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2018 Jeep Trackhawk has a Hellcat heart

Charles Fleming, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Automotive News

I wasn't able to get the Trackhawk to the track, but I did sport it around town, up some canyon roads and onto the freeway. It's wicked fast, and makes dramatic exhaust notes, even in standard driving mode. In sport mode, these are positively unnerving. In track mode -- I didn't dare test that, for fear of losing my license.

I did take advantage of a large, empty parking lot to use the launch control feature -- but didn't leave much rubber on the pavement thanks to the 4X4 tire grip -- and I experimented a bit with the "custom" setting that allows the driver to make adjustments to how much horsepower and torque are applied with the gas pedal mashed into the floor.

Despite the track-ready power plant and the beefed-up suspension, the Trackhawk doesn't handle like a track car on the road. It's easy to drive, but it leans a little to the outside on tight turns, and doesn't inspire a lot of high-speed cornering confidence.

But it does inspire adequate off-road confidence. Some time back we reviewed the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, with which the Trackhawk shares some basic architecture, and this Jeep felt similarly sure-footed.

Though I didn't put the Trackhawk through its Moab paces, I did roll along a rutted dirt road or two, and found the suspension more than up to the job of keeping the Trackhawk steady and on track.

On the inside, the Trackhawk is a very comfortable vehicle.


The seats are leather clad and highly adjustable, and come standard with heating and ventilation. The driver seat slides down and back automatically when the ignition is turned off, to allow for easy entrance and exit, and uses "memory" to return to its proper setting once the engine is on.

The rear seats are heated, too, and offer adequate headroom and legroom. They are equipped with back-seat-driver video screens to keep the passengers entertained.

Those seats split in the traditional 60-40 manner, and fold down to expand the cargo area.

On the road, the Trackhawk sits high like an SUV but rides more quietly than most SUVs, with little wind noise and road noise despite the massive 20-inch wheels that are standard on this vehicle.


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