New Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk and Cherokee History

September 16th, 2015 by

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Ever since it’s complete redesign for the 2011 model year, Jeep has been working hard to exceed all expectations for its ever-popular Grand Cherokee. If you have been debating whether or not to add a Jeep Grand Cherokee lease to your portfolio – you may want to hold off for a bit longer.

At the end of last month, Jeep gave dealerships in the U.S. a private sneak peek of its newest rendition of the Grand Cherokee. The unveiling took place at an annual automaker’s dealership meeting in Las Vegas on August 25. Las Vegas was the perfect location to reveal for the first time ever, the most powerful Grand Cherokee ever created.

The Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee is known as the SRT Trackhawk – and it is making waves (and breaking records) in the automotive industry. The name alone inspires power and performance, and the Hellcat-powered engine confirms that same power. So, exactly how powerful is very powerful? Glad you asked.

Most Powerful Grand Cherokee to Date

The Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk will pack an unheard of 707 horsepower, thanks to its 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine. That powerful V8 is the same engine found in both the Dodge Challenger, and Dodge Charger. Placed inside of Jeep’s iconic SUV, the Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk will reportedly be able to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour, in just 3.5 seconds. No other SUV on the market packs the same amount of power, and no other SUV of its size can reach the same speed in such an efficient time.

Currently, the Grand Cherokee SRT is the most powerful of Jeep’s SUVs. The 475 horsepower engine can reach 60 miles per hour in 4.6 seconds – a still impressive feat for a midsize SUV, but still a full second short of the Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee that was recently unveiled.

Obviously, the official public announcement has yet to be made, but all signs point to the Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk hitting showroom floors, sometime next summer. Until then, check out just how far the Grand Cherokee has come since it’s first generation back in 1993.

First Generation Grand Cherokee: 1993-1998

Jeep Grand Cherokee First Edition

Launched for the 1993 model year, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was placed directly in the luxury SUV segment. Originally offered in three trim levels, drivers were given a great list of standard features including full instrumentation, a five-speed manual transmission, power windows, and more.

The very first Grand Cherokee hit American roadways with the standard 4.0-liter six cylinder engine, that made 190 horsepower. Drivers could choose from a four-speed automatic, or a manual transmission.

The final iteration in the Grand Cherokee’s first generation came in the form of the Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited edition. This top-level variant of the Grand Cherokee was touted as the “World’s fastest sport utility vehicle,” and included a 5.9-liter V8 engine that amassed 245 horsepower. A 10-speaker sound system, roof-mounted rear sound bar, standard sunroof, and soft leather interior seating surfaces, made the interior cabin as impressive as its powerful engine block.

Second Generation Brings More Power: 1999-2004

Jeep Grand Cherokee Second Generation

For the 1999 model year, the Grand Cherokee got a complete makeover. The lighter-weight engine was the heart of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, and was lighter weight for improved fuel economy. For the first time, the Grand Cherokee was offered with a four-wheel drive option known as Quadra-Drive, complete with a new transfer case. Drivers were able to choose between 4-All Time, Neutral, and 4-Lo, which allowed a different distribution of torque to each wheel.

Part of the Grand Cherokee’s redesign for it’s second generation included larger rear doors, more interior passenger space, and rearranged controls for easier access. An electronic vehicle information center was placed above the windshield, and came standard on all Grand Cherokee models from the year 2000 and up.

Thanks to UniFrame construction and a partnership with Porsche, the Grand Cherokee’s frame was strengthened for enhanced ride and a safety cage surround. A minor facelift was given to the Grand Cherokee in 2004, which included a lower front fascia, round fog lamps, and a body-color inset grille design.

Third Generation Send Grand Cherokee into the Future: 2005-2010

Jeep Grand Cherokee Third Generation

Unveiled for the first time at the New York International Auto Show in 2004, the all-new WK Grand Cherokee featured Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II four-wheel drive system, a rear-seat DVD player, and more. A more powerful 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine was optional for the newest Grand Cherokee, with the standard engine block being a 4.0-liter straight-6. The overall design of the Grand Cherokee was still meant to incorporate luxury, while exuding power. Work was completed on the third generation Grand Cherokee to make it less noisy, reduce road vibration, and overall harshness.

Up until the 2005 model year, Jeep had always been a brand that put off-road capability first. With the third generation of its midsize SUV, Jeep put more of a focus toward on-road capability and performance. This new focus moved the design and suspension of the Grand Cherokee forward, appealing to a wider range of drivers.

In 2008, the Grand Cherokee received a minor facelift which included redesigned headlights, HID headlamps with auto-leveling technology, and a refined 4.7-liter engine that was capable of producing 305 horsepower. The 2009 model year was made available with an updated 5.7-liter HEMI engine that made 357 horsepower and 389 lb.-ft. of torque.

Fourth Generation Modern and Sleek: 2011-Present

The latest generation of the Grand Cherokee was presented for the first time at the New York Auto Show in 2009. This modern-twist on the traditional Grand Cherokee combines classic Jeep styling, with a new sleek body style. One of the most successful versions of the Grand Cherokee, the 2011 model won over thirty awards for luxury, safety, value, and more. It was this model year that made the Grand Cherokee the most awarded SUV ever.

Drivers could choose from three different four-wheel drive systems, and added an optional Quadra-Lift height adjustable air suspension, capable of raising the vehicle’s ground clearance to 11.1 inches. An all-new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, and a 5.7-liter HEMI V8, were both added to the list of engine choices for the fourth generation Grand Cherokee.

It was the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee that helped launch the popular SUV to the status that it is known for today. The complete redesign of the exterior gave the Grand Cherokee a new look, appealing to more drivers than ever before.

Endless Possibilities

Jeep has certainly been on the forefront of powerful off-road capable vehicles, and the automotive brand is proving that it has more than it takes to compete with on-road performance as well. The Jeep Grand Cherokee has never been more versatile than it is today, and no other vehicle in its segment can claim the same impressive feats as the iconic SUV.

With the recent announcement of the Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk, Jeep has poised it’s popular mid-size SUV to make automotive history – and we can’t wait to see what the iconic automaker has in store for its lineup in the future. A 707-horsepower Grand Cherokee certainly isn’t the limit for Jeep, it’s merely the beginning of what is to come.

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