Words: Don Cheng
Photography: Don Cheng
Published: April 19, 2017
Since the first CJs hit the road, the iconic Jeep grill has woven itself into the fabric of American culture. The company’s long-standing history producing trail-capable vehicles extends almost as high as the very hills their cars climb.
Jeep’s Grand Cherokee sits at the tippy top of the brand’s line-up, offering a blend of luxury with minimal sacrifice to off-road performance. As if to underscore that point, Jeep’s launched a Trailhawk version too. Much like the Cherokee Trailhawk, these Trail Rated Grand Cherokees get a host of standard features to optimize its performance while on the road less travelled.
Visually, the already handsome Grand Cherokee stays largely the same. Add in a set of anti-glare hood stripes, special red accented Trailhawk/Trailrated badges, and like it’s Cherokee little brother, a set of red tow-hooks that protrude from the front valence like tiny bloodthirsty fangs.
The changes aren’t just skin deep though. After all, what good is a Jeep if it can’t cut it when the going gets tough? To address this, Jeep has outfitted the SUV with its Quadra-Drive II 4x4 system and a rear electronic limited slip differential for both the V6 and V8 powertrain options. Also standard is the Quadra-Lift air suspension that has been re-tuned specifically for the Grand Cherokee. Skid plates come standard to protect the belly of the beast, as does a set of unique 18-inch wheels. A 20-inch wheel option shod with kevlar reinforced Goodyear Adventure off-road tires is available for those who want maximum out-of-the-box capability.
Inside, the Jeep stays true to its place in the product line-up, offering a pragmatic take on luxury that can handle the rough bumps of an adventure vehicle. Thus, you won’t find trim accents made of wood or suede headliners like other premium off-roading vehicles, though Jeep does have the Summit trim, which offer more niceties.
Instead, you’ll see a set of leather and suede performance seats (found in other SRT offerings from the automaker) with red-contrast stitching, and gun metal and black trim coloured highlights that match the exterior. The real piece de resistance is the new off-road application in the 8.4-inch U-Connect system that displays wheel articulation, vehicle altitude, and other integral telemetry.
Hop in the wide-bolstered (insert joke about American Dietary conditions here) seats, push the engine start/stop button and the familial 5.7L Hemi V8 fires to life. Unlike other vehicles equipped with this Hemi – notably the Dodge Challenger R/T – this particular application starts with little fanfare.
A slight burble in the exhaust note, and the V8 settles down into an idle that’s unmistakably V8 – 360 horses and 390 lb-ft of torque now rest under your right foot. Tip in on the throttle and the car moves with enthusiasm. It’s a heavy-set vehicle, all it takes is one turn and it’s immediately apparent the sheer size and weight of the truck. It rolls and yaws, yet somehow remains comfortable for occupants. The air suspension does an admirable job in soaking up the bumps and potholes in the road.
Push the car a bit more to get on the highway and cabin noise remains at an acceptable minimum - thanks in part to the all-terrain tires. I suspect however, opting for the 20-inch Goodyear Adventure tires would introduce a lot more NVH into the cabin.
When the going gets tough, simply grab the knob on the Selec-Terrain Management System and switch the car into one of the following preset modes – snow, sand, rock, or mud – and the car Quadra-Trac II 4x4 system will take care of the guesswork for you. Frankly though, there’s rarely any situation on the public roads that would require the Selec-Terrain knob to be moved from the Auto position, but when an unexpected snow storm hits, it’s nice to flick the switch into Snow and power past the unprepared plebs.
When you finally reach your destination and find all the good spots have been taken, push the Up button beside the Selec-Terrain knob to activate the Quadra-Lift air-suspension to do exactly that… lift the vehicle by as much as 274 mm. Then, crawl your way onto the nearest snowbank and disembark.
At an as-tested price of $68,680, this Cherokee sure is Grand. The sticker starts at $57,495 and goes up from there. Most of the mechanical essentials for you to enjoy an adventure in the woods come standard. Opting for the 5.7L V8 immediately adds $2,400 to the price tag.
Our tester however was equipped with a few extra goodies including a Luxury Group ($2,995) that adds dual-pane panoramic sunroofs, rain-sensing windshield wipers, bi-xenon HID headlamps, and automatic leveling headlights. A rear DVD entertainment centre (featuring two 9-inch screens) further adds $2,150 to the sticker. A $1,495 Active Safety Group with lane departure/lane keep assists, parallel park assist, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control ups the ante. Final pieces of the build include Mopar Rock Rails ($1,195), GPS navigation ($700), and blind spot detection ($500).
If it were my dime, I’d skip the rear DVD entertainment centre and keep the rest, resulting in a vehicle that offers all of the safety features you’d need in a daily driver, serious off-road capabilities for the off-beaten path, and tremendous amount of value. For $69,000 you’re looking at a fully-loaded SUV with out-of-the-box trail-tackling pedigree that few manufacturers can offer – one of them is the Range Rover Sport, which starts at a cool $8,000 above the price of this Trailhawk. The other? Well, it’s the Grand Cherokee’s little brother.
型号 Model: 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk
顏色 Paint Type: Redline Pearl
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $57,245
試車售價 Price as Tested: $70,575
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,915
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,822 / 1,943 / 1,761
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2,238
引擎 Engine: 5.7L V8 Hemi
最大馬力 Horsepower: 360 hp
最高扭力 Torque: 390 lb-ft
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 16.6 / 10.7 / 14.0
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 13.1
輪胎尺碼 Tires: 265/60R18