Motoring

Jeep Trackhawk a true American brute

Remember that scene in Star Wars Revenge of the Sith where the evil emperor is pinned down by Mace Windu.

If you haven’t then you should really watch those movies, anyways, somehow the evil emperor manages to zap the Jedi with a lightning blast, as he does this he shouts these words; Power, unlimited power. Well, that was me every that I got into the Jeep Trackhawk, a 6.2-litre supercharged SUV.

Jeep might not be on the lips of the nation as it once was however that hasn’t stopped the brand form doing new and exciting things recently. One such mad hatter idea is the Trackhawk, a track and high-performance version of their already performance-orientated SRT8. One of the highlights featured in the Trackhawk is its engine. A Dodge Hellcat sourced 707hp or 522 kW supercharged 6.2-litre V8 adds to that unlimited power offering with an impressive 881 N.m on tap as well. The Jeep boasts a claimed 0-100km time of 3.7 seconds making it not only the fastest SUV in South Africa but the most powerful.

The design

The Jeep Trackhawk, however, doesn’t shout about its performance credentials like one would expect a car with this calibre of performance to do. Sure, it has large rims and tyres which envelop massive Brembo brakes, there are vents on the bonnet and large air intakes on the lower sections of the bumper but the car comes across as understated when compared to rivals from Europe. The rear makes do with quad tailpipes, which are the only indication of its performance from this angle.

What’s it like inside?

Inside the Trackhawk you will, however, find large amounts of carbon fibre trim, specifically on the doors and the centre console. The bolstered seats are covered in leather as is the dashboard. The large touchscreen infotainment takes pride of place on the centre console. It offers a host of various features, the standard stuff being phone connectivity as well as Bluetooth and satellite navigation to name a few. The system also offers an in-depth feature where you can monitor just about every aspect of the car. You can view air intake temperature, oil pressure, coolant temperature, monitor G-force, power usage and even set the launch control RPM level. I spent a fair amount of time exploring the system and I doubt I managed to find all the features.

Overall though the interior of the Jeep Trackhawk remains more comfortable than track-focused with rear passengers getting seat-mounted infotainment screens and a ventilated rear bench, not the lightweight interior I was expecting on a track-focused SUV. Nevertheless, the quality throughout is adequate with ample space and ergonomics.

Let’s look at that engine again.

The motor powering the Jeep is undeniably the star attraction, the supercharger is huge and the sound it makes overshadows the roar of the engine. Throttle input is responsive and the gear changes are quick, both of these factors result in a very fast car, a car that forgets about physics, something this big shouldn’t move this fast, but it does.

Final thoughts 

My time behind the wheel was brief but it did showcase a few issues. As fast as what the car is, the amount of fuel it consumes is shocking, but then again what do you expect. I feel that a Range Rover SVR will offer a more in terms of dynamic handling and initial street cred but it is a tad bit more expensive than the Jeep, which in itself is not all that easy on the bank balance either at a price of R2 199 900, a whopping R851 000 more than the naturally aspirated Jeep SRT8. That said, the Jeep Trackhawk is a laugh, it’s a car that entertains you, it thrills you and it scares you. It’s America with wheels.

 

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