I Have To Confess SUVs Can Be Fun . . .
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?
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.