What We Learned From Driving the Fastest SUV Ever

As soon as Jeep announced they were building the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, the rumors started swirling, and we figured it’d be monumental.

Why? Well, mostly because it was said to be inspired by the 707-horspepower Dodge Challenger Hellcat. The official unveiling of the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk in April at the New York Auto Show, where we got our first real insight on the vehicle, essentially confirmed much of the speculation. And yet, nothing prepares you for what it’s like to take the wheel of the new supercharged SUV.

Now that we’ve had a chance to catch our breath from the chest-pounding experience, here are five of our biggest takeaways from the drive.

Jeep Thrills Aren’t Limited to Hills

Typically, when you think of a Jeep with unparalleled capabilities, you think of a vehicle like the Wrangler tackling steep inclines on some seemingly, impassable rugged off-road terrain. The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is a much more radical take on the idea of performance capabilities in a Jeep that has a top track speed of 180 mph and a 0 – 60 mph time of 3.5 seconds flat.

Numbers Never Tell the Whole Story

Although, most of the buzz around the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has been centered on its 707-horsepwoer supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine, that only begins to tap what it’s like to drive the new Jeep. What’s even more impressive, is how well balanced the SUV is on the track, which makes the experience even more thrilling behind the wheel.

A Rocket Ship Would be Fun

Of all the Trackhawk’s performance features, the one that sticks out the most is the Jeep’s Launch Control system. When engaged, the high-tech system gives the Jeep an insanely fast start off the line, akin to a jet taking off from the runway. But Erich Heuschele, Manager, SRT Engineering, probably sums it up best when he says, “This thing is, snap-your-neck, throw you back in your seat right off the line.”

Subtlety Has Its Perks

At first glance, some might be inclined to think that the exterior design of the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is a bit misleading, considering all that power it packs under the hood. But after learning that every design element of the Jeep was intended to enhance its overall performance, you quickly realize that subtlety has it perks as well.

Money Is What You Make of It

With a base price of $85,900, the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is far from cheap. In fact, in addition to being the most powerful Jeep, the SUV also ranks as the most expensive production Jeep ever made. However, when you consider that some of the Trackhawk’s chief competitors cost $100K or more, it becomes clear the 707-horsepower Jeep is actually a steal, given its capabilities.