This week, we’re driving the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee, delivered in new Trailhawk 4x4 dress and the most off-road ready of the Grand Cherokees. As the most capable SUV in its class, Trailhawk delivers off-road supremacy thanks to enhanced 4x4 underpinnings and special high-tech features.
Overall, Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the best looking SUVs on the road regardless of model. Available in seven flavors starting with entry Laredo ($30,395) up to the 475-horse Hemi SRT ($66,895), Grand Cherokee’s top selling feature is perhaps its military identity that still finds customers of all ages gravitating to the Jeep brand.
As a prime example of Jeep’s off-road readiness (2WD models are also available), our Trailhawk 4x4 starts at a base price of $43,095 and is a direct link to the original Willys Jeep Overland that debuted first in 1946 as a multitask vehicle. By 1954, Jeep evolved into a family-friendly station wagon, which is where the new Trailhawk genes lead us. So be it a family hauler, off-road adventurer or towing/cargo entity, Jeep for 2017 has you covered.
The Trailhawk standard fare includes a 3.6-litre V6 that Jeep consumers can rest assured offers enough horsepower (290), torque (260) and towing ability (6,200 lbs.) to take care of just about any need. All Grand Cherokees come with an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters that shifts well and is geared properly for overall performance and economy. If you need more tow ability, fret not as an optional 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is available that can haul 7,400 pounds.
As for traction, Trailhawk owners receive a special heavy duty 4x4 system.
Specifically, even though Jeep’s excellent tough terrain technology called Quadra-Trac I 4x4 or Quadra-Trac II 4x4 is featured on most of the other Grand Cherokee 4x4s, all Trailhawk owners receive as standard fare Jeep’s ultimate Quadra-Drive II 4x4, which is the most advanced system available. It delivers exceptional all-weather and off-road capabilities as it transfers up to 100-percent of engine torque to a single wheel when needed. All Trailhawks also come standard with Selec-Speed Control and a rear Electronic Limited-Slip Differential.
Still not sold on Trailhawk’s 4x4 features?
How about adding to the Trailhawk standard list Quadra-Lift air suspension, numerous undercarriage skid plates, and a Selec-Terrain traction control system that features five distinct settings to handle all kinds of challenging surfaces.
Specifically, Selec-Terrain coordinates 12 vehicle systems including throttle control, accelerator pedal response, transmission shifting, transfer case operation, traction control and Electronic Stability Control thanks to modern-day computerized technology. Your Jeep dealer is waiting to explain all 4x4 systems, and if perhaps the Trailhawk is the Grand Cherokee that best fits your needs.
Safety features on all Grand Cherokees that result in Five Star government crash ratings are the result of a modern airbag system, four-wheel ABS discs, traction controls, electronic brake force, a special trailer tow group, and much more.
Recommended is the Jeep Active Safety option, where just $1,495 more buys you adaptive cruise, full speed forward collision warning, Lane Sense lane departure, parallel parking assist and advanced brake assist. It’s worth every penny but if you want rear cross traffic and blind spot capabilities, add another $595. (This feature should come with the safety group package).
An optional 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen navigation with SiriusXM traffic and travel costs an additional $450 and then merges nicely with standard features like a nine-speaker 506-watt SiriusXM stereo with subwoofer, heated and power front seats, ParkView rear back-up camera, power lift gate, red tow hooks, 18-inch Goodyear tires on aluminum off-road wheels, full-size spare tire, and some 15 other features that make your Trailhawk a very special 4x4.
The cabin is one of the high points of Trailhawk models with excellent stitched Trailhawk seating and an instrument cluster with off-road displays.
Other options include a $2,995 Luxury Group that adds a dual pane power sunroof, high-intensity headlamps, cargo cover, daytime running lights, upgraded fog lamps, tilt and telescopic steering, and rain sensitive wipers. An $895 Rock Rail option adds extra underside protection for serious off-roading and brings our final Trailhawk tally to $50,620 retail with $1,095 delivery included.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 114.8-inches, 24.6-gallon fuel tank, 18 city and 25 highway EPA estimates, 4,869 lb. curb weight, 36.3 cu. ft. to 68.3 cu. ft. of cargo space, up to 10.8 inches of ground clearance and a 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty.
Overall, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is a great 4x4 ready vehicle. If you can snag a leftover before they’re gone, you’ll save thousands as the 2018 model is pretty much unchanged.
However, joining the Grand Cherokee line for 2018 is a 707-horsepower Hemi “Hellcat” Grand Cherokee called the Trackhawk. It starts at $85,900.
Yes, you read that right. A Hellcat Grand Cherokee is right around the corner.
Likes: Black matte hood, high-tech 4x4 system, great looks, good MPG.
Dislikes: Touchscreen learning curve, some safety options should be standard.