Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
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.