2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Drivers’ Notes | Haulin’ the groceries

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Powered by the same supercharged Hemi at the heart of Dodge’s Hellcat cars, the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is the sort of vehicle that comes from a “Why not?” attitude from the maniacs at SRT. It’s not for the faint of heart, nor for the cash-strapped. With 707 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque, it’s capable of a 0-60 sprint of just 3.5 seconds. Its base price, however, is $86,995, though our tester’s sticker totaled just a few bucks shy of $100,000.

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder: “What business does a Jeep have going 0-60 in 3.5 seconds?” This was my thought as I merged into rainy rush-hour traffic on Woodward Avenue in the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. “Why does an SUV need to have ‘Track’ in the name?” I thought as I unintentionally broke the tires loose pulling away from a stoplight. I hit the “Eco” button, but the Jeep still roared with every toe-tap, and still managed to gulp down nearly a quarter of a tank of gas on my ride home.

That sound, though, is amazing, and surely more unsettling to other drivers coming from such a big beast of a ute.

Anyway, this Jeep feels more grown-up than other Hemi-powered vehicles I’ve driven. The fit and finish in this $99,000 Jeep is far nicer than, say, the Dodge Durango SRT (though at a much higher cost). If another driver didn’t pay close attention to the badging, they might see this and think it just another Jeep. The sound, though, will give it away every time.

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: If Fiat-Chrysler knows how to do anything, it’s making fast SUVs, and the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is further proof of that. And by that I mean, they know how to make them fast, and they know how to make them pleasant to drive.

The Trackhawk definitely handles the fast part better than its SRT Durango and SRT Grand Cherokee cousins, what with its extra 230-odd horsepower. This big beast seriously rockets when you punch the throttle. The nose rises up, the supercharger screams, the exhaust rumbles and the speedometer ticks up much faster than you’d ever think. And it feels strong at all revs. Also impressive is that you don’t have to really think when flooring it. The all-wheel-drive and fat tires offer so much grip the Jeep simply goes.

The pleasant to drive part comes in the fact that the Trackhawk is very comfortable. The suspension has plenty of give, providing a good ride over pockmarked Motown roads. But it still handles well, if perhaps not quite up to the standards of European super SUVs. But the thing is, no SUV is going to have sports car handling, so the tradeoff toward a bit more comfort is welcomed. Adding to the good suspension are wide, bolstered, well-padded seats that should be excellent for long-trips. The UConnect is easy to use, and there’s plenty of space inside. It’s a great all-around SUV, and it just happens to go extremely fast.

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: I was psyched to drive the Trackhawk. It’s one of the most anticipated Jeeps ever — and it totally lived up to the hype. Obviously, the Hellcat engine is the spotlight feature, and it’s well-suited to the Grand Cherokee. That was the part I was curious about. It didn’t seem like a logical fit, but everything is well-tuned and sorted. It sounds good, yet not overdone. It’s also a sleeper vehicle. Yes, something is up with this Jeep. You can tell that at first glance. But Hellcat power isn’t immediately obvious. I like that. It’s also pretty chill when you’re cruising at steady speeds.

Inside, I wasn’t a fan of this maroon leather. Otherwise, the FCA U.S. controls and infotainment remain among the best in the industry. The touchscreens work, and the knobs and buttons are intuitive. Can’t ask for more. Also, many years into its lifecycle, the Grand Cherokee remains a strong, attractive player in its segment. Giving it the Trackhawk treatment wasn’t necessary, but I’m sure glad FCA did.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler JL order guide leaks, ordering open Portland Jeep dealer

It’s been a big day for Jeep news. Earlier today, a leaked timeline revealed that the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL will make its debut sometime in November, likely at either SEMA or the Los Angeles Auto Show. Now, thanks to our friends at JL Wrangler Forums, we have news that an order guide has leaked and order banks are open. That means you should be able to go to a Jeep dealer and place an order for a new Wrangler now. This order guide only covers the four-door Wrangler Unlimited, but it gives us a pretty clear look at the new model.

At launch, the Wrangler Unlimited will come in three trims – Sport, Sahara and Rubicon. The only available engine will be FCA’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. Those hoping for a diesel will have to wait a little while longer. All three models will offer both a manual and automatic transmission. While the current model is available in a wide range of colors, initially only five – Billet Silver, Black, Bright White, Firecracker Red and Granite Crystal – will be offered.

Poring over the guide shows that features line-up pretty closely with the current model. Hardtops are still optional, as is leather on the Sahara and Rubicon. It doesn’t look like you’ll be able to get a Sport with a body-color top and the dual-top option for the Rubicon is only listed on the order banks with a black hardtop. The Sahara and Rubicon both have optional trailer hitches and the Rubicon has an optional steel bumper.

There’s lots we still don’t know, but look for more news in the next month or so after the new Wrangler finally debuts.

Jeep to reveal new 2018 Wrangler in November, document shows

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Jeep’s much-awaited next-generation 2018 Wrangler looks set for a November reveal, according to a product graphic released by an FCA employee on Twitter. The SUV off-roader will move from Toledo South to Toledo North for production, with no lost production during the changeover.

