Fullsize Four Wheeler: Jeep Adds Trailhawk Goodies to 2017 Grand Cherokee
Off-Road Special Features Retuned Air Suspension, Rugged Styling
Debuted on the Cherokee and brought to the masses with the Renegade, Jeep’s Trailhawk badge has made its mark as a legitimate off-road package, bringing extra ground clearance, unique styling, and rugged capabilities that live up to the brand’s reputation.
For 2017, Jeep will add a Trailhawk variant to the model that helped bring the brand immense popularity, the Grand Cherokee. The largest Jeep’s new Trailhawk trim level follows the formula already made popular by its little brothers: the best four-wheel-drive system, an off-road–specific suspension, skidplates, tons of red accents, and all-terrain tires. The package gives the handsome Grand Cherokee a tougher, urban-commando look that manages to be sleek and gruff all at once.
Jeep fit the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk with Quadra-Drive II, the company’s most sophisticated 4x4 system. The full-time four-wheel drive can transfer up to 100 percent of the engine’s power to an individual axle, preventing slip automatically. It’s also equipped with an electronic rear limited-slip differential (ELSD), which will keep power routed to both rear wheels in slippery situations.
Helping the four-wheel-drive system in its mission is a unique version of the Grand Cherokee’s available Quadra Lift air suspension. Standard on the Trailhawk, the system offers improved articulation, and overall suspension travel, and Selec-Speed Control helps off-roaders by automatically modulating throttle and braking to maintain a constant speed in off-road maneuvers.
As we said before, the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is styled with an eye toward adventure. It’s equipped with underbody-saving skidplates and Trailhawk-signature red tow hooks, and it rides on aggressive 18-inch or optional 20-inch wheels wrapped in Kevlar-reinforced Goodyear Adventure tires. Its special grille and front fascia treatment was first used on the Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary Edition, and the gloss-black grille coordinates nicely with the Neutral Gray–painted mirrors. Bold, red-accented “Trailhawk” and “Trail Rated” badges add some subtle aggression to the Grand Cherokee, and the color scheme is carried into the interior.
The black leather-and-suede performance seats are accented with red stitching, and all painted interior parts are dipped in a gunmetal hue unique to the Trailhawk. The sub-brand’s badge appears on the GC’s steering wheel, and the off-road package gets its own page on the standard 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen, showing things like wheel articulation, suspension settings, and modes for the Selec-Terrain system.
Much like our Ram Rebel tester from the 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year competition, the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk looks like it’ll be a tidy upgrade over its more on-road–oriented siblings. Its numerous subtle upgrades should make a big difference where the rubber meets the road, er, dirt. It goes on sale in late summer 2016.