Grand Chero­kee Track­hawk

Robb Report (USA) - - LIONS OF THE DESERT -

Pulling in front of the Aria Re­sort & Casino’s North Valet along­side sport util­ity ve­hi­cles from Bent­ley, Mercedes, and Maserati, the Jeep Grand Chero­kee Track­hawk looked pedes­trian next to its peers. In street-rac­ing par­lance, Jeep’s en­try in the desert drive was a “sleeper,” a ve­hi­cle that ap­pears unas­sum­ing but hides un­ex­pected power.

In this case, the Track­hawk rages with a su­per­charged 6.2-liter V-8 that churns with 645 ft lbs of torque and 707 hp, more power than any of the other high-per­for­mance mod­els in our mix. De­vel­oped by the Street and Rac­ing Tech­nol­ogy (SRT) divi­sion of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, it’s the same en­gine that gives the Dodge Chal­lenger and Charger SRT Hell­cats their de­monic dis­po­si­tions. For the Track­hawk, that trans­lates to a top speed of 180 mph and the abil­ity to fly from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 sec­onds. Brembo brakes—the front ones are the big­gest of­fered by the brand—re­verse that last met­ric in 114 feet.

Also part of the power train is the par­ent com­pany’s bol­stered TorqueFlite eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion that con­stantly fac­tors in torque gra­di­ents, ac­cel­er­a­tion (both lon­gi­tu­di­nally and lat­er­ally), and vari­a­tions to the grade of the road for more pre­cise shift­ing. And when the go­ing gets gritty, the QuadraTrac on-de­mand four-wheel-drive con­fig­u­ra­tion fea­tures an elec­tronic lim­ited-slip rear dif­fer­en­tial that adds torque as needed for op­ti­mal grip. In other words, this cat keeps its cool even when driven in anger.

Al­though most of our crew found the ac­cel­er­a­tion and en­gine sound­track ex­cit­ing, Jeep’s fit and fin­ish through­out the cabin left some ques­tion­ing why the price closes in on six fig­ures. The Grand Chero­kee Track­hawk is cer­tainly a top choice for bar­rel­ing around the back­coun­try, but a call­ing card for so­cial sta­tus it’s not. The ques­tion is: What’s be­ing sought?

JEEP’S EN­TRY IN THE DESERT DRIVE WAS A“SLEEP ER ,” A VE­HI­CLE THAT AP­PEARS UNAS­SUM­ING BUT HI DES UN­EX­PECTED POWER.

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