SRT stuck a 707 horsepower Hellcat engine in the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk | Stellantis
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk | Stellantis

RELATED: The Rivian Electric Truck Trounces the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye

As the initial buzz of the Charger and Challenger Hellcats’ 2015 debut faded, MOPAR fans wondered what SRT’s next project would be. Then in April 2017, SRT announced a Hellcat-powered Jeep: the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. With 707 horsepower, it was destined to be the most powerful SUV Chrysler had ever built.

First, SRT took a 5,448 pound Jeep Grand Cherokee. Then the team installed the legendary Hellcat supercharged V8. They paired the engine with an 8-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive. The resulting SUV could carry five passengers through any conditions: from dirt roads to a race track.

Some critics expected the new Jeep Trackhawk to be a bit of a joke. But then MotorTrend got its first test vehicle and took the Trackhawk to the track. Its times blew the doors of most everything on the road, including the supposed top-trim SRT: the Charger Hellcat Redeye and most Dodge SRT Challengers.

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Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT vs. Trackhawk Safety Features

Last but not least, let’s take a look at the safety features. The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT and Trackhawk are both reliable sport utility vehicles. Whether you’re driving through the rain, sleet, or snow, you can always count on both of these Jeep Grand Cherokee models to help you reach your next destination. Some of the top safety features that come standard in the Jeep Trackhawk and Grand Cherokee SRT are:

  • Electronic Roll Mitigation
  • Blind-Spot and Cross-Path Detection
  • Enhanced Accident Response System
  • Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus
  • Hill Descent Control
  • Parkview Rear Back-Up Camera
  • 4-Wheel Traction Control

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

This ferocious SUV is fitted with an array of standard driver-assistance technology, such as automatic high-beams, lane-departure warning, and self-parking assist. While this technology adds convenience and protection, it doesn’t make the high-priced family hauler any cheaper. For more information about the Trackhawk’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
  • Standard adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology
  • Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert

Performance Features for each trim

The all-new 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee is, no doubt, a capable and power-driven SUV. Jeep drivers near Cincinnati, OH, will find the SRT and Trackhawk models carry on that excellence through their engine specs as well as other impressive performance features.

The SRT’s V8 engine comes paired with an efficient eight-speed automatic transmission and five Drive Modes, including Auto, Sport, Track, Snow, Tow and a custom setting. The Trackhawk, driven by its 707-hp engine, features high-performance Brembo brakes with 15.75-inch slotted rotors, 15-inch vented front rotors and six-piston front brake calipers. The advanced Quadra-Trac Active On-Demand 4×4 System on both models allows drivers to have better handling in any driving condition due to its impressive amounts of horsepower and torque.

Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Problems and Reliability

As you can imagine, building an engine with over 700 horsepower on tap is quite a complex endeavor. Thus, reliability is something that you don’t want to be worrying about. Fortunately, the 2021 Trackhawk has thus far been recall-free. However, the identical 2020 variant was subject to a single recall in April of the same year for a lingering rearview camera image that would remain on the display even after shifting into a forward ratio.

Warranty coverage for the brutish Jeep is pretty good with a basic three-year/36,000 mile warranty complemented by a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. You also get roadside assistance for the same time period/mileage that the powertrain is covered for. Finally, three years of complimentary scheduled maintenance is thrown in along with a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty.

Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Exterior

The exterior of the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is anything but subtle. A vented and contoured hood features alongside honeycomb grilles, LED running lights, and a sporty and vented front bumper. Bulbous arches house 20-inch wheels as standard while the rear boasts a roof-mounted spoiler, LED brake lights, and a faux diffuser housing a quad-exit exhaust arrangement. Gloss black accents and badges feature across the body.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Exterior Features

As far as the exterior design goes, the differences between the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT vs. Trackhawk are far from obvious. But, if you take a close look, you will quickly notice that the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is slightly different than the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. Take the wheels, for example. The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT comes standard with 20-inch Carbon Split 5-spoke wheels, and the Trackhawk comes standard with 20-inch Forged Polished Face Wheels. You’ll also notice that the Jeep Grand Cherokee also comes standard with Bright Quad Exhaust Tips, a supercharged sill plate, a Trackhawk Badge, and a Supercharged Badge. All in all, both of these SUVs share semi-similar exterior features. Therefore, it all comes down to preference.

Bring a Helmet

Jeep’s five-passenger family hauler had always been a natural candidate for Hellcat-ification, given that the ‘standard’ SRT model was one of the automaker’s strongest sellers. Now two years into its reign of terror at the top of the performance SUV pecking order, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk continues to provide an experience unlike any other high-end SUV available at almost any price.

The low-key visual upgrades given to the Trackhawk — a different hood, slightly more aggressive aero front and rear and a discreet “SUPERCHARGED” badge hidden along the bottom of its front doors — do little to give away the delightfully split personality it has to offer from behind the wheel.

The Trackhawk equips the same supercharged 6.2-lit
The Trackhawk equips the same supercharged 6.2-liter V8 as the Dodge Challenger Hellcat

Fiat-Chrysler

With the pedal mashed to the floor, the Grand Cherokee’s girded all-wheel drive system corrals all 645 lb-ft of torque (a 5 lb-ft deficit as compared to other Hellcat models, due to cooling considerations in the Jeep’s tighter engine bay) and then sends the SUV tearing through the atmosphere as though catapulted by a metric ton of Semtex. Eyelids peel, necks snap backwards Exorcist-style and fingers curl tighter around the steering wheel, gearshift and door handles as the human body struggles to come to terms with the effects of 4,890 lbs of Jeep accelerating to 60 mph in a mere 3.5 seconds.

None of the above is an exaggeration. The Trackhawk’s forward progress is as subtle as Thor’s hammer falling off its hook in Valhalla, and not only are occupants sufficiently cowed by the experience, but any passersby within a 100-yard radius will be equally flummoxed by the 6.2-liter V8’s thunderclap.

While the BMW X5 M Competition and the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S can match the Jeep nearly step for step off the line and certainly offer a similar level of competence in the curves (although the physics of taking a top-heavy truck to the track keep any hi-po SUV lap day just this side of “fun”), neither offer the same instant-on wallop of the Trackhawk’s supercharged V8. Singing twin turbos make for a good time, it’s true, but Europe’s much more expensive alternatives can’t match the SRT’s sheer startle factor.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

If the Trackhawk’s extroverted exterior wasn’t proof enough, its racy interior further proves that this Jeep prefers racetracks and twisty roads to rocky trails. Inside, its ample passenger accommodations are highlighted by front seats that comfort and support, especially when tracking the ‘Hawk. Although the smooth leather on top of the dashboard and door panels make for luxurious touches compared with the rubberized material used on cheaper Grands, the carryover switchgear and inconsistent panel gaps remind us that true luxury is reserved for premium-brand alternatives. Its aggressive bodywork and powertrain set your heart to pounding, but it also inherits the cargo space and interior cubby storage from the regular Grand Cherokee range. This means similar carry-on capacity and the same limited number of places to secure small items so they don’t go ballistic when the driver decides to drop the hammer and defy the laws of physics.

Jeep

The Car and Driver Difference

Our Comprehensive Car Testing Explained Why We Test: Every Number Tells a Story

TRACK-INSPIRED THRILLS

Powered by a 6.4L V8 engine, the Grand Cherokee SRT® rewards you with track-ready capability, exhilarating acceleration and impressive handling. This high-performance SUV also boasts a Launch Control System and Brembo brakes for awesome stopping power.

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