2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk review

We send Noel Ebdon to Vegas to drive the new Grand Cherokee hard-core off-roader

By Noel Ebdon

Watch the video review below now!

‘Cool name, but what’s a Trailhawk’ I here you cry. Well, the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is basically the production ready version of the concept vehicle that first appeared at the 2012 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. The idea of the original concept was to give the Grand Cherokee a bit more of a rugged appearance, but also to make it even more off-road capable.


It comes with the Grand Cherokee’s standard off-road equipment, including Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II 4×4 system with rear Electronic Limited Slip Differential (ELSD) for all powertrains, but also gets a unique version of Grand Cherokee’s Quadra-Lift air suspension – developed for Trailhawk – that offers improved articulation and total suspension travel. On top of that, there’s Selec-Speed Control with Hill Ascent Control, skid plates and a Trailhawk-specific anti-glare hood decal as standard.


You also get Trailhawk-signature red tow hooks in the front and rear, standard rugged 18-inch Goodyear Adventure off-road tires with Kevlar reinforcement, new Trailhawk and Trail Rated badges with red accents, mirror caps and a gray roof rack. Plus, there’s the option of Mopar rock rails for added protection.


The rock rails are highly recommended, as we tested them to the limit in the desert around Vegas, which is rather similar to the Middle East in terms of terrain. On some of the rockier trails we crashed the full weight of the car down onto solid rock. The resounding crunch would have buckled most cars, but a post-drive inspection of the rock rails showed almost no damage, even to the paint. They must be made of kryptonite!


Inside, it’s black, black and more black across the leather and suede performance seats, set off against some natty red accent stitching. The hard bits of the interior are finished in Piano Black and gun-metal. The whole thing is complimented with a Trailhawk badge on the steering wheel. It’s comfortable and not far removed from the other Grand Cherokee models.


Off-road it’s good in both sand and on rock, as you’d expect, but with all the butch additions it now also looks the part. The question is if buyers will opt for a rugged Grand Cherokee or go straight for a four-door Wrangler. My bet is that this will appeal to those that want a little more luxury in their life, but still want to venture deep into the desert.

Like most other SUVs, few Grand Cherokee owners venture off-road in their cars, but with the Trailhawk they might just be tempted.

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