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New Jeep Cherokee Model to Get 707-HP Hellcat Engine


Active Member
June 22, 2002
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
98 Mountaineer
Following the success of Fiat Chrysler's two Hellcat muscle cars - high-powered versions of the Dodge Charger sedan and Challenger coupe, -- the automaker is planning to put the 707-horsepower supercharged V-8 engine that powers them into a new model of its popular Jeep Cherokee, sources say.
Several Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) insiders confirmed a report by Car and Driver on Thursday that the Jeep brand is getting ready to launch a 707-horsepower SUV that will be known as the Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk. The vehicle is expected to make its debut in summer 2016, they said.
Fiat Chrysler officials this week have been briefing dealers about plans to expand the Hellcat line during their annual retail get-together in Las Vegas. They're also advising dealers that they've boosted production capacity for the Hellcat engine. Demand has been so strong that orders for the 2015 models had to be cut off well before the end of the model-year.


Explorer Torture Tester
Elite Explorer
April 3, 2008
Reaction score
City, State
Gloucester City, NJ
Year, Model & Trim Level
98 2Dr,98 & 04 4dr xlt

That Hellcat engine is an amazing work of art, I figured it would be making itself into the Jeep eventually.
I wish ford would put out an Explorer that would compete with it. Maybe next year lol.


Well-Known Member
February 5, 2011
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City, State
Bemidji, MN
Year, Model & Trim Level
94 4x4 Sport 88k
I was wondering if I should write a thread on this and here there already is one, albeit 3 years old. Well, let me tell you something, I drove one of these for 8 hours, last Sunday. This vehicle is insane. Ok, I work for Roush Industries as an evaluation driver, so basically, I go to a building in the morning, get assigned a vehicle and road route, and drive for 8-10 hours. Then, I submit notes on problems, likes, dislikes, mileage numbers, etc... so, here it is:

First of all, visually, this is the new definition of a sleeper vehicle. Externally, it is visually identical to the regular Jeep Grand Cherokee in all respects except for the word 'Supercharged' under the badge, and it's not at all obvious. If you look more carefully, you might notice the tires are a little wider than normal... they are 295's. They paint the brake calipers and the disks are oversized. There are four rather plain-looking exhaust pipes under the rear bumper. Very minor changes to the front air dam, and little spoiler flaps in front of the front tires to keep it from floating the front tires at top speed (which is 180 mph).

Inside, it's essentially a luxury SUV. Real leather everywhere, seat and steering wheel warmers, everything you would expect. The seats have high bolsters, a clue to be sure. There are a few extra controls, notably a button labelled 'LAUNCH' next to the shifter, and shifter paddles behind the steering wheel. Our pre-drive sheet directs us NOT to use the 'LAUNCH' button without training. (DARN!). There is soft accent lighting everywhere, very dim, just to give you a hint of where things are. This accent lighting is becoming common. We run Dodge Ram trucks too, and they do this on their higher end models too.

Underhood is not particularly remarkable. Every new car these days has so much cowling over the engine, you simply cannot see anything noteworthy. The Hemi is a tight fit though. It's a 6.2L, 378 cubic inches. How they get a supercharger and intercooler in there is a mystery, but it's there.

Ok, ready to go. I pushed the start button (everything is keyless), and the key word here is 'RUMBLE'. The entire car shakes slightly, just barely, at idle, with a very low exhaust note.

Controls... I need to go on a little sidebar here. Jeep is part of the FCA group (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), and one of the things they standardize across the brands is dashboard controls. So... it's weird, but if you normally drive, say, a Chrysler Pacifica, you could reach blind and find the controls easily on a Jeep brand, a Dodge, etc... and the center touchscreen is exactly the same layout. The only oddity is that Jeep puts their wiper controls on the right column stalk. Ok, back to the SRT: The gauge cluster is essentially a flat-panel display, with a semi-mechanical speedometer to the left, and dominated by a graphic tachometer. You can page through various gauge cluster screens for live readouts of everything you might possibly find interesting, including live g-force readings, HP, torque, boost, intake temp...it's all there. There's even an integrated stopwatch with memory for 4 laps.

Off we go! The first hour of my designated route is city driving. I'm in a very small city, 15,000 people, and we start at 5AM, so it's empty streets and stop signs for a while. The first challenge, and my first documented feedback (I'm getting paid to do this, did I mention that? But, I have to fill out several pages of evaluation comments), anyway, the first challenge is managing the accelerator at 30 MPH because it takes a very light touch to hold that speed. This vehicle is not made for 30 MPH. It's a little frustrating almost... having 707 horsepower and the morning police is just coming on duty, so you have to behave. I goosed it once and my head went back, picked up another 10 MPH instantly. I mean, instantly. (0-60 time is about 3 seconds, BTW) The sound is a throaty whomp with a touch of thready noise from the supercharger.

Second hour is country driving, Northern MN lakes and woods. It's still dark, and we see deer all the time, so again, not a lot of opportunity to turn it loose. I paged through the controls a little bit more, and found a section for tuning EVERYTHING from steering to suspension, shift points, it's all there and adjustable on the fly. Oddly, there are no fog lights, presumably because of the modified airdam. I wrote that up.

Finally, I got to the highway segment which is 6 hours of divided road, posted for 65 MPH. Our test cars have Michigan manufacturer plates and yellow labels in the corners of the front and back glass. We run upwards of 20 cars at any given time, so law enforcement knows we are trained drivers on the job. They cut us some slack.... we can usually get away with 75 so long as we are driving safely. We do a lot to help them, reporting DUI's and stranded drivers, so it's a mutual thing and we often have coffee together during breaks. So, that's what I have to play with, 0 - 75 MPH.

It's not enough. Not enough to really get to the guts of this vehicle. The acceleration is insane. Any attempt at wide-open-throttle is a trip to crazyland because the limiting factor, all the way to 75 MPH is tire grip. This is hard to explain. There is traction control, so you experience tire chirp at gear changes, but otherwise, it's locked to the pavement. With the traction control turned off, going 65 MPH, if you floor it, you will leave rubber. Oh... BTW, 4-wheel drive, so you will leave rubber with all four 295 tires. Did I say this was insane?

A driver from the group of cars behinds me says she can smell unburned fuel when I take off. That gets written up. Is it possible this thing is running on 7 cylinders and doing this? It kind of explains the rough idle and an exhaust pop I was hearing. There's no check-engine light, so I can keep driving, but there's really not a lot more to say here. It got about 18 MPG with mixed city highway driving. It's a huge engine but it was at < 25% throttle for most of the drive.

By the numbers:
Seating for 5 with ample room for luggage
Towing capacity 7,200 pounds
Top speed 180 MPH (presumably not while towing 7,200 pounds)
Mileage 18 MPG (Premium Gas)