When it comes to building fast machines that have no right being so explosive, few are as ridiculous as the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Built by the same group of people who brought us the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, this SUV proudly built in the US is one of the most insanely quick machines on the planet. It's expensive for something with a badge as "common" as Jeep, with a base price approaching $90,000, but when you consider that German rivals cost more and come with far less power - vehicles like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and BMW X5 M - the HEMI-powered Trackhawk is something of a bargain. A 6.2-liter supercharged V8 generates a ridiculous 707 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque, split between both front and rear axles with the assistance of an eight-speed automatic transmission. As cool as excess can be, is it worth spending so much on a Jeep? And can something with a Jeep badge provide the same thrills as something from a German marque?
While the regular Jeep range is constantly changing and seeing the addition of new trims and so forth, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk sees no updates. Last year's model saw the addition of some standard features, but 2021's variant is carried over completely unchanged. Considering that this is basically the same vehicle as that we saw on its release in 2018, it may be time for something new.
6.2L Supercharged V8 Gas
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.
The dimensions of the Trackhawk are typical for a midsize SUV, with length measuring 189.8 inches including a wheelbase of 114.7 inches. Width measures 76.5 inches while height is 67.9/70 inches at the roof rail/antenna. It's highly unlikely that a vehicle such as this, with low-profile tires and sporty suspension, will ever go off-road. However, this is still a Jeep and it does have trail-biased driving modes. Helping to make the most of these modes is a ground clearance measurement of 8.1 inches. Curb weight is unsurprisingly hefty with that massive engine and a four-wheel-drive system, starting at 5,356 pounds before options like a dual-pane sunroof that can add yet more mass.
Just one no-cost paint option is offered for the 2021 Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, and as with most other manufacturers, it's the color of paper. Here, it's called Bright White. If you'd like one of the other colors, you'll have to spend $245 extra, but at least there are numerous hues available to choose from. These include Diamond Black Crystal Pearl, Granite Crystal Metallic, Sting-Gray, Billet Silver Metallic, Slate Blue Pearl, Velvet Red Pearl, Green Metallic, and Ivory 3 Coat, with the latter being the only one to cost $595. However, we recommend Redline 2 Coat Pearl. It's a stunningly vibrant shade and a color that makes the Trackhawk look truly sporty. That said, Black is also always a great option for those that like the sinister sleeper look. If you don't go for black paint, you can spec the hood in that color at no charge, but a black roof will cost $2,100.
If you're interested in an SUV with a Hellcat motor, you're likely obsessed with straight-line performance. The Trackhawk excels in this department, offering an unbeatable 707 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque. Although other 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI Hellcat-powered products like the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye send their power to the rear wheels, this is a Jeep. Thus, power is split between both axles with an eight-speed automatic transmission helping distribute power to the 4WD system. Besides the Jeep badge, 4WD just makes sense, as drifting a rear-wheel-drive SUV with this much power is probably not the greatest idea. Sending power to all four wheels also reaps benefits in the 0-60 mph sprint, which is achieved in just 3.5 seconds. Keep going and the quarter-mile can be achieved in as little as 11.6 seconds. Top speed is impressive too, with the limit arriving at 180 mph. However, while the Trackhawk is certainly more capable than the regular Grand Cherokee in the corners, it can't hold a candle to the likes of the X5 M and Cayenne Turbo, SUVs that do a great job of acting like proper sports cars. Nevertheless, the Trackhawk can be pretty versatile, offering a towing capacity of up to 7,200 lbs.
The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is a standalone model at the top of its range and comes in only one configuration. This means you get a 6.2-liter HEMI engine with a 2.4-liter belt-driven supercharger from IHI. Combined, they generate a total of 707 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque, although as the Challenger range has proven, much more power is potentially possible. Could a Redeye version come someday? Maybe, but for now, this thing has more than enough oomph to scare your kids on the way to school. It can potter along nicely too, but as you'd expect of something with this much power, acceleration in any situation is absolutely effortless. Assisting with this consistently brutal yet manageable output is an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission that allows for manual shifting with the aid of steering-mounted paddles. Left to its own devices, it will shift smoothly and quickly, but it's just as impressive when you take manual control too. Responses are instantaneous, ensuring that the time to get from one gear to the next is so short that you don't have time to think about how sick you feel from the insane g-forces.
