We already know that the standard Jeep Grand Cherokee is a front- runner in the premium SUV class for its ability on rough terrain. So what’s the point of th is new Trailhawk vers ion, which claims to be even more adept when the going gets tough?
It’s basically an attempt to offer buyers an even more rugged version of an already capable vehicle. The Trailhawk model gets a number of revisions to make it less of an all-rounder. There are chunky Kevlar-reinforced Goodyear Adventure tyres, retuned air-suspension, additional under-body protection and reinforced steel sills. Bespoke bumpers also feature, alongside the revised grille that’s been added to the 2017 Grand Cherokee.
OFF THE ROAD
Trailhawk features eight-speed auto box with different shift patterns depending on drive mode. Unique badging also marks model out.
Jeep has also beefed up the Trailhawk’s off-road electronic systems, by adding Selec-Speed Control, a form of low-speed, off-road cruise control. That’s on top of the usual batch of electronics, including a five-mode terrain selector, a rear limited-slip differential and hill descent control. Jeep has also introduced an off-road instrument page on its U-Connect infotainment system, which displays data such as axle angle and oil pressure.
Most of our time with the Trailhawk was spent tackling some of Nevada’s harshest desert terrain, and there’s no doubt it was impressive. The increased ground clearance in Rock mode means there’s far less risk of the car bottoming out, while the Sand setting keeps engine revs high to maintain momentum.
We were only able to try the 282 bhp 3.6-litre V6 petrol model, which suffers from a shortage of refinement and a torque deficit compared with more modern turbocharged units. The Trailhawkwill come with Jeep’s smooth 3.0-litre diesel engine in the UK, though, and that should make a much better case for itself.
Trailhawk is based on Overland spec, and it features generous kit, such as heated and ventilated electric leather and suede seats, sat-nav and a panoramic sunroof.
The Trailhawk is outclassed by newer rivals when it comes to ride – and it’s also behind the best at this price for interior quality and fuel efficiency. As a result, we’d recommend foregoing Trailhawk spec and choosing the cheaper but reasonably equipped Limited Plus trim. Rivals like the Audi Q7 can tackle mud just as well, but benefit from superior road dynamics.
Price: £ 48,000
Engine: 3.6-litre, V6 petrol
Power/Torque: 282bhp, 350Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
0-60mph: 7.2sec (est)
Top speed: 118mph (est)
On sale: Now
The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is undeniably impressive off road.
It’ll clamber across terrain that many premium SUVs would struggle with – but while that may hold some appeal with US buyers, it’s arguably of less importance to us Brits. The standard Grand Cherokee offers all the off-road capability you would need, and is better value, too.