The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is a wolf in the badge’s clothing. Cherokees of the past and the greater Jeep name have been synonymous with whatever you people do. Climb… cool rocks? Drive, uh, without… doors? Wave to other Jeep people (Jeeple)? But now the legendary brand is dedicated to one thing and one thing only: SPEED, BABY!
That was a joke, peeps. Jeep enthusiasts, please put down the pitchforks. I only kid you because I envy you. What I am trying to say is that the 2018 Trackhawk is a massive leap in a new direction for Jeep. Now part of the Hellcat dynasty, the Cherokee let off-road capability fall by the wayside, and substituted it for an incredible 707 horsepower.
Paying Respects, Then Dusting Them
If this feels like a familiar move from Jeep’s repertoire, that’s because it is. In ’98 they charged up the Cherokee “ZJ,” spawning the 5.9 Limited. It changed the SUV market with its sub-seven 0 to 60. But this new Trackhawk is not your grandpa’s Cherokee. The 2018 descendant can hit 60 in 3.5 seconds, literally half the time. It has a quarter-mile time of 11.6 seconds. That’s what a 6.2L V8 will do for ya. That, and an unprecedented top speed of 180 mph. Disclaimer: I mean no disrespect to the Niner. Old Cherokees are like that ripped old dude with the head tattoo you would never ever mess with. But as you can see, the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has some “bad boy” qualities of its own.
First drive reviews of the Trackhawk are almost all praise, especially for its sound. This comes as no surprise to anyone who has been behind the wheel (or anywhere within a two-mile radius) of a Hellcat. The 2.4L IHI supercharger has increased airflow sucking in 1,000 cubic feet of air per minute and creating 11.6 psi of boost. However, it can feel slightly subdued from its more restrictive exhaust system (unless going full throttle, which is deafening). But that is because Jeep is insistent on the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk being considered a “luxury” vehicle. And that makes sense. Because what’s more luxurious than ripping down the highway so fast that everyone around you catches on fire, and you can’t hear them scream in your noise-reduced cabin? Nothing.
Luxury Comes With A Price
But if we’re being real, the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk does have the characteristics of a modern luxury SUV. It’s low to the ground, sleeker than ever, fit with customary Cherokee leather interior, and oh yeah, it starts at $86,995. Like me, you were probably waiting for that dagger to come. And most unfortunate is that far outprices the tags on the Hellcat in a Charger ($66,295) and Challenger ($63,795).
But here is what the Charger and Challenger do not have: towing capability. Yes, they can go as fast, yes, and they cost significantly less. But they can’t pull a boat behind them, or any trailer for that matter, while Trackhawk has a towing capacity of 7,200 pounds. It is part of the movement focused on taking back the SUV. It’s strong, massive, and doing even more with the 645 lb-ft of torque than its Hellcat contemporaries. Don’t believe me? Here’s footage of the Trackhawk towing while climbing several thousand feet through the Rockies on 1-70. With a curb weight of 5,400 lbs, the Trackhawk is a heavy duty speed demon. As far as Hellcats go, the Challenger is the cheetah, the Charger is the lion, and the Trackhawk is Battlecat from He-Man.
This 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk may not be for the faint of heart. And it certainly isn’t for the frugal, considering its base price and 13 mpg/combined. But it’s for those who feel a connection of spirit to their vehicle. It’ll meet you at the crossroads of Speed Demon and Jeep Faithful, then blast out of there in a hurry. Back to the past of when cars were meant to go.