Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk: The Hellcat Powered Jeep The World Deserved - SUV VEHICLE

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk: The Hellcat Powered Jeep The World Deserved


Summary

  • Jeep introduced the high-performance Trackhawk, a practical family car with 707 horsepower, making it the most powerful SUV on the market.
  • The Trackhawk boasts a Hellcat engine, allowing it to easily hit 0-60 MPH in 3.4 seconds with the added bonus of all-wheel drive for better traction.
  • Discounted to around $90,000, the Trackhawk remains the most affordable high-performance SUV, offering speed and power at a lower cost.



SUVs are all the rage now and almost every major automaker has an SUV or multiple SUVs in their fleet serving different purposes. This is the case for Jeep as their current lineup is strictly made up of SUVs, from crossovers to full-size luxury SUVs. The iconic Wrangler is still around and still serves Jeep’s off-roading community. Jeep decided to make a high-performance version that could compete with some of the best-performance SUVs in the world.

Jeep gave the world one of the fastest and most powerful SUVs in the world. It was powered by a familiar engine we all know and love. This served as Jeep’s answer to its performance division and it was a hit. It was menacing, fast, practical, and affordable, just like many American performance cars. Jeep knew exactly what we wanted and gave us the Hellcat-powered SUV we didn’t know we deserved.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources, including Jeep, Motortrend, Dodge, and Hennessey Performance.


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The Trackhawk Is Based On the Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep wanted to make a performance SUV to compete with the likes of Porsche and BMW with the Cayenne and X5. The answer was the Jeep SRT-8 based on the third-gen Grand Cherokee, which was the first high-performance SUV built by the SRT department. They were also responsible for working on the Dodge Viper. Jeep’s SRT-8 was powered by a 6.1-liter Hemi pushing 420 horsepower along with other mechanical changes needed for a performance SUV. It was the second fastest accelerating SRT vehicle and was only bested by the Dodge Viper.


The fourth-gen Grand Cherokee went on sale in 2011 and while it had an SRT model, there was an even higher performance model. Jeep introduced the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk in 2018, and it became the highest-performance Jeep available. It had the same upgraded equipment found on the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT model but swapped the 6.4 liter Hemi V-8 for a 6.2 liter supercharged V-8 producing 707 horsepower. It is by far the most powerful and fastest Jeep ever made.

Why The TrackHawk Is Special

Jeep took an unusual route with this vehicle since it doesn’t align with the vehicles Jeep has been known to build. Jeep was originally known to build off-road vehicles like the Wrangler, but by the 90s they started expanding their lineup to include family SUVs. Once the 2000s came around, SUVs became more popular, and Jeep expanded its lineup to include almost all forms of SUV available. From compact crossovers to full-size luxury SUVs, they had an SUV for the masses, but they weren’t exciting except if you were going off-road.


This was the role of the Trackhawk, and it aimed at other high-performance SUVs and quickly became one of the fastest SUVs on the planet. There were also a lot of extensive and mechanical changes made to give Trackhawk the performance it needed and the menacing looks to back it up. But here’s the best part about the Trackhawk, all that power is available to you at a starting price of around $90,000 which is a steal for other high-performance SUVs that cost double with even less horsepower. It is the most affordable high-performance SUV.

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Exterior Design Changes For The Trackhawk

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
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The fourth-gen Jeep Grand Cherokee was already a good-looking vehicle, so it wasn’t so hard for Jeep to make the high-performance version look even better. The headlights and taillights are the same, but the other body parts were redesigned to have a more aggressive look. Its front bumper was redesigned to have a more aggressive look. They got rid of the fog lights on the standard car, made the bumper lower, and integrated bigger openings for better cooling. There’s also a noticeable hood bulge to hint at the powerful engine underneath.

The side profile is identical to the regular Grand Cherokee and at the rear, it gets very aggressive. Although much hasn’t changed, the new diffuser is very aggressive with the new quad tailpipes. Every exterior chrome accent on the Regular Grand Cherokee was blacked out which added to the overall sporty look of the vehicle. It also sits a few inches lower and is also a few inches wider with the addition of slightly wider fender flares to fit the new wider wheels and tire setup. The Trackhawk wasn’t overstyled and the subtle changes go a long way to make it look much better.


It Is Still A Practical Family Car

When cars get more luxurious or faster, there tends to be some sort of compromise to the vehicle’s practicality. Things like bucket seats or individual captain’s chairs, center console fridges, etc. all eat up some interior and cargo capacity in the car. The Trackhawk maintains its seating and cargo capacity just like the regular SUV.

