I Have To Confess SUVs Can Be Fun . . .

Turns out I was wrong.

2y ago

Sometimes when I'm not sure what to write, I interrogate myself. I envision me sitting at a table in a dark concrete-walled room, one hanging lamp above an empty table with two chairs across from each other. One of me has answers and the other has questions. Today we're talking about the Grand Cherokee Track Hawk.

Chris, in the past you've claimed that all SUVs suck, please elaborate.

Well, Chris that is true, I'm not a huge fan of SUVs. In fact, I try to stop everyone I know from buying one. To me, an SUV is a bulkier, more expensive, hatchback that exudes excess. Why waste money on a more expensive gas hog when the same utility can be found in a wagon or hatchback?

Interesting, So have you ever had any fun behind the wheel of an SUV?

Well, usually I don't.


So it all started a few months ago at a press drive for the Jeep Grand Cherokee Track Hawk.

Which is an SUV, correct?

Yes, stop interrupting me I'm trying to explain myself. See this isn't an ordinary SUV, it has 707 horsepower and a track mode. It's pretty hard not to have fun with 707 horsepower. We're familiar with the engine, it's been in the Hellcat for years and now FCA decided they need a 707 horsepower Jeep.

Since the Jeep Trackahwk as a 4-wheel-drive system, it can easily put this power down catapulting the 5,000lb Trackhawk down the road. Last time I checked hard acceleration is fun in a vehicle no matter the shape.

You're lying Chris, there were other reasons why the Trackhawk was fun.

It made loud noises as well, and they were good. On upshifts, the Trackhawk makes this loud gunshot sound which not only adds to the drama but also scares normal SUVs on the road.

So it was fast and loud, but you like vehicles that can handle.

It's true. To me, any car can be made fast and loud but handling is an art. The Trackhawk felt like a Golf R that doubled in weight. It has some fairly direct steering but there's such a heft to this beast I wouldn't say the handling was track ready.

The Trackhawk is very good at going fast over rough pavement, however, and proved itself very good for taking on the scared back roads of upstate NewYork. In a car hitting potholes is a failure of the driver to dodge and weave but in an SUV it's part of the appeal.

Alright, I have one final question, did you have fun?

I did.

And this is an SUV correct?

Yes, yes it is.

So, you had fun in an SUV?

Yes, I did. The Trackhawk isn't an ordinary SUV, it's the modern interpretation of a classic muscle car. Take the most popular family hauler in the lineup, shoehorn in a massive engine, and add an exhaust that can wake the dead.

It's fun because it's ridiculous. It makes you laugh because this car had to be signed off on by accountants. They had meetings about this thing. Look at it, on the surface, it's a $90k Jeep that gets terrible gas mileage in 2018. Nobody has the balls to build this thing, except the made people at FCA.

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Comments (5)

  • SUV’s saved Porsche (noted in earlier article). It was always the next logical step for the industry but bashing them began ‘trending’ because the trio said so ( see: Hammond Hates the juke so now the whole world does).

    Go back to the late 90’s- car sales have slumped, nobody can afford sports cars, wagons are harder to park and families are demanding more space.

    Let’s take a page out of the realtors handbook and build ‘up’ instead of ‘out’.

    SUV’s are also driven by the U.S market . Have you seen a Silverado or an F150 in the flesh? Enormous. In a vain attempt to not be pancaked across the highway, families buy bigger because the other cars on the road are bigger too. The automotive arms race is in full effect & its almost symbolic of the nations problems as a whole.

      2 years ago
    • I agree Trucks are way too big! Thankfully the ford ranger and Chevy Colorado are a little more sensible.

        2 years ago
  • The trucks in the US are big for a reason.


    The fact that so many are sold to not work is great marketing, fuel efficiency restrictions and tax implications for cars, and the most important fact: they are just plain good vehicles! The 2 times Clarkson drove a F-150 on the show, he ended up loving them.

    You might hate them, but they really are good vehicles!

      2 years ago
    • quite frankly, I don't think that's the reason. Everything is 'bigger' made in North America, it's simply because roads are long and wide, cities are big, gas used to be cheap.

        2 years ago
    • Those are valid reasons also.

        2 years ago