What You Learn After Driving the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Ridiculous in the best way possible.

DW Burnett/Puppyknuckles

If you haven't heard, the Hellcat is a 6.2 liter V8, supercharged engine with 707 horsepower that Dodge puts in the Challenger and Charger. That gives them more power than most cars from Ferrari, Lamborghini, or McLaren. And it makes these two big body Dodges some of the fastest cars you can buy for any price. That's a huge accomplishment.

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But, of course, I've always felt there could be a few improvements after driving them. The Charger and (non-widebody) Challenger don't have enough tire out back to put all that power down. You get wheelspin off the line, even with the traction control set to "very on." They aren't made to be handling machines, though. They're meant for burnouts, for cruising, for the dragstrip. That's their intent and they excel at it.

It's amazing that a company would even put something so audacious and cool in to production. So who would have thought that you could make a better Hellcat by stuffing that engine in something even bigger, like the Jeep Grand Cherokee? Because it totally works.

DW Burnett/Puppyknuckles

Like the Charger and Challenger Hellcats, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is subtle, which is a good thing. There aren't wings or wild body kits. To someone who isn't in the know, it looks the same as a 'regular' SRT Grand Cherokee. The only visible changes to the outside are two 'supercharged' badges, one 'Trackhawk' badge, and the removal of the fog lights, which are replaced with air intakes. Unlike its brothers, it doesn't have a Hellcat badge anywhere on the car, which makes it fly even further under the radar.

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Then there's driving it. If the Hellcat Charger and Challenger make you think you can beat most anything on the road, the Trackhawk makes you feel invincible. The seating position is high, since, y'know, it's an SUV. That lets you survey the road far ahead, picking where you want to deploy power that no other car or truck within miles has. Driving a truck like this, which has a supercharger that won't stop whining at the mere suggestion of a throttle application, makes you feel invincible.

DW Burnett/Puppyknuckles
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Other than that feeling of superiority, there are tangible improvements to the Trackhawk that make it more odds-defying than the regular Hellcats. First would be handling. Like we said, the regular Hellcats are a more for straight line performance than all out track dominance. The Trackhawk, which has the word 'track' in its name, isn't going to take on a Caterham. But when you take in to account that this is an SUV that weighs 5300 pounds, it suddenly becomes amazingly impressive since you don't expect a truck like this to handle at all. It's not a Porsche Cayenne or BMW X5 M in corners (both of which are scarily capable), this is a Jeep. A vehicle that you expect to work on a trail, not a track.

But the single biggest advantage it has over the regular Hellcats has to be the way it accelerates. With a 0 to 60 time of about 3.5 seconds, it's just as quick as the cars. So why is it more impressive? It weighs nearly 1000 pounds more and can get up to speed in the same amount of time. Where the Charger and Challenger can have some grip issues off the line with all that power, the Trackhawk is all-wheel drive and uses the trick torque reserve launch control of the Demon drag racing special to get it off the line.

DW Burnett/Puppyknuckles
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That makes the Trackhawk's all-wheel drive launch as ferocious as the launch of a Nissan GT-R, but this is a 5300 pound SUV that you can use to tow a boat. You can't tow a boat with a GT-R. We'd also recommend not doing launch control while towing a boat. Imagine if Dodge built that rumored all-wheel drive Hellcat? It'd be insanity.

A Hellcat has always been ridiculous, in the absolute best sense of the word. You don't buy one of these cars because you need it. Say what you will, but you don't need 707 horsepower in your car. But if you want 707 horsepower, why not have it in the most unexpected vehicle possible? That vehicle is the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

DW Burnett/Puppyknuckles
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