2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Episode 3707
Lucas Oil "Keep That Engine Alive"Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

By just about any measure, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the most capable of all utilities. But there’s never been a Grand Cherokee quite like the Trackhawk. Think of it as the Challenger Hellcat’s outdoorsy uncle. You know, the one with Army Ranger skills that everyone’s a little bit afraid of. Get the picture? Well maybe this will help.  

High performance Grand Cherokees are nothing new of course, and even high performance SUVs in general are a dime a dozen these days. But there’s never been anything quite like this 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

It’s the answer to the question, “what happens when you stuff a Hellcat engine into one of the most-in-demand SUVs of all time.”

And if you don’t know what a Hellcat engine is, allow us to introduce you to 707-horsepower of HEMI awesomeness, from a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that spins up 645 lb-ft. of torque. 

Yes, that’s a lot of power; and yes it does move this GC around like its 5,300-lbs are not subjected to earth’s normal laws of gravity. 

Indeed, straight-line is where it’s at for this 4X4. After dialing the launch control to 1,900 RPM; we just let the GC monitor power, as we just floored it, released the brake, and held on; hitting 60 in 3.5-seconds on our first try. 

There’s plenty of traction for making that leap, planting you firmly into the seat. And with Torque Reserve constantly feeding more and more power in; that feeling never lets up until you back off the throttle.

On the road, there’s plenty of typical Grand Cherokee comfort, but with pleasant sounds of Hellcat creeping in; though supercharger whine seems more subdued here than in the Challenger and Charger. Plus, it can trailer tow a hefty 7,200 pounds.

It’s not the softest of highway rides, as the suspension has been stiffened, and wheels are 20’s. 

Of course the transmission, an 8–speed automatic, as well as all driveline components have been beefed up to handle the middle-management stress of delivering that much power to the pavement.  

With distinctive yellow calipers, the Brembo brakes are bigger than those on Hellcat cars, and do a tremendous job of quickly stopping this beast.

All-wheel-drive management deploys power differently, whether you’re accelerating in a straight-line or towing; even defaulting to rear bias in Track mode for road course work. And yes, you can haul this thing around a race track, which we did at New Hampshire’s Club Motorsports. 

Clicking the steering wheel–mounted paddles shifters results in immediate gear changes; and all of that power from under the hood, basically negated all of this track’s elevation changes. 

It does take a while to feel truly comfortable stuffing a heavy SUV into a corner; but once you get used to it, the Trackhawk is great fun; not quite a Porsche Cayenne, as it could use more steering feel, but way more than you expect from a vehicle that in its heart wants to be off pavement more than clinging to it at high speeds. 

There’s very little roll; and while it’s fairly responsive to inputs, planning ahead and keeping those inputs smooth will give you the best results; as stability control will still cut in even in Track mode.

Updates to the front end allow more air to come in, and there’s more going out as well…

GREG CARLOSS: “There’s also a quad exhaust system out back. There’s a bit of refinement to it. It’s not as brutal and aggressive as the Charger and Challenger, but still really nice. You get a lot of sound there (engine growls). Bang the throttle (engine growls) I mean it’s everything you want maybe just a little bit more refined than those other cars”

JOHN DAVIS: Things are dressed up inside, but it’s not as if build quality has been supercharged as well. There’s a nice, thick steering wheel, and great seats.

Bearing the double burden of being an SUV and a performance machine, Government Fuel Economy Ratings are pretty dismal at 11-City, 17-Highway, and only 13-Combined. 

Still, no matter how bad-to-the bone it is, at the end of the day, it remains a Grand Cherokee, and a pricy one at that; $86,995. However, something comparable from Europe would require a 6-figure investment. 

So whether you look at the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk as a family truckster built for track days, or a performance car that you can haul with; it’s a far-out piece of performance machinery, made with a formula that Fiat-Chrysler seems to have perfected. 


  • Engine: 6.2 liter
  • Horsepower: 707
  • Torque: 645 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 3.5 seconds
  • EPA: 11 mpg city / 17 mpg highway
2023 BMW X7 Driving

2023 BMW X7

Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More

Episode 4238
Lucas Oil "Keep That Engine Alive"Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.

When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.

There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…

…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.

2023 BMW X7 Interior Dashboard

Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.

The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.

At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!

New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.

In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.

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Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.

There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.

Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.

It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.


  • Engine: I-6
  • Horsepower: 375
  • 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Torque: 398 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
  • EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined