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The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Is a Crazy SUV with a Boring Name

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author photo by Jacob Auernheimer March 2019

When the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk was announced, everyone seemed highly excited. A Jeep with the 707-horsepower engine from the Hellcat seemed like a recipe for fun -- and all reviews published seem to agree. A 2.4-liter supercharger, larger than many car's engines, helps propel the 5,400-lb SUV from 0-to-60 mph in 3.5 seconds. It is an incredible vehicle in nearly every way but one: Jeep completely botched the naming of it.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has done an amazing job with the Hellcat brand. Even non car people know what "Hellcat" means. My wife could generally care less about most cars, but if I asked her what the Hellcat is, she could tell me it's the really fast version of some car. For a company that is fairly reliant on sticking bigger engines in cars and selling them for more money, that's perfect. The Hellcat brand is important.

But seeing as the Trackhawk is just an SUV version of the Charger and Challenger Hellcats, why did they ditch the brand on the Jeep?

To start with, the "Trackhawk" name doesn't match what the Jeep is best at doing. The Challenger and Charger Hellcats are built to accelerate quickly, look good and make lots of noise. They are not built for the track -- and really, neither is "Track"-Hawk. Even with the bigger brakes, Matt Farah talks about how he was able to complete one lap around Road Atlanta in the Trackhawk with no issues and a second lap with little brake fade, but on the third the brakes literally caught fire. It's also a top-heavy, two and a half ton plus SUV. Track is definitely not the word I would use for it.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Hellcat is also just a cool name -- and a risky one, given the mild curse word contained within it. Few other automakers would do it, but Dodge came out and used the name Hellcat rather than the "Heckcat," or some other watered-down version. It's fun -- and again, especially compared to the relatively tame Trackhawk name, it's cool. "Trackhawk" is also rather confusing, considering there's a version of the Grand Cherokee called the "Trailhawk" -- one of which has a few off-roading modifications, and one of which is the most powerful SUV in history.

Sure, using the Hellcat name could be troubling because Jeep is a completely different brand -- but to me, the Hellcat brand is a much bigger factor. With the Hellcat name, the Trackhawk could transcend being just a normal Jeep. It would then become a Hellcat -- and everyone knows no matter what you stick the Hellcat name on, it would be cool. Dodge Dart Hellcat? Yes, please. Alfa Romeo Giulia Hellcat? Facciamo festa! Chrysler Town & Country Hellcat? Let's go do burnouts in the soccer field parking lot. The Hellcat name works no matter what the brand.

All this is bolstering my point that FCA screwed up and they should have called it the Jeep Grand Cherokee Hellcat. The name Trackhawk -- while an adaptation of their existing "Trailhawk" name -- really came out of nowhere, considering the Hellcat brand was already built. With the too-subtle "Supercharged" badge hiding underneath the Grand Cherokee badge, and simple Trackhawk wing on the back, it is almost like Jeep isn't proud of what powers the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The only giveaway I've found that an owner spent nearly $100,000 on a 707 horsepower Jeep is usually the bright calipers. Jeep really did so much right, but Hellcat should have been the answer. Find a Jeep Grand Cherokee for sale

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Is a Crazy SUV with a Boring Name - Autotrader