca­pa­ble of the four model op­tions on the 2014 Chero­kee re­dux. It fol­lowed up with a Rene­gade Trail­hawk.

“Our Chero­kee and Rene­gade Trail­hawk mod­els are among our fastest sell­ing and most soughtafter mod­els, and we are fol­low­ing that suc­cess­ful for­mula to pro­vide con­sumers even more leg­endary Jeep 4x4 ca­pa­bil­ity for Grand Chero­kee,” ex­plains Jeep chief Mike Man­ley.

The black Trail­hawk in­te­rior in­cludes leather and suede per­for­mance seats, red con­trast stitching, a Trail­hawk- badged steer­ing wheel, and brushed pi­ano black and gun metal- fin­ish ac­cents.

The stan­dard 8,4- in Ucon­nect in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem in­cludes of­froad- spe­cific read­ings of things like wheel ar­tic­u­la­tion, sus­pen­sion height, and Se­lec- Ter­rain mode.

The Trail­hawk will ar­rive in show­rooms dur­ing July in a va­ri­ety of colours and with the full slate of Grand Chero­kee en­gine op- tions ( mi­nus the SRT 6,4- litre V8). Pric­ing has not yet been re­leased, but for ref­er­ence, the 2016 Chero­kee Trail­hawk is priced $ 7 600 ( R117 400) more than the Chero­kee base Sport 4x2 trim and the Rene­gade Trail­hawk is $ 8 750 more than the Rene­gade Sport 4x2 trim.

Round­ing out the six- model 2017 Jeep lineup is the all- new Jeep Sum­mit, also in­tro­duced in New York. If the Trail­hawk is the brutish dirt rat of the Grand Chero­kee fam­ily, the Sum­mit is the posh ur­ban­ite.

Jeep calls this one its most lux­u­ri­ous full- size SUV, and premium fea­tures like the full- wrap La­guna leather in­te­rior, 19- speaker, 825Watt Harman Kar­don au­dio sys­tem, acous­tic wind­shield and side glass, lighted door sill, head­lamp wash­ers and auto- fold­ing power mir­rors make it so.

Like the Trail­hawk, the Sum­mit tack­les the ground ahead with help from the Quadra- Drive II 4x4 sys­tem with ELSD.

It also comes stan­dard with Quadra- Lift air sus­pen­sion, SelecSpeed Con­trol and driver as­sis­tance fea­tures like adap­tive cruise con­trol, blind spot de­tec­tion, for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, and par­al­lel/ per­pen­dic­u­lar park as­sist.

The ex­te­rior in­cludes an up­dated front fas­cia, LED fog lamps and new 20- in pol­ished alu­minum wheels.

The Sum­mit will roll out dur­ing the July or Au­gust time frame as the Trail­hawk.

PHOTO: GIZ­MAG

Jeep’s new Grand Chero­kee Trail­hawk has an up­dated front fas­cia, LED fog lamps and new 20- in pol­ished alu­minum wheels.

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