Its interior is pretty much unchanged, you can seat five people comfortably and carry a good amount of luggage. The main difference here is that you have the practicality of a regular midsize SUV but the speed of some of the fastest sports cars in the world. However, the biggest change you’ll notice is the declining fuel economy, which is directly related to the new engine.

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The First Hellcat Powered SUV

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk engine
Jeep


Engine Specifications

Engine

Supercharged V-8

Displacement

6.2 liters

Power

707 horsepower

Torque

645 pounds-feet

Transmission

Eight-speed automatic

Drivetrain

All-wheel drive

0-60 MPH

3.4 seconds

Top Speed

180 MPH


Before Dodge came out with its own Hellcat SUV, which is now known as the Dodge Durango Hellcat, Jeep beat them to it. The 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 that sits under the hood of the Trackhawk is the same engine used in the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat. It was the only other OEM vehicle at the time to make use of the Hellcat engine. It made the same power figures as the Dodge Hellcat vehicles and used the same eight-speed automatic transmission. But the Trackhawk had a big advantage when it came to putting power on the ground.

The Dodge Hellcat vehicles have all been rear-wheel drive with that massive power. They always struggle to put the power down. Jeep’s Trackhawk had an all-wheel drive system which made sure all 707 horses made it to the pavement with almost no wheel spin. This allows the Trackhawk to consistently hit its 0-60 MPH time of 3.4 seconds almost every time. While the hellcat has a claimed 60 time of 3.7 seconds, it usually does that in the four-second range since it struggles to put the power down unless it’s on a prepped surface. So Jeep ended up making the fastest accelerating Hellcat-powered vehicle to date.


Being a Hellcat-powered SUV also makes it easy for modifications since these engines are known to easily make over 1000 horsepower. With a few upgrades, you can have more power with this beast and the all-wheel drive system will make sure you put that power down. Dodge saw how popular this platform was and decided to make a Hellcat-powered SUV of their own.

Dodge Made Their Hellcat SUV Later

With much success from the Charger/Challenger line, lots of Hellcat swapped vehicles, and 1000+ horsepower Trackhawks, Dodge decided to stick the Hellcat engine in an SUV of their own. The Durango Hellcat came in 2021, which was three years after the Trackhawk had already been on sale. It used an updated version of the Hellcat engine which gave it slightly more power at 710 horsepower but the same Torque figure. It also used the cheat code that the Trackhawk had, which was the all-wheel drive system.


These updates allowed the Durango Hellcat to slightly out-accelerate the Trackhawk, which is impressive for a bigger SUV. But Dodge simply looked at how good the Trackhawk was and improved on those aspects to make it better. But although it never wore the Hellcat badge, the Trackhawk is still considered the first Hellcat SUV.

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The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Was The Most Powerful SUV In The World

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
Jeep

Many SUVs are just as powerful as sports cars these days. With the 2024 lineup of super SUVs, it is not uncommon for them to make 650+ horsepower. The most powerful Combustion engine SUVs make over 700 horsepower, but the Trackhawk was way ahead of the pack. In 2018, when the Trackhawk was launched, it was the most powerful SUV at the time and remained so during its production run. It was discontinued in 2021 when the Durango Hellcat was launched, but that only makes 3 horsepower more. It may not be in production anymore, but it is still one of the fastest and most powerful SUVs on the used market.


There are only two other high-performance SUVs that are more powerful right now, and that’s the Durango Hellcat with the same engine and the new Ferrari Purosangue. The more powerful ones are either hybrid-assisted or fully electric. It is still the second most powerful supercharged SUV on sale, which makes it special since there aren’t many of those around.

Most Powerful SUVs Ever Made

High-performance SUVs are all the rage now, especially with the huge demand for SUVs. These are the most 10 powerful SUVs ever and only two of them make use of superchargers. Even the Lamborghini Urus doesn’t make this list:

  • Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid – 670 Horsepower
  • Cadillac Escalade V – 682 Horsepower
  • Aston Martin DBX 707 – 697 Horsepower
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk – 707 Horsepower
  • Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat – 710 Horsepower
  • Ferrari Purosangue – 715 Horsepower
  • BMW XM Label Red – 738 Horsepower
  • Hummer EV SUV – 830 Horsepower
  • Rivian R1S – 835 Horsepower
  • Tesla Model X Plaid – 1,020 Horsepower




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