Dodge / Ram
2014-17 Grand Cherokee (main)Grand Cherokee SRT8
Fresh off a 2016 upgrade, Jeep updated two models for 2017: the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk and Grand Cherokee Summit. One is the top off-road SUV, the other is the top luxury SUV. They come at a good time for Jeep, with U.S. sales soaring by 7% to 195,598 in 2015.
The “Trailhawk” name was first used on a concept car at the 2012 Easter Jeep Safari; the actual Trailhawk appeared in 2013, on a more capable Grand Cherokee. The company created a tougher course for testing it, dubbed the Trailhawk course, as one might expect (see our 2013 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk coverage/test drive). The name was then used for the most off-road-ready Jeep Cherokee and Renegade.
The 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk has standard skid plates, a retuned Quadra-Lift air suspension for better articulation and suspension travel, the Quadra-Drive II 4x4 system with a rear electronic limited-slip differential, and the usual Selec-Speed Control with Hill Ascent Control. The hood decal was designed to reduce glare and was also used on the 2013s.
Buyers have a choice of all of Grand Cherokee’s three engines: the newly upgraded V6, the 5.7 Hemi, and the diesel, whose fine 420 pound-feet of torque come in quite low, making for good off-road capability and towing, though not the best acceleration.
* With and without lower front fascia, air suspension in position #2.
Ground clearance is oddly measured in the SAE standards; it does not go to the lowest point of the car. The official number for the Trailhawk remains unchanged, at 10.8 inches. It’s 11.1 inches at the rear axle, 9.7 at the front, and 10.7 at the fuel tank.
The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk uses the front fascia and grille from the 2016 Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary edition, signature red tow hooks in the front and rear, 18-inch (or optional 20-inch) Goodyear Adventure off-road tires with Kevlar reinforcement, new red-accented badges, mirror caps, and a roof rack.
Inside, Trailhawks have a black interior with leather and suede seats, red accent stitching, a gun-metal finish on all painted interior parts, and a standard 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen. This has updated off-road pages showing wheel articulation, suspension height, 4x4 and Selec-Terrain modes, and such.
Paints will be Redline, silver, white, Rhino, Granite Crystal, Velvet Red, and black. Owners can tow up to 6,200 pounds with the gasoline V6, or up to 7,400 with the diesel or V8.
The most well-trimmed big Jeep, the 2017 Grand Cherokee Summit has an updated front fascia, grille, and LED fog lamps, with new 20-inch polished aluminum wheels.
New for the Jeep Grand Cherokee are lane departure warning, parallel parking assistance, and perpendicular parking assistance. The Summit continues to get auto-folding power mirrors, headlamp washers, blind spot detection, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control.
Summit V6 buyers get a perfect 50/50 weight distribution — 51/49 with the 4x4 option. Even with the Hemi Trailhawk, the weight distribution is 54/46.
The new full-wrap Laguna leather interior has four color schemes, including Indigo-and-Ski-Gray, black, brown, and dark Sienna brown. The full leather interior has a Nappa leather-wrapped dashboard, center console and door panels, and Laguna leather seats with edge welting.
All Summits come with a suede premium headliner, lighted door sill, acoustic windshield and full side glass, Active Noise Cancellation, and Berber carpet mats. The Summit continues to use 19-speaker, 825-watt Harman Kardon “GreenEdge” audio system, which drives nine tweeters, five mid-range speakers, two mid-range woofers, and 3 subwoofers from a 12-channel Class D amplifier.
The Summit’s 4x4 system uses Quadra-Drive II, an electronic limited-slip rear differential, an air suspension, and Selec-Speed Control. Colors are Light Brown Stone, True Blue, white, Ivory Pearl, Granite Crystal, Velvet Red, black, and brown. Buyers can pick the gasoline or diesel V6 engines with rear wheel drive; 4x4 buyers can get the gasoline and diesel V6, or the Hemi V8. Owners can tow up to 6,200 pounds with the gasoline V6, up to 7,400 with the diesel and rear-drive, or up to 7,200 pounds with the 4x4 and diesel or V8.
In 2016, fuel economy was boosted on both the V6 and V8 SUVs (not on the SRT) through lighter weight and other measures. The V6 came with a stop-start system, increasing real world mileage for most drivers. Overall, buyers of the diesel gained 1 mpg city; buyers of the gasoline V6 gained 2 mpg city, 1 mpg highway with rear drive, and 1 mpg city with AWD. The V6 went up from 290 to 295 horsepower.
The Selec-Terrain™ traction control system coordinates throttle control, shifting, the transfer case, stability control, hill descent control, and related systems on 4x4s. Its positions are:
Selec-Speed Control allows the driver to control the rate of hill ascent and descent without having to touch the pedals, for difficult off-road situations.
The 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk and Summit will be sold in late summer. See our specifications page for approach, departure, and breakover angles, compared with competitors.
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