Final Report: Long-Term 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee TrailhawkPosted in Features on April 24, 2018
“Huh, whaddya mean you’re coming to pick up our Trailhawk on Monday? It’s only been a couple weeks, right? A year? Already? Rats.” It seems like only yesterday our bright red Grand Cherokee was getting delivered to our doorstep, and in the blink of an eye it was torn from our clutches. A full 12 months passed quickly with our 2017 SUV of the Year winner, and maybe that’s because the vehicle gave us virtually no cause for disliking it. There were no recurring mechanical issues, no off-road drawbacks, no on-road compromises, and no reason to leave it in the driveway for another vehicle in the fleet. Gotta pick the kids up at school? Take the Trailhawk. Gotta pick up Grandma at the airport? Take the Trailhawk. Gotta go shoot a feature 20 miles down a desert wash? Take the Trailhawk. Gotta go prerun for the 2018 SUV of the Year to make sure the field of competitors can make it through? Take the Trailhawk. It’s been the fun runner, the workhorse, the daily driver, and the weekend fun machine, and we’re somewhat sorry to see it go.
During our time with the vehicle we’ve used it to tow a 6,500-pound trailer, haul tires and wheels, and even slept inside of it on cold nights while camping. On-road, the mileage just keeps climbing as the 5.7L Hemi breaks in. On our highway-only runs we were starting to see some true 20-mpg fill-ups. That’s pretty darn good out of a powerful V-8. And we felt like the engine power was getting a bit stronger as well. On the chassis side, although we only had just less than 20,000 miles to get acquainted, we didn’t have any rattling, shimmy, or other negative attributes—despite giving the Jeep a good off-road spanking with some regularity. And in the dirt, apart from frequently wanting a bit more approach and departure angle, the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk almost always made it farther than we thought it could…and probably a bit more than it probably should. We tattooed a few minor scrapes in the front fascia plastic, but thanks to the Mopar steel rocker guards we avoided any permanent injuries to the vehicle’s body. The heavy undercarriage skidplating got a workout without failing. And for no lack of trying, we didn’t have to take a strap once. We were always able to muscle down the trail or back out and find a better route. So, thank you, Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, for reaffirming our 2017 SUV of the Year choice. You were a worthy recipient of the prestigious title.
Report: 4 of 4Previous reports: Nov. ’17, Feb. ’18; July ’18
Base price: $43,095
Price as tested: $53,515
Four-wheel-drive system: Full-time electronically controlled, two-speed
Miles to date: 19,146
Miles since last report: 4,127
Average mpg (this report): 16.75
Test best tank (mpg): 20.02 (all highway, no traffic)
Test worst tank (mpg): 11.22 (mountain and desert driving)
This period: None
Problem areas: Mystery “ding” warning from dash that doesn’t display…still
What’s Hot, What’s Not
Hot: The mpgs keep going up if you leave it in ECO mode
Not: Phone controls on steering wheel STILL massively frustrating
“The fascia is lower than you think it is.”
“These rocker guards should be standard issue. Can’t imagine off-roading this without them.”
Options as Tested
Customer Preferred Package 28J: Trailhawk Luxury Group ($2,695); Automatic High Beam Headlight Control, Automatic Headlight Leveling System, Bi-Zenon HID Headlamps, Cargo Compartment Cover, Dual-Pane Panoramic Sunroof, LED Daytime Running Headlamps, LED Fog Lamps, Power Tilt/Telescope Steering Column, Rain Sensitive Windshield Wipers. Jeep Active Safety Group ($1,495); Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop; Advanced Brake Assist, Full Speed Collision Warning Plus, LaneSense Lane Departure Warning Plus, Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist. 5.7L Hemi V-8 Engine ($3,295); 3.09 Axle Ratio, 700-Amp Maintenance Free Battery, Anti-Lock 4-Wheel Disc Heavy Duty Brakes. Rock Rails ($895). Uconnect 8.4 NAV ($450); GPS Navigation, HD Radio, SiriusXM Traffic/5-Year Traffic Service, SiriusXM Travel Link/5-Year Travel Link Subscription. Blind Spot and Cross Path Detection ($595).