Unsurprisingly for a performance SUV with more power than any of its direct rivals that is still cheaper than the competition, the Trackhawk is a bit of a one-trick pony. Sure, the suspension has been refined and stiffened to improve handling ability, but there is no way that the 4WD system, the steering setup, or even the adaptive suspension of this Jeep can compete with what German counterparts offer. Nevertheless, the Trackhawk's handling ability is not atrocious and is still fairly impressive for something of this size. We'd still not recommend it as a Laguna Seca regular, but it's fun. You can tell that this car was meant for road use though, with overly light steering to aid parking and to help make the bulky SUV feel less lardy than it really is. Big weight needs big stopping power to keep things safe, so Brembo brakes are fitted as standard and do an excellent job of bringing you to a halt. They're not overly grabby either and can be used in traffic with nonchalance, which means that you won't have to worry about spilling your jumbo soda if someone cuts in front of you. In terms of comfort, the adaptive suspension does a decent job of managing small and medium bumps but still isn't quite refined enough to ensure flat cornering. Off-road, Snow mode helps regulate the power to keep you moving, but a Trailhawk will be much more capable on slippery surfaces. There's also a Valet mode, helping keep your $90,000 SUV out of the bushes when a third party gets behind the wheel.
As you can imagine from something with a supercharger that draws 80 hp to run, gas mileage is not the Trackhawk's strong suit by any stretch of the imagination. The latest official EPA ratings indicate that the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk SUV will achieve 11/17/13 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. To be fair, the BMW X5 M isn't all that much better, achieving 13/18/15 mpg on the same cycles. However, the Bimmer has a smaller tank compared to the Jeep and will thus offer similar range. The Trackhawk's 24.6-gallon tank should return around 320 miles of range with mixed driving if the EPA figures are to be believed, but the reality will be considerably worse, especially if you find a whining supercharger and a roaring V8 as addictive as we do.
The interior of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is miles apart from what its German rivals offer. It still looks like it's trying to be sporty with a D-shaped steering wheel and various carbon and aluminum accents, but it's starting to look very dated and still features too much plastic. The climate control assembly looks especially cheap, but the fact that it doesn't stand out much should tell you all you need to know about the levels of so-called quality you can expect from this machine. Still, you do get a decent number of standard features that include heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. You'll also find a 10-speaker sound system in the cabin, along with a reasonable amount of space.
Despite its performance aspirations, the Trackhawk is still a Jeep Grand Cherokee. That means it's the most practical car on the planet with 700 horses under the hood - besides, perhaps, the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat. The Jeep seats five adults comfortably, with plenty of headroom and legroom for both rows of occupants. Although it's lifted compared to a sedan, it's lower than a regular SUV usually is, making it possible for even shorter individuals to climb in and out with ease. The seats are also both comfortable and supportive, with both front seats featuring eight-way power adjustment as standard, with the driver also gaining memory functions. Visibility in all directions is good too, which helps with placing the SUV on the road and with parking. However, the rear window is a little on the small side.
As standard, you get a mix of suede and Nappa in either Black or Sepia, but proper Laguna leather is on offer too in either Black or Black/Gray. However, this will add $4,995 to your bill and will also require the addition of the high-performance audio system for another $2,095. Alternatively, you can spice up the cabin with red seatbelts for 95 bucks. Carbon and aluminum accents are scattered about as standard, but they aren't of the highest quality.
This may be a performance SUV, but it's also still a family car and is therefore meant to be quite practical. Luckily, the Trackhawk does well in this department with a competitive 36.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, which is roughly on par with what you'll get in the BMW X5 M. That's more than enough for you to carry full-size luggage for each occupant, provided that you're willing to stack a case or two.
In the cabin, each door gets a narrow pocket for small items while cupholders, a center console storage bin, an overhead console, and a glove compartment can deal with additional items. However, there isn't a really convenient place to put your phone.
The Trackhawk is the Grand Cherokee range-topper separate from other trim levels, so you get a long list of features as standard. These include a power liftgate, heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote keyless entry, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control, adaptive dampers, remote start, launch control, rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera. You also get eight-way power heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated rear seats. An electronic limited-slip differential on the rear axles is also standard while safety features include blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, and forward collision detection with automatic emergency braking. Optionally available is a dual-pane panoramic sunroof.
The Trackhawk comes with Fiat Chyrsler's familiar Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment display with navigation, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. It also includes Bluetooth connectivity, HD Radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, voice recognition, and an Alpine sound system with nine speakers plus a subwoofer. Overall, the system works well, is easy to understand, and is well-placed. However, it can't hold a candle to the iDrive system in BMW's offerings. Still, you can improve the effects of the Uconnect setup by speccing a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system for $2,095. There's also a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system on offer with a DVD player and Blu-Ray compatibility. This option will set you back an additional $1,995.
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.
When you're in a family vehicle capable of 180 mph, a good safety rating is very important. In the NHTSA's review of the regular Jeep Grand Cherokee, the SUV achieved an overall rating of five stars. At the IIHS, the Trackhawk was also not independently tested but the regular SUV was. However, things were less promising here, with the 2020 model's small front overlap crash test on the driver's side being rated as Marginal, the second-worst rating possible. On the passenger side, the rating was Poor, while all other aspects besides headlights (Acceptable at best) were considered Good.
