These 5 American SUVs Deserve High-Power Models With Big V8s


Here are five SUVs you could take on the Jeep Trackhawk with.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is going to be nutty. As in a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that makes over 700 horsepower nutty.Now the SUV weighs in at up to 5,100 pounds, which is a lot. But if the Challenger atabout 500 pounds less can do the quarter mile in just under 11 seconds thenthe Trackhawk has a decent shot at posting some impressive times as well. With a V8 like that, setting records is going to be important. It makes one wonder: What if every American car company gave an SUV itsbiggest and baddest power plant?

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For the Jeep Wrangler, let’s just drop in the Hellcat. Why not? Jeep already did just that so it's not like this is the craziest idea ever. The Grand Cherokee weighs up to 5,000pounds, while the Wrangler is as skinny as 3,800 pounds. Couple thatbeautiful number with 707 horsepower and that’s a big deal. With 4WD, proper gearing and at 700 pounds lighter than the Challenger Hellcat, theJeep Wrangler Hellcat could shave the muscle car's quarter-mile time of 10.85 seconds down to something closer to light speed. OK, probably not light speed. But it could mean a Wrangler that’s fasterthan a Challenger.

As it stands the Lincoln MKC comes with either a turbocharged EcoBoost 2.0-liter inline-four with 240 horsepower or a 2.3-liter EcoBoostengine with 280 horses. The displacement difference is based on FWD or AWD.That’s all well and good, but what about an engine that delivers 400horsepower? Lincoln is putting into the MKZ its very own 3.0-liter twin-turboV6 engine rated at 400 horsepower. With the MKC weighing up to 4,000 pounds you can bet it won’t need any sort of chassisreinforcement to handle the extra power. It wouldn't be too quick for drag racing, but with AWD it could become a refined track animal.

How about the new GMC Terrain? It already comes with a3.6-liter V6 engine. It’s even got more power to start than the MKC, about 300 horses worth.So how could the Terrain be improved upon under the hood? Well it is a GMC, so dropping in the 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 that currently belongs to the Sierra 2500HD makes a lot of sense. Itdoesn’t make much sense that the most powerful option for such a behemoth is adiesel, though. Most of the time, with trucks anyway, the regular gasoline V8s havemore horsepower than a diesel option, but we’re not here to argue. It does havea turbocharger after all. With the proper gearing, burnouts would be not only possible but probable.

Chevy’s Traverse is next up. It looks like a cozy SUV and comeswith a 3.6-liter V6 engine producing 285 horsepower. The thing weighs up toalmost 5,000 pounds though, so it could use a little extra juice. Nothing thenew Corvette ZR1 engine couldn’t handle. That of course means a superchagred, 6.2-liter V8 good for 650 hp. Ideally this setup would grant the Traverse proper (crazy) highway passing speed, plus it would be awesome to be able to say you have anSUV with a Corvette engine. In stock guise, the Traverse, with its 285 horsepower, can do the quarter mile in an abysmal 15 seconds, but that 650 horsepower from the ZR1 engine should help it out. Why not throw in AWD as well and create a mini Hellcat-SUV challenger?

Ford’s Explorer is another beast that is just far too low onpower for its size. A high-powered version of this would be complete with anynumber of Mustang engines. That includes the Mustang GT's 5.0-liter V8 with 430horsepower, or perhaps the new GT350's 526-horsepower naturally aspirated V8. Amore interesting option could be the Powerstroke 6.7-liter turbo diesel.It packs only 440 horsepower but makes a whopping 860 lb-ft of torque. The Mustangoptions would be more conventional, but a big and powerful diesel could be morefun.