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, but it’s also 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. In 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 of the growing clan of Hellcat-powered models.
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.
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.