Despite rather middling reviews of its safety, the Trackhawk should be a secure vehicle in most incidents. This is thanks to a suite of seven airbags that include frontal, side-impact, curtain, and driver's knee airbags. You also get forward collision alert with autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, parallel/perpendicular parking assistance, and adaptive cruise control. While BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes-AMG offer many more features, a great number of these are often optional.
Depending on the perspective from which you view the Trackhawk, it's either a performance bargain or an overpriced Jeep. With 707 horsepower being transferred to all four wheels providing one with the ability to easily reposition your internal organs and embarrass sleepy sports car owners, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk's asking price of under 90 grand seems like a giveaway. However, if you review it as a normal Jeep with impressive specs - which is what it will be on the road 90 percent of the time - then it's MSRP seems a little ridiculous, especially when you consider that the interior is very dated and you don't even get real leather as standard. Ultimately, one needs to remember that this is still a spacious, practical, comfortable, and family-oriented SUV that just so happens to be capable of under 12 seconds on the quarter-mile. If you look at it as a Jeep that comes with everything, looks special, and produces more power than almost anything else with four doors, then it can definitely be justified. This car is just a caricature of itself, something that we would never have dreamed of from an OEM 10 years ago. For that, we should be thankful and enjoy it to the full before AI and autonomous mobility with electric propulsion take all the fun out of it. Just be sure to budget extra for your monthly gas consumption.
Separate from other models, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has a price that makes it the most expensive of its kind. It's currently on sale for $87,650 before a $1,495 destination charge. This means pricing has increased slightly from last year's identical model. However, if you add all the options you can cram into it, you'll end up with a fully loaded model with a cost of over $105,000 including destination.
Reviews of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk are considered separately to other Grand Cherokee models due to its completely different disposition that shuns going off-road in favor of ripping up the tarmac at the drag strip. It is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 motor known as the Hellcat. In this application, it produces a monstrous 707 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. 20-inch wheels, aggressive bodywork, and various black accents and badges help set it apart from more utilitarian models. Thanks to launch control and that insane output, the Trackhawk is capable of accelerating from naught to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, although some independent tests have revealed that it's even quicker in the real world. Keep your foot in it and you'll cover the quarter-mile from standstill in just 11.6 seconds. If you're brave enough, a top speed of 180 mph is possible. Inside, heated and ventilated front seats and a heated, flat-bottomed steering wheel are complemented by dual-zone automatic climate control and heated rear seats. Speaking of the rear, a power tailgate helps you make the most of loading up the cargo area.
Not many packages are available for the 2021 Trackhawk, but you can upgrade the standard suede and Nappa leather seats to Laguna leather for the price of $4,995. However, you cannot spec this package without also ticking the box for the available 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, thus adding another $2,095 to the final price. A rear-seat DVD entertainment system with dual screens is also available to add for $1,995, while a Class IV trailering package can be added for $995.
There's only one trim on offer for the Trackhawk so your choice here comes down to what options are worth including. Considering that this is an almost fully loaded model as standard, and considering that the idea behind the Trackhawk is to offer a performance bargain, we'd avoid tacking on anything. The interior could do with some higher quality materials, but the addition of leather upholstery in a cabin that will remain rather plasticky is a waste of money. We'd splash out on some vibrant paint for $245, but further than that, the regular car is good enough.
Being a part of a corporation like FCA is what has made a vehicle as ridiculous as the Trackhawk possible. If some engineer had suggested a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 Grand Cherokee with over 700 hp before the Hellcat engine was brought into the world, he would have been condemned to a dark corner. However, as much as being part of FCA has made this vehicle possible, it's also opened the door for internal competition in the form of the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat. It uses the same engine and gearbox but with 710 hp, making it the most powerful production SUV. However, the Durango is cheaper with a base price of $80,995 and is more practical for large families with its three-row configuration. This model also gets the availability of a bigger infotainment display with more modern features. In addition, the interior looks more modern. Overall, the Trackhawk will be a little more capable off-road, but for those who don't care about looks or adventuring off the beaten path, the Durango is definitely the better option.
When it comes to fast SUVs, nobody makes them feel more like sports cars than the Germans. The BMW X5 M is one of the best on the market and has a very clever all-wheel-drive system, an even better eight-speed auto than the Trackhawk, and a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 that generates up to 617 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque with the Competition Package. That's a lot less than the Jeep, but in this guise the BMW accelerates almost as quickly, getting to 60 mph just two tenths behind the Trackhawk. Top speed is also comparable, with 177 mph possible. However, while the Trackhawk seems like the obvious choice with a base price well below the X5 M's $105,100, the Bimmer can handle corners brilliantly, is built solidly, and has a truly stunning interior loaded with high-quality materials. In addition, there's no doubt that the BMW badge carries a lot more weight, whether you're in the USA or elsewhere. As a package, the X5 M is far better, but if all you want is accessible acceleration at a relatively affordable price, then the Jeep is the one for you.