On The Road

This Jeep ain't cheap


Photos courtesy of Fiat Chrysler
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk comes with a 707-horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged engine.

Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of physics says that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So it is with automobiles.

At a time when many manufacturers are making vehicles that run on electricity, Fiat Chrysler is making the 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. It runs on gasoline. Lots and lots of gasoline. So. Much. Gasoline.

The Trackhawk is made by taking a Grand Cherokee and putting the 707-horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine found in the Dodge Challenger Hellcat under the hood. It can do zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds. It does the quarter-mile in 11.7. Its top speed is 180, but that’s artificially limited because of things like tire ratings and insurance.

And all those are statistics I got from Fiat Chrysler. I’ve been reviewing cars for 22 years. I got my driver’s license when what we thought were golden-age muscle cars of the ’60s were filling my high school parking lot. Five seconds of foot to the floor in the Trackhawk was enough for me. I might have indulged a bit more, but there is zero stealth to this machine. It’s as loud as it is fast. Tesla’s Ludicrous Mode is swift and silent. The Trackhawk lets people six blocks away know it’s here and it means business.

The window sticker has some fascinating numbers on it, too. I’ll get to the price in a moment, but let’s start with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy and environment information. It gets 11 mpg city, 17 mpg highway and 13 mpg combined. You are projected to spend $10,250 more on fuel over five years than the buyer of the average new car.

The EPA says the Trackhawk – driven in a manner resembling the EPA test – uses 7.7 gallons of fuel every 100 miles. Fiat Chrysler knows you’re unlikely to drive it that way. You’ll use more, which is why it has a 24.6-gallon fuel tank.

I pulled up next to a Chevy Bolt at an intersection and felt like rolling down my window and apologizing to the driver for rendering his attempt to save the Earth futile. Three more people need to buy Chevy Bolts to offset this one Trackhawk’s thirst for fuel.

‘Startling price’

All this for a base price of $86,650. Given that a base model of the same vehicle – the Jeep Grand Cherokee – starts at $31,945, that’s a startling price. I’m not sure I could name two other American vehicles that have a $54,705 spread between their base trim and the top of the line. OK, I can name one: The difference between a Corvette Stingray and a ZR-1 is $67,400.

Clearly, a chunk of that is in the performance bits in the Trackhawk. Those include the 6.2-liter, 707-horsepower supercharged V-8; the eight-speed automatic transmission; the Brembo brakes; the Bilstein competition suspension; and the 20-inch-by-10-inch forged polished wheels and the 295/45ZR70 tires that go with them.

The additional cost also has a lot to do with the interior materials Jeep doesn’t make available for lower-spec models. The Trackhawk is covered in buttery-soft surfaces that feel and look like they belong in a vehicle in this price range.

Yes, price range. Because $86,850 is just where you start. Our tester also had the Trailer Towing Group IV (a 20-inch-by-6.5-inch aluminum spare wheel, a compact spare tire, a 7- and 4-pin wiring harness and a Class IV receiver hitch) for $995; an upgraded Signature Leather-Wrapped Interior Package (Laguna leather performance seats and leather-wrapped lower panels) for $4,995; an upgraded 19-speaker, 825-watt audio system for $2,095; a dual-pane panoramic sunroof for $2,095; an upgraded set of tires from all-season to three-season (yes, losing a season is an upgrade) for $895; and a swap to black satin aluminum wheels for $995.

Add to that the highest destination charge I can remember seeing ($1,495), and the Trackhawk we drove has an as-tested price of $100,215.

If you are a person without worries – about money, the environment, insurance premiums, your future as a licensed driver – the 2019 Jeep Trackhawk is the SUV for you.

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