By on July 23, 2018

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk front quarter

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

6.2-liter supercharged V8 (707 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 645 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm)

Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive

11 city / 17 highway / 13 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

11.2 (observed mileage, MPG)

Base Price: $86,995 (USD)

As Tested: $90,880

Prices include $1,095 freight charge.

It’s absurd.

That’s the word that kept flowing from pen to notepad as I tried to collect my thoughts on this 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The thought of 707 supercharged horsepower in a midsized family SUV is nothing but absurd.

And yet, if you don’t mind getting friendly with both your neighborhood gas station owner and your local replacement tire shop over your ownership term, the Trackhawk is a compelling choice. Unless you relish anonymity.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk profile

Especially in bright red, the Trackhawk announces its presence with authority. I was constantly aware that I was wheeling a vehicle that would never blend into any background. While the standard Grand Cherokee is a familiar sight in mall parking lots everywhere, those demure cruisers don’t wear 10-inch-wide wheels wrapped in 295-section Pirelli performance tires. They don’t have bright yellow six-piston Brembo brake calipers shouting from the wheelwells.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk front

And they certainly don’t have a supercharged Hemi V8 under the hood. Shared with the Hellcat models from Dodge, 707 horsepower makes this the fastest Jeep ever. I’ll admit, I’d love to have gotten this on a dragstrip to see what it can do when properly flogged, but Jeep quotes 11.6 seconds in the quarter-mile, and 3.5 seconds 0-60. With my Racelogic Driftbox, I was able to turn 3.4 seconds in the 0-60 run using launch control.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk launch mode control

Yes, launch control. In an SUV. Absurd.

It took some driving to get the Trackhawk to a flat, straight, and most importantly deserted farm road so I could properly test that launch mode. A bit of manipulating of settings both on the console dial — TRACK MODE! — and on the center touchscreen would enable launch mode, and also enable my rear deep into the seat.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk rear

Driving into the hinterlands reminded me of one more inescapable fact — creating this much power takes bucketfuls of premium unleaded. The EPA estimate of 17 mpg on the highway may be achievable on a long enough cruise, but I struggled to keep the onboard calculator to approach the 13 mpg combined figure. With the hooning one would expect from a guy who is given this after a week in a subcompact economy car, I only managed 11.2 mpg over my test. Again, absurd.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk center stack

Despite its prodigious thirst, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk was reasonably docile when driven with restraint. While the exhaust note and supercharger whine are noticeable when hustling, the sound is restrained on start-up and when driving calmly through the neighborhood. I had no complaints from my wife or the neighbors when I started the Jeep each morning.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk gauges

The ride was a bit harsh when encountering pavement that would better suit the trail-rated Jeeps, but was otherwise firm and controlled. It’s not a luxury cruiser, but neither will it punish you. It’s loud when cruising, however, as those steamroller Pirellis, the supercharger, the big frontal area, and the lope of the V8 combine into a cacophonous roar.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk interior

The seats are comfortable, though I could do without the Alcantara seat inserts. While comfy, they seem to soak up the sun’s rays and apply them directly to bare thighs. The ventilated (and heated, though I didn’t try the heat) seats do well, but the initial seating can be toasty.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk front seats

The cargo space is a bit narrow — the subwoofer over the right rear wheel well seems to cut into the given area. While I fit coolers, chairs, and sports bags for a weekend of multiple sports tournaments, there wasn’t much extra room.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk cargo area

Similarly, the space in the second row was a bit tight. While the kids didn’t have their legs jammed into the rear of the front seats, it was close. Moving around like kids often do wasn’t as comfortable as in most similarly-sized crossovers. Changing from softball cleats to soccer cleats when racing at unmentionable speeds from one venue to another was a struggle for my eldest.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk rear seats

Otherwise, the Trackhawk worked well as a commuter. It’s not a track-specific beast that can’t handle the more banal parts of our driving, though it’s certainly one of the only SUVs I’d consider taking out on the track.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk dashboard

Perhaps the best example came on the first night I drove the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. I took the family out for pizza. As we filled our drinks, I noticed a young twenty-something man and his girlfriend get out of a spotless first-generation Chrysler 300. While my eye was drawn to the decade-old full-sizer that had inexplicably escaped the beater-and-massive rims fate that most of these have fallen to, I noticed the couple wander to the Jeep.

