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- Highs Acceleration induces gasps and laughs, doesn’t skimp on standard features, can tow and tackle snow—unlike the Hellcat Charger and Challenger.
- Lows Stiff ride diminishes refinement, no massaging seats, all-wheel drive prevents smoky burnouts.
- Verdict The Trackhawk harasses the world’s priciest and sportiest SUVs with its unique brand of loudness and quickness.
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is an expletive-inducing thrill ride that would have gotten Clark Griswold and family to Wally World a lot sooner while still doubling Sparky’s swears. With a 707-hp supercharged Hellcat V-8 under the hood, it’s not only the most powerful Jeep ever built, it’s one of the most powerful SUVs in the world. While the Trackhawk can’t keep up with most sports cars at the racetrack, it can outrun some of the best of them in a straight line. Now, it does cost roughly three times as much as a base Grand Cherokee Laredo but its prodigious performance makes its almost $90K price tag look like it’s from the clearance section compared with the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S. Despite its extroverted exterior and roaring exhaust note, the 2021 Grand Cherokee Trackhawk isn’t all fire and brimstone. If fact, it has a leather-covered cabin, all the latest technology, useful cargo space, and the ability to tow 7200 pounds. What more could we ask for? Well, a 797-hp Redeye version would be pretty rad.
What’s New for 2021?
The Trackhawk enters 2021 without any changes whatsoever. However, it now features corporate competition from the new 710-hp Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat. While the 702-hp Ram 1500 TRX is geared toward the off-road crowd, it’s another member in the growing clan of Hellcat-powered models.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
While the ultimate Grand Cherokee is awesome, its startling starting price is about $19,000 more than the 475-hp SRT version. The Trackhawk’s window sticker can even crest $105,000 if you check all the option boxes. Still, that’s a bargain compared with the cost of its extra-expensive rivals. Sure, it’s missing their refinement and reputation, but the max Jeep has a rep of its own and can go head to head with a $134,000 GLE63 S at the drag strip. ‘Merica! Needless to say, we’d swipe right for the Trackhawk. The only options we’d add are the Pirelli P Zero tires for max performance and the tow package for max towing capability.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Trackhawk is the hottest thing ever to wear a Jeep badge. Its Hellcat engine has mind-blowing acceleration and a soundtrack that raises a metaphorical middle finger to local noise ordinances. Its 707 horsepower is 10 less than the regular Hellcat-powered Challenger and Charger, and the Jeep’s more restrictive exhaust system decreases torque by 5 lb-ft (645 total). The difference is negligible, and the Trackhawk’s all-wheel-drive traction allowed the Jeep to virtually teleport to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. The ‘Hawk’s throttle was so responsive that we didn’t dare mat the pedal around town. Its instantaneous nature was saved for long straightaways that quickly felt short. While the BMW X5 M and the GLE63 S have even higher cornering limits, the Trackhawk still has respectable, stable handling that can be exploited on twisty back roads and highway ramps—and it wouldn’t be totally out of its element on a racetrack. The electrically assisted steering system felt quick enough, but the thick-rimmed wheel didn’t relay as much road information as we’d like. Its Brembo brake calipers (six-piston front and four-piston rear) hauled the Trackhawk down from 70 mph in 168 feet. While its brake pedal felt firm and responsive during daily use, that distance is merely average among similar high-performance crossovers.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Do you care a lot about fuel economy? Then don’t invest in the Trackhawk. Its insatiable thirst for fuel is made obvious by its low EPA estimates of 11 mpg city and 17 mpg highway, not to mention its unspectacular results in our real-world testing. The 707-hp beast has even worse government ratings than the Grand Cherokee SRT, which is no surprise. Still, both versions were the least efficient vehicles compared with similar alternatives. The Trackhawk matched its 17-mpg highway estimate on our 200-mile test circuit. Too bad its competitors were between 3 and 5 mpg better. For more information about the Trackhawk’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
If the Trackhawk’s extroverted exterior wasn’t proof enough, its racy interior further proves that this Jeep prefers racetracks and twisty roads to rocky trails. Inside, its ample passenger accommodations are highlighted by front seats that comfort and support, especially when tracking the ‘Hawk. Although the smooth leather on top of the dashboard and door panels make for luxurious touches compared with the rubberized material used on cheaper Grands, the carryover switchgear and inconsistent panel gaps remind us that true luxury is reserved for premium-brand alternatives. Its aggressive bodywork and powertrain set your heart to pounding, but it also inherits the cargo space and interior cubby storage from the regular Grand Cherokee range. This means similar carry-on capacity and the same limited number of places to secure small items so they don’t go ballistic when the driver decides to drop the hammer and defy the laws of physics.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee has an 8.4-inch touchscreen that blends into the dash. The infotainment system—called Uconnect—includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE mobile Wi-Fi as standard. For extra coin, it can be equipped with a 19-speaker, 825-watt Harman/Kardon stereo system and a rear-seat entertainment setup.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
View Crash Test Results
This ferocious SUV is fitted with an array of standard driver-assistance technology, such as automatic high-beams, lane-departure warning, and self-parking assist. While this technology adds convenience and protection, it doesn’t make the high-priced family hauler any cheaper. For more information about the Trackhawk’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Jeep has a shorter limited warranty compared with its competitors, but it provides the best powertrain protection. The company also provides all 2021 models with three years of free maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Three years of complimentary scheduled maintenance is included
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED: $90,880 (base price: $86,995)
ENGINE TYPE: supercharged and intercooled pushrod 16-valve V-8, iron block and aluminum heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 376 cu in, 6166 cc
Power: 707 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 645 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Wheelbase: 114.7 in
Length: 189.8 in
Width: 76.5 in Height: 67.9 in
Passenger volume: 106 cu ft
Cargo volume: 36 cu ft
Curb weight: 5258 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 3.5 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 8.8 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 24.4 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 3.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.0 sec @ 115 mph
Top speed (drag limited, mfr’s claim): 180 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 168 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.89 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY:
75-mph highway driving: 17 mpg
Highway range: 418 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY:
Combined/city/hwy: 13/11/17 mpg
More Features and Specs
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