It’s a warm welcome back to Fiat Chrysler Australia and what a way to do so, with the big, boofy, but bucketload of fun 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, priced at just over $78200 driveaway with the V6 diesel, finding its way to the AWT driveway.Out front is the party piece for the Trailhawk, a 3.0 litre capacity V6, with a handy 184 kW and a Superman stopping 570 torques. That comes in at 2000 revs and getting there has a minor hiccup. When the accelerator is pressed there’s no response for a moment or two. It doesn’t feel like turbo lag as there’s no forward motion at all. However, when the all wheel drive system engages, the big machine (2.9 tonne GVM) will launch to 100 kph in 8.5 seconds. Even with that weight, economy is far better than expected, with AWT’s final figure of 9.1L/100 km pretty much on par with Jeep’s quoted figures around town. That’s from a wallet breaking 93 litre tank, however.It’s a physically imposing machine with 4828 mm of length, rolling on a 2915 mm wheelbase, stands 1792 mm in height, and 1943mm in width. What this means for the inside is 782 litres of cargo space with the rear seats up. There’s also a 12V socket (and one up front) and a torch. The rear leg room is almost as much as the front between knee and thigh however the chunky transmission tunnel for the eight speed auto and Selec-Trac drive system does intrude.That is a comparatively minor thing as you sit in plain looking but comfortable cloth and leather trimmed seats, which offer heating for both front and rear. The cabin itself is more a function over design, with a grey wood trim splitting the black plastic as fitted to the review Trailhawk. It’s not unattractive, it’s just not overly exciting, with a somewhat plain look in the test car. There’s a huge list of trim options, by the way, for the interior and exterior.There’s the typical double redundancy control systems for the climate control, with buttons, dials, and tabs on the 8.4 inch touchscreen. The screen itself is more a square than widescreen and houses a DAB/FM/AM audio system with depth and punch. The seats up front are, of course, electric, and are heated along with the rear seats. There’s even heating for the chunky feeling steering wheel, which seems odd but knowing this machine is designed for a go anywhere in any weather North American market, makes sense.The centre console houses a pair of cup/bottle holders, a deep “bin” and the dial for the simple as anything to use Selec-Trac drive system. Be it Mud, Snow, Rock, Sand, and Auto (the most common usage, one suspects) the Trailhawk will deal with them all. And there’s a story behind this, as with any vehicle badged Trailhawk, it’s met Jeep’s stringent off-road requirements, covering Traction, Articulation, Ground Clearance, Water Fording, and Manoeuvrability.Part of that is thanks to the airbag suspension system, coupled to the double wishbone independent front end, and multi-link rear. The Trailhawk will rise up once started, with a simple icon on the full colour LCD dash screen showing as such. Once done and under way, it’ll flash a message stating it’s reached aerodynamic efficiency. On stopping and exiting, there’s a couple of muted clunks as it hunkers down.There’s also the meaty off-road compatible Goodyear Wrangler rubber; it’s got thick cut blocks and on the Trailhawk is set at 265/60/R18, meaning a broad footprint. Mounted on black painted alloys, if you look closely you’ll note a nod to history: a little Willy’s Jeep icon is painted on them.Up front is the traditional seven bar grille; it’s been surreptitiously nipped and tucked, as has the front bumper. LED lights and indicators look and are efficient, there’s black-outs on the bonnet and window frames, a full length glass room, and powered tailgate to complete the picture.Ridewise the Trailhawk is mild mannered, sedate, composed, on tarmac. The airbag suspension does sometimes feel harsh but never to the point of a hard jolt, it’s merely taut and any intrusion disappears quickly. With the Selec-Trac system, it’s as simple as turning the dial and the Trailhawk makes mincemeat of almost any surface, and with with a wading depth of 500 mm, is highly able to take you nearly anywhere. There’s the approach angle of thirty six degrees and departure of twenty five degrees to consider also.The steering rack is set to provide a nimble feel, a responsive feel, and the sub twelve metre turning circle answers that call. It’ll move lanes rapidly and without qualm, belying its mass. Overtaking is effortless and the brakes, although feeling numb initially, quickly haul down the big machine without complaining. As a driving experience, it’s confident and actually quite engaging.Safetywise, there’s seven airbags, tyre pressure monitoring, the usual assortment of mandatory electronic aids, however Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Rear Cross Path Alert, found a model or two further up, including the monstrous V8 SRT, are missing, however can be optioned.
At The End Of The Drive.
It’s rare that AWT feels that extra time with a vehicle would be welcomed, however the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is one of those. It’s a delight to drive, economical enough although filling from empty would frighten the bank manager, roomy and comfortable, and has enough tech to keep you happy. The fact that it’s received the coveted Trailhawk name thanks to the tests Jeep levy upon it also means that should you wish to go offroad, you do so with confidence. On tarmac, there’s a five year warranty to back you up plus 24/7 roadside assistance for peace of mind.
2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee range is where you’ll find more information.