Road Test: The loud and proud Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
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There is nothing subtle about Jeep’s Grand Cherokee Trackhawk: it’s the most expensive SUV for the brand, it’s the most powerful — and it’s easy to state — the loudest.
The all-new Grand Cherokee Trackhawk takes the mantel of “halo” product for Jeep after the much-touted Wrangler Trailhawks that saw the product literally climb rocks.
But for the Trackhawk, it’s all about speed, with a big wallop of four-wheel drive pedigree thrown in.
It also has Jeep’s Quadra-Trac 4WD system that includes electronic limited-slip rear diff meaning it’s more than capable when you hit the dirt.
But if you had to hit the tarmac there is launch control that co-ordinates the Trackhawk’s engine, eight-speed transmission, driveline and suspension for a straight-line power play.
It also has five dynamic settings: auto, sport, track, snow and tow; plus new high-performance Brembo braking systems with the 20in forged polished alloy wheels.
But all of this doesn’t come cheap.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is priced from $169,990, making it the most expensive product for the brand and also seeing it compete against European brands’ SUVs.
It’s also one of the loudest SUVs on the planet.
There is no “quiet” mode nor can you reduce the noise from the dual exhausts.
It’s loud and proud — and is capable of scaring people. Or at least making them angry.
After starting the whopping 6.2-litre engine — and waking all my immediate neighbours plus setting my dog off barking — I headed to the end of my suburb road to turn left onto the main drag. But a pedestrian with a determined stride wasn’t going to let rush hour traffic stop her route so she stepped in front on my oncoming SUV.
I stopped the extremely large Jeep and let the angry walker go ahead. But as she stepped behind a car turning right at the give way, I tapped the accelerator and the Trackhawk’s roar came forth so she turned back to me and told me to “flock off” — or some such words.
And I loved it. Apart from Determined Walker, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk garnered respect on the road. Not only for its seriously intimidating front grille and large bonnet but also the pedigree that comes from the Grand Cherokee.
The model lineup is Jeep New Zealand’s top seller thanks to its towing capacity and off-road ability.
Around town the Trackhawk is as subtle as one of Khaleesi’s dragons but hit the motorway and you have the almighty force of that engine.
Overtaking is a breeze, with plenty of power left under the bonnet. But that acceleration comes at a price — at the petrol pump. As you hit the gas, you can almost see the fuel gauge needle go down, and with official fuel consumption of 16.8l/100km the every day use is more in the 20s.
Okay, what really assists with outside sound reduction is standard active noise cancelling headliner of the roof of the cabin.
There is a 7in driver info display instrument cluster with the tachometer in the middle while the speedo is on the left.
The Trackhawk also gets a three-spoke, flat bottom steering wheels with paddle shifters, great for handling the Jeep when you’re going at speed around tight corners.
The Trackhawk is more than just an everyday SUV, it’s a racecar in disguise that can take on the track and offroad.
JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE TRACKHAWK
6.2-LITRE, V8 (527KW/874NM)