[Get new and used Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT pricing here!]

The youths walked around for several long moments, then came into the restaurant. His line as he opened the door will remain with me forever — “I don’t ever want to own an SUV, but if I had to, that’s the SUV I’d own.”

Finally, SUVs are as uncool to this generation as minivans are to mine, and wagons are to my parents.

So, excusing myself from the wife and kids, I invited the couple outside to take a closer look. I fired it up, and the young lady was visibly shaken by the HellJeep’s sound.

Once again, absurd.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk rear quarter

[Images: © 2018 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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42 Comments on “2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Review – Behold The HellJeep...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    This is Dragula.

    • 0 avatar
      s_a_p

      Ive a Grand Cherokee SRT. With most vehicles Ive owned, I get tired of them after about 2 years and start thinking about what is next on my car bucket list. I have not started doing that this time around. It is the perfect car for my situation, and the situation for the next 10 years or so. I have a large family so we need larger vehicles, my kids are already adult sized by the time they are 12 years old(over 6 feet tall and 190 lbs). I was able to score my SRT for a great price as it was a brand new 2015 model that sat on the lot for 12-13 months by the time I bought it in 2016. So far Ive put 50k trouble free miles on it, its been only marginally more expensive to maintain(the Pirelli P Zero run flats are 500 a tire and last 14k miles, plus seem to be prone to blow outs, so i have been doing 180/tire hankooks. The brembo pads do wear out quicker than normal pads, but I got 38k miles out of the first set which wasnt too bad). In Houston, at sea level when the weather dips below 50 degrees I can consistently go 0-60 in 4.2 seconds when there is a safe place to try said run. In summer heat it averages in the 4.6-4.8 range. The most important thing is that even though this thing has ~470 hp, can stop as well as it goes and can actually turn pretty well too(I’ve not run a skidpad, but I can exceed .90 gs on turns without any fear of losing control). My wife actually loves to drive it, its not a handful at all and the selectable drive modes range from standard soft grand cherokee ride to bouncy punishing track mode. The gas milage is a bit low, but I suspect the trackhawk will do better once the novelty of putting your foot into it wears off. I was getting ~12 mpg when it was new, and now I get 16-18mpg since Im not running it hard. I have considered getting this trackhawk for my wife, as I think she would love it…

  • avatar

    When you consider the Charger Hellcat is *$24,000* less expensive, and carries the same build quality and engine as this, and will be better for whatever drag or track duties you need, this all sort of falls apart.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      That’s the winter surcharge. Instead of needing a second car, you can instead drive this one year round.

      • 0 avatar

        I’d rather have two vehicles for two separate purposes, rather than one compromised thing for two purposes.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “That’s the winter surcharge.”

        707 hp and 10 inch wide rims don’t go hand in hand with safe winter driving especially if one’s family is on board.

        How is that supercharged engine going to enjoy turning over in -25C or colder weather?

        Perhaps the winter’s I’m accustomed to dealing with are much more harsh than yours? ;)

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      @Corey,

      I didn’t see the price listed anywhere. Besides dealer a**hat markup, whet is the price for this?

      In past days you could have counted me in on the Red Corvette as my last purchase (sans gold chain necklaces), this seems like it would be just as much fun, messing with those youngsters at traffic lights.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Pragmatically true, but the Grand Cherokee regularly trades at a premium over the sedan because SUV because Jeep.

    • 0 avatar
      blppt

      Given the ridiculously inadequate tires on the RWD Charger Hellcat, this SUV is probably far easier to live with. I mean, creating plumes of burning rubber gets old when all you may want to do is get away from a stop quickly. I remember people were pining for AWD in the Charger/Challenger HC because of the tire size limitations and thus how difficult they are to launch; this is probably the only thing we’re going to get.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Fiat 124 Spider Hellcat.

    Make it happen.

  • avatar
    John R

    Well…that was kinda tactless

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I’m forced to agree. It wasn’t Peter Gazis-level elitist rudeness, but it was a bit harsh. Who says the 300 is his only car, or all he can possibly afford? Maybe he can’t swing a $90k Jeep, but his opinion matters as much as anyone’s.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Hellcats give me “meh” feelings, and this one is no exception.

    For any use on a public road, this SUV would be improved by yanking out the Hellcat, putting in the 6.4, and shaving $15k off the price.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    May be in red with yellow calipers it stands out. But if anything, I would probably make some simple design changes to the Track Hawk to make it seem more distinct. Where is that hellcat character? I wood festoon this Grand Cherokee with Hellcat symbols everywhere. We know it is a Jeep. TrackHawk name is meaningless. Hellcat everything. Hellcat for life. Jeep Grand Cherokee Hellcat.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    So, are you disputing the Horatio Alger bootstrapping myth, suggesting that any young person today doesn’t have great prospects, or have just arbitrarily decided someone’s prospects based on the thinnest of details?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Yes it is a ludicrous vehicle for doing ludicrous things.

    Would I ever buy one? No.

    Am I glad it exists? Of course I am.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    “Breaking the Law” would be a more appropriate Judas Priest selection for driving around in this thing.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      youtube.com/watch?v=L397TWLwrUU

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’m thinking a giant smoky burnout to “Kickstart My Heart,” personally. That’s assuming a car with AWD can actually do one, of course.

        • 0 avatar
          Sub-600

          I can squeal my tires for a second and then the AWD kicks in and ruins it. The AWD automatically engages when the temp drops below 40 degrees too, so forget chirping the tires in the winter. If I nail it while turning a corner I can almost lose the rear end before the nannies kick in. If I didn’t live in the snow belt I wouldn’t want AWD in a R/T.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I am kinda curious about the MPG when one uses the key (red or black can’t recall) that **only** allows the user access to 500 HP and not the full 707. At 500, this is still a beast of a SUV lurking the streets to reign havoc and terror on lowly unsuspecting Civic and Mustang owners.

    Task at hand, these things are awesome.

  • avatar
    James2

    My mom saw a new Cherokee yesterday. She didn’t know Jeep made “that kind of car”, she just thought they made Wranglers, though she just called it “that square thing”. Wait until I show her this beast.

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    Wow, the 13MPG combined figure is really impressive … in a bad way! You have to work pretty hard to use that much fuel in a modern fuel-injected car. I would be interested to hear about some of the engineering trade-offs involved.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Yup, look as hard as you can for a Toyota Tundra…at least with the Trailhawk you get 707 HP

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      707 hp in a largish SUV? I find it impressive that it gets double-digit MPG at all. With that much power, what were you expecting? As Morgan pointed out, there are plenty of vehicles, the Tundra being one of the worst offenders, that don’t have nearly the power, but get similar MPG.

      For me, no, I would buy the Challenger Hellcat and spend the $25k on a different daily driver (an AWD SUV or car if I lived where winters are harsh). But, the fact that this exists and does what it does is amazing, and I respect the hell out of it. And 13 MPG? I was expecting 9 tops.

      I’m sorry this doesn’t make a good stand-in for a Rav4 Hybrid, but it never pretended to be.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        Yes, 707 horses, and about 600 of them were slumbering when the Jeep loafed its way through the EPA MPG tests.

        To be fair, the JGCTH is beating the Lambo Aventador, which shows 12mpg.

        Bentley’s larger Bentayga with a 600hp 6.0L turbo V-12 gets 15mpg combined.

        Which is actually 15% better, even though it’s only 2mpg.

        The F-150 Raptor is rated at 16mpg combined, which is 23% better than the Jeep. I guess you could say it “only” has 450hp. But again, the vast majority of those horses are not being used on the EPA test. The tires on the Raptor are certainly not mileage-friendly.

        One criticism of the EcoBoost has been that it supposedly aces the EPA MPG test and then flops in the real world. Does this not apply to the Mopar engine?

        Hence, I wonder about some of the engineering tradeoffs involved.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I predict the depreciation on these will be stunning.
    So 3 yrs down the road, that 90 grand will be replaced by a much more affordable number.

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