Information about the 2018 Wrangler has leaked for years now in dribs and drabs. The recent leak of an owner’s manual and user guide provided the most details to date, including engine version — a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter Pentatar V6 — plus features like a power sliding top, removable soft top and doors, foldable windshield, 4WD Auto mode. Options include a blind-spot monitoring system and heated seats.

The new Wrangler is expected to feature an evolutionary restyling, with a slightly more aerodynamic body, aluminum body panels, LED lighting, eight-speed automatic transmission and an available diesel powertrain. Jeep has also confirmed a pickup truck version to be revealed shortly after the Wrangler JL. Here’s a running list of everything we know about the new Wrangler JL.

The FCA chart also suggests Jeep will reveal its new Cherokee and Ram 1500 during the first quarter of 2018, likely at the Detroit auto show.

[Source: Autoblog]

 

2019 Jeep Cherokee reveals a much more normal face

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Since we started seeing redesigned Jeep Cherokee prototypes, we’ve suspected that the crossover would lose its controversial split headlights and pointy grille. Finally, we get a good look at a mostly uncovered test car, and it confirms that the new Cherokee will look quite conventional.

The obvious change is the headlights. Instead of the slender daytime running lights at the top next to the grille, and the actual illuminating headlights lower in the bumper, all of the elements are integrated into single housings on either side. They’re somewhat rectangular now, looking more like those on the Compass and the Grand Cherokee. But you can still see the same hockey-stick shaped LED running light design in the new lamps. The grille has changed, too. It looks much more blunt than the sharply creased, almost pointy grille of the current model. It also looks as though it may extend farther down than the current version.

The rest of the Cherokee is very similar to the current model. The flanks are virtually unchanged, as is the interior, and the tail sees only minor changes. The most significant is the move of the license plate from the bumper to the hatch. The taillights’ shape hasn’t really changed, but the white section is now broken up by black lines, and the red element looks darker.

We expect to see the Cherokee refresh soon, possibly by the end of the year.

[Source: Autoblog]

2018 Jeep Wrangler owner’s manuals leaked, and they tell us much — but not all

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If you’re looking for some light reading to start your week, we have a suggestion for you. The “Owner’s Manual” and the “User Guide” for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler have leaked, and have been posted on the JL Wrangler Forums. They appear to be the real deal. There’s a ton of information, and many pages to pore over, but here’s a little bit of what we’ve gleaned so far.

The documents (assuming they’re not just some very elaborate and convincing hoax) confirm the power sliding top, which is not removable, though the rear quarter windows are. We’re not seeing any mention of a power soft top, though. There are instructions on door removal, as well as folding down the windshield. The manuals also confirm a 4WD Auto mode that shifts power between the front and rear axles as needed.

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What we don’t appear to have yet are complete specifications. The manuals mention the 2.0-liter and 3.6-liter engines, but not their output figures. The 2.0-liter recommends premium fuel, while the 3.6-liter only needs 87 octane. Towing capacity for the two-door models is 2,000 pounds, while the four-door versions are capable of 3,500 pounds.

The manuals also provide a lot of images, if you’re interested in seeing the nitty gritty details of the Wrangler’s various functions. Take a look, and make sure to post any interesting findings in the comments section, below.

[Source: Autoblog]

Jeep three-row SUV caught on public roads — Grand Wagoneer, perhaps?

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For years, it’s been rumored that Jeep is working on a full-size three-row crossover. The Grand Cherokee sells well, but it doesn’t match the space of its platform sibling, the Dodge Durango. At this year’s Shanghai Auto Show, Jeep revealed the Yuntu Concept, a plug-in three-row crossover designed for the Chinese market. While the automaker was adamant that this was just a concept, our spy photographers have seen a prototype running around near FCA’s headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Though this is still heavily camouflaged, we can see a few details that show this is indeed a version of the Yuntu. The headlights, taillights and windows are the biggest tells, as they’re nothing like what’s currently on any production Jeep. The long wheelbase gives away the SUV’s three-row nature. We can’t make out much else, but expect the final version to look like a Durango-sized version of the new Jeep Compass with a black roof and clear lighting.

We don’t know what rests under the hood, but the Yuntu concept is a plug-in hybrid. FCA really needs some electrified vehicles in its lineup if it’s going to compete with other mainstream automakers. If the Yuntu makes it to production, expect it to wear a name like Grand Wagoneer. We just hope for wood panels.

Here are the latest renderings of the new JL Jeep Wrangler

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Our friends at JL Wrangler Forums have been very kind to us. While we’ve seen plenty of spy shots of the new Jeep Wrangler, until recently these renderings from JL Wrangler Forums provided our best look at the new model. Today, we have a new batch of the traditional short-wheelbase, two-door Wrangler. We just hope the full production model doesn’t stray too far from this.

The design, like every new Wrangler, is simply an adaptation of what came before it. These new renderings pull some new cues seen on the most recent set of Wrangler spy shots. The new model packs LED headlights, taillights and running lights. The Rubicon model looks to have fog lights embedded into the bumper. The vented Rubicon hood looks like it carries over. The Sport model is the entry level Wrangler. As such the renderings ditch some things like body-color fenders and roof and alloy wheels.

The JL Wrangler has been in development for years, so expect to see the full production model sometime in the next few months.

[Source: Autoblog]