by Michael Butler
There was a time in the early 2000s where it seemed that everyone was convinced of the death of big gas-guzzling cars, but fast forward to 2020, and things don't look so bad: sure we have electric cars that will sprint to sixty as fast as some Formula One cars, but we also have 707-horsepower Jeep Grand Cherokees. What a time to be alive. The 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is a breath of octane-tinged air in a market that's already filled with insanely fast SUVs such as the BMW X5 M and Porsche Cayenne Turbo. Still, the Trackhawk, unlike its peers, shies away from a more mature look and comes in guns blazing with an exterior design like something out of a Marvel comic book. With a starting price of over $86,000, the Trackhawk might be expensive for a Jeep, but that price pales in comparison to European rivals such as the supercharged V8 Range Rover Sport, and the Jeep has far more personality. Get in, strap up, and enjoy the feeling of pure freedom.
The Trackhawk hasn't seen any major updates since its debut back in 2018, but it has received a number of minor additions to the standard features list, as well as the list of the available options. For the new decade, Jeep has thought it proper to offer a set of 20-inch Titanium Aluminum wheels and a signature leather-wrapped interior package in Black/Ski Gray. The brutish Trackhawk also gets a new yellow Trackhawk badge on its liftgate, and a single-pane sunroof now becomes standard.
Sure the Trackhawk is a seriously fast performance machine with track aspirations, but even if you threw in a four-cylinder engine under the hood, some people would still buy it purely based on its badass looks. Seriously though, few SUVs have the sheer presence of the Trackhawk, which looks like it wants to punch you in the face even when standing still. Standard features on the 2020 car include an adaptive damping system with Track, Sport, Auto, Snow and Tow Modes, yellow 6-piston front/4-piston rear calipers, big 20-inch Black Satin aluminum wheels, as well as a quad exhaust system with Black chrome tips. Styling features such as body-color wheel flares and side sill cladding, gloss black headlamp bezels, and "Supercharged" badging gives the Trackhawk its intimidating look. Features such as auto-folding side mirrors, remote start, a power liftgate, and rain-sensing windshield wipers provide the Trackhawk with a sense of practicality.
The Trackhawk is a big car; after all, it's based on the regular Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is a full-blooded midsize SUV, but thanks to its big front air dam and flared everything, it seems bigger than the official measurement suggests. Overall length comes in at 189.8 inches, and the Hawk sits on a 114.7-inch wheelbase. Front track width is measured at 65.7 inches, and the rear comes in at 64.8 inches. Overall width with the mirrors included is 84.8 inches, and 76.5 without. Overall height is 67.9 inches at the roof rails, and 70 inches at the antenna. Since it's still an SUV, we thought you'd like to know that the Trackhawk has a load floor height of 32.6 inches and a ground clearance of 8.1 inches. It seems like Jeep hasn't attempted to keep the weight down at all, weighing in at 5,363 pounds, that supercharged V8 engine has to earn its keep.
The cool thing about the Trackhawk's bold exterior styling is the fact that it looks cool in pretty much any color, which is a boon for those who love its flashy nature, but unfortunately, those that want a sleeper-car should look elsewhere. The Trackhawk screams freedom louder than a guy in warpaint screaming freedom at a Monster energy drink-sponsored monster truck championship. The most nondescript color you can go for is also the only no-cost color on offer, which is Bright White. The other white on offer, Ivory Pearl Tricoat, is the most expensive at $595. All other colors will set you back $195 and include Diamond Black Crystal Pearl, Granite Crystal Metallic, Sting-Gray, Billet Silver Metallic, and Slate Blue Pearl. We think it looks awesome in the off-beat Velvet Red Pearl-Coat.
How to anger eco-conscious suburbanites in two steps: mount a Hellcat engine in a Jeep Cherokee SUV, and stomp on the loud pedal until the tires start smoking. Repeat. The Jeep Trackhawk is an unashamedly brutish thing and has more than enough power to match its aggressive styling. With 707 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque under the right foot, the Trackhawk will blow the doors off of most sports cars, and will even give some junior supercars a run for their money. The Trackhawk shrugs off its 5,363 lbs curb weight, rushing to sixty miles per hour in only 3.5 seconds. That's faster than a Ferrari F40, by the way. Out in the real world that 707 hp feels like it's all there; step on the loud pedal and the Trackhawk lunches forward with frantic eagerness. It sure is fun, but it also drains the fuel tank faster than you can say "hey look at my rad Jeep, bro." Put all that power to work, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk will tow 7,200 lbs.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is powered by the same beast of an engine found under the hood of those menacing Dodge cars rocking the Hellcat moniker. What this means is that you get a load of power - heaps of it. Total power output from the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine is a face-murdering 707 hp and a tree-felling 645 lb-ft of torque. This is no ordinary V8 engine: despite its old-school nature it takes a 2.4-liter belt-driven roots style supercharger from IHI that runs at 14,600 rpm and a hair over 11 PSI to produce maximum power. At full tilt, the engine flows 30,000 liters of air per minute, and it sucks 80 hp to drive. That's enough to leave a 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage with negative two horsepower. The Trackhawk sends that power to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission with adaptive electronic control and driver-interactive manual control via an electronically modulated torque converter clutch. Jeep provides the driver with seven drive modes, namely Auto, Sport, Track, Snow, Tow, Eco, and Valet.
Something this big is naturally limited by the laws of physics to not move as fast as, say a Ferrari 488, but the team over at Jeep has sure made a heroic effort to get it close. The 2020 Trackhawk competes with other dedicated performance SUVs such as the BMW X5 M and the blistering Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S, both of which are brutally fast in a straight line, but also convinced in the bends, so can the Trackhawk keep up through the twisties? The answer is yes, and no. While the Trackhawks tauter suspension and chassis setup give it vastly more on-road capability than its more off-road focused siblings, it can't match its German rivals for precision. Instead, the Trackhawk delivers stable and predictable handling that can be enjoyed on twisty roads and on track, but without the level of feedback and pointiness of the Merc or BMW. The electrically assisted steering is quick enough to get the big Jeep facing in the right direction, but lacks feel, and even in its most sporty setting still feels more SUV than sports car. Judging by a recent incident in South Africa where a Trackhawk lost control on an actual track, we'd say stick to the road. One element that stands out is the Brembo brake system that offers excellent feel and massive stopping power.
You think your Corvette gets bad gas mileage? Hold the Trackhawk's beer and let it show you the true meaning of a gas guzzler. Seriously, if you're reading this section of the review with any hope of good news, then you might as well move along. The Trackhark chugs gas better than most, with an EPA-rated number of 11/17/13 mpg city/highway/combined. That's if you're pussy-footing it, but in reality, the sensitive throttle response of the Trackhawk, combined with the emotional intelligence of a sixteen-year-old (let's be honest) will result in numbers so bad, you wouldn't want to even mention it to your muscle car friends. With a 24.6-gallon fuel tank underneath, the Trackhawk will manage a maximum range of about 320 miles.
Jeep is known the world over for building rugged off-road vehicles that not only look rugged from the outside, but look purposefully tough on the inside as well, so it might come as a shock to those used to the utilitarian look and feel of a Wrangler when stepping inside the race-inspired cockpit of a Trackhawk; it's clearly designed to support the Trackhawks road racing aspirations, and we dig it. Not only does it look cool, but it comes with some notable standard features such as dual-zone automatic temperature control, heated and ventilated front seats and heated second-row seats, eight-way power driver and passenger seats, as well as a heated leather, flat-bottomed steering wheel with paddle shifters and a 200 mph speedometer. The Trackhawk also gets performance features such as launch control and customizable driving modes ranging from full-blown drag strip to goat trail.
Don't let buzzwords around the Trackhawk distract you from the fact that at the end of the day, you're still getting behind the wheel of a Jeep Grand Cherokee. What that means is a spacious interior that offers more than enough room to seat five large adults with comfort. Getting in and out of the 'Hawk is easy, thanks to its perfectly lifted step over height, and once inside, the front passengers will fall in love with the comfortable yet supportive seats that are bolstered for fast driving. Headroom in the front is a roomy 39.9 inches, while those in the back get 39.2 inches of space. Legroom is also impressive, with front passengers receiving 40.3 inches of space, while six-footers will be happy with 38.6 inches in the rear. Shoulder room is 58.7/58 inches front to rear, and the hip room comes in at 57/56.2 front to rear.
Far from being a stripped-out racing machine, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk wraps its occupants in opulent luxury, with a wide range of materials and colors, all selected to make you feel like a straight Boss. The first thing you notice when you step inside the cabin is the well-appointed touchpoints; the leather, flat-bottomed steering wheel with paddle shifters falls nicely to hand, and the leather-stitched upper door trim, instrument panel and a center armrest that comes with the Signature Leather Interior package feel like it belongs in a premium German car. The rest of the cabin features trim details, which include Iridium Silver, and Light Black Chrome metal accents. Seat upholstery options include ventilated Laguna leather with Tungsten accent stitching, and Nappa leather trim and ventilated Suede.
Above all else, the Trackhawk is still a midsize SUV, which means it offers lots of space to carry piles of protective gear for your budding MMA career. It still blows us away that in 2020 you can have a 700-plus-horsepower SUV that's still completely practical. Behind the second row of seats, the Trackhawk offers a roomy 36.3 cubic feet of trunk space, which is slightly less than you get in the BMW X5 M at 33.9 ft³, and the Land Rover Range Rover Sport V8 Supercharged SVR, which offers 27.5 ft³. Fold down the rear seats, and the Trackhawk offers a useful 68.3 cubes of space, once again beating the BMW and Range Rover. Small items get stored in the center console storage bin, skinny door pockets, or in the front glove box. Those in the rear get a handy set of seatback pockets.
Sitting at the top of the Grand Cherokee lineup has its perks; not only is the Trackhawk the most powerful, but it gets the most love in terms of features. The Trackhawk is privy to exclusive performance packages that add active noise cancellation, customizable drive modes, and launch control, as well as a 200-mph speedometer. The driver and front passenger get eight-way power-adjustable front seats with heating and ventilation, while rear passengers get heated seats. Dual-zone automatic climate control keeps things temperate, and an optional dual-pane panoramic sunroof lets in the light. Exterior features worth noting include those Brembo performance brakes with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, as well as a power liftgate. Standard driver assistance features abound: The PROTECH One and Two safety packages include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, a ParkSense rear park assist system with brake assist, as well as forward collision warning with active braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning with lane-keep assist.
The Trackhawk gets a standard 8.4-inch infotainment display that mounts in between the two central air vents. This system is controlled by Uconnect software, and it doesn't do a bad job of most ordinary tasks, although it doesn't look as crisp as its German competitors. Standard features for 2020 include industry standards such as Apple Carplay and Android Auto integration, HD radio, and SiriusXM satellite radio with a one-year trial subscription. Integrated navigation also comes standard with SiriusXM Traffic Plus services for five years. The Bluetooth system comes with integrated voice recognition that gets it right most of the time. The standard sound system is a capable Premium Alpine system with nine speakers and a built-in subwoofer. Blasting Speedwolf's self-titled track Speedwolf will get anyone in the mood for driving fast. For those who want to go even louder, Jeep offers a 19-speaker Harman Kardon system that'll blow you away.
The good news is that the Jeep Grand Cherokee range hasn't had a single recall in 2019 or 2020, but 2018 saw six recalls issued for the range, with one affecting the Trackhawk. In October of 2018, certain Trackhawk vehicles were recalled for a defect that could see the accelerator become trapped on the floor - not good if you have 707 hp on tap. Jeep will back the Trackhawk with a basic three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, which includes a five-year/unlimited-mile corrosion warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile drivetrain warranty, and five years, or 60,000 miles of roadside assistance.
It might have illusions of being a full-blown track weapon, but at the end of the day, the Trackhawk will be spending most of its time carting around families and their stuff. For this reason, Jeep has made sure that the Trackhawk still offers a safe driving experience. Having been tested by both the NHTSA and the IIHS, we get a good idea of how safe this beast actually is. The NHTSA gave the Trackhawk a full five out of five stars on their rating scale, but the IIHS was less impressed. The IIHS rates this Jeep's small overlap collision rating at below average and its headlights suffer the same fate. The IIHS gives the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee range an overall score that falls below competitors such as the BMW X5 M. Oh dear.
The IIHS might not be overly impressed by its overall safety rating, but the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk does come with a pile of standard safety features. Heads are kept intact by seven airbags, including advanced multistage driver and front passenger, side-curtain, supplemental front-seat side, and driver's knee bolster airbags. Standard active driver assistance features include forward collision warning with active braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-path detection, adaptive cruise control, as well as lane departure warning with lane keep assist, and a rear park assist system with brake assist.
It becomes difficult to judge a car when it starts to blur the lines between high-performance muscle car, accomplished cruiser, and practical daily driver. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk excels in all those fields, and we appreciate its jack-of-all-trades approach to performance SUV motoring. The exterior styling is brilliant and doesn't try in the slightest to disguise the Trackhawks performance ambitions. Under the hood, that Hellcat-sourced supercharged V8 does more than talk, it rips up the road like little else, and is the crowning feature of this car. On the road, it feels comfortable enough for long-distance cruising but doesn't feel out of place on the track, despite not being as sharp as its German rivals. The interior is sporty and flush with premium materials and features. The Trackhawk is a Grand Cherokee at the end of the day, which means you get ample interior and trunk space, which is a boon for those with daily driving in mind. On paper, this car might seem ridiculous, and trust us, it is, but beneath its wild facade lies a practical workhouse that can still get the job done.
One thing is certain; you're going to have to pay for the privilege of driving the fastest Jeep Grand Cherokee ever made. The not-so-slow, and rather plush Grand Cherokee SRT starts at a serious $68,395, excluding tax, registration, and a destination fee of $1,495, but to get behind the wheel of the Trackhawk, you'll have to find an extra $18,505 for a grand total of $86,900. That's a hard pill to swallow, especially when you consider the fact that no options have been added yet. On the other hand, it will cost you an eye-watering $105,100 to drive away in a 2020 BMW X5 M or $114,500 for a Range Rover Sport Supercharged V8 SVR.
The Trackhawk is a standalone model in the Jeep Grand Cherokee range, and is only available in one loud and fast trim. What separates the Trackhawk from the rest of the range is not only the fact that it makes 707 hp, but it has numerous updates that turn it into a convincing road weapon. Underneath the Trackhawk you'll find an upgraded TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, regenerative performance brakes with yellow six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, as well as a Quadra-Trac on-demand 4WD system and an electronic limited-slip rear differential. Its 20-inch black satin wheels and unique front and rear fascias make sure that no one mistakes it for a base model car. Inside, the driver and front passenger get heated and ventilated bucket seats with eight-way power adjustability and other features such as dual-zone climate control, a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel, a 200 mph speedo, an 8.4-inch infotainment display with SiriusXM satellite radio, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Standard driver assistance features include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
6.2-liter Supercharged V8 Gas
The highest-ranking Grand Cherokee on the market comes with a good amount of standard features, but there's always room for improvement, right? Jeep offers a bunch of optional packages mainly aimed at increasing comfort levels, and they aren't the cheapest. The Signature Leather-Wrapped Interior package adds a set of Laguna leather performance seats and leather-wrapped lower panels for $4,995. That banging 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system will set you back $2,095, and the rear DVD entertainment center with Blu-Ray compatible dual screen video will cost you $1,995. Individual options and accessories include a dual-pane panoramic sunroof for $2,095, a single disc remote cd player for $495, or why not paint your roof black for $2,100?
Since there is only one model on offer, the choice is made simple; however, there is always the options list to turn to for some added individuality. If we were the ones doing the buying, we'd spec it as follows: the exterior of our Trackhawk would be plastered in Velvet Red Pearl Coat, and we'd also get the 20-inch Titanium alloy wheels. Keeping with the sporty feel of the exterior, we'd get the roof painted black. Inside we'd get the Laguna performance seats in black and add the panoramic sunroof. The $2,095 Harman Kardon sound system would also make its way inside. With all that said and done, our Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk would end up costing us a serious $96,775.
As far as fast Jeeps go, the SRT sits right below the Trackhawk. Beneath the bulging hood of the SRT lies a 6.4-liter V8 engine that spits 475 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque in the face of hot hatchbacks. With all that power, the SRT will leap to sixty in only 4.3 seconds. That's a far way off the Trackhawk's 3.5 seconds, but it is still blistering for a midsize SUV. The SRT is more fuel-efficient than the Hawk, but not by much, and it is just as fun to drive around town, although it doesn't have the same impact when you mash the accelerator. The SRT is also less composed on the limit and is best thought of as a fast cruiser than a fast road car. The interior layout is obviously similar in design, but the material options are more limited. Cargo space is also a match with the Trackhawk. We like the SRT's impressive off-road capability and above-average towing capability, but we thought that some interior materials felt cheaper. The SRT offers a more balanced overall, especially considering its off-road capability, and should be easier to live with than the Trackhawk, and at a discounted price. For that reason, we'd get the SRT.
Millions around the world spat out their single-shot espressos in disgust when they first heard that Italian supercar legends Lamborghini were to build an SUV. Sure they made a Hummer-looking thing way back when, but that was a once-off thing right? Since then, emotions have calmed, and some have actually garnered a certain affection for what is now known as the Urus. This crossover SUV monstrosity is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 producing a considerable 641 hp and 626 lb-ft of torque and will, according to independent testing, dip below the three-second zero to sixty mark when the launch is perfectly nailed. That's insane. We are impressed with the fact that it can actually do the offroad thing, plus the fact that you get to experience a seriously quick Lamborghini with three other people. The interior is a stunning display of Italian flair and German-built quality, but the exterior styling is debatable. You don't get the same interior space as in the Jeep, and on top of it all, you're going to be paying well over $100k more for the Urus. The price tag alone makes the Trackhawk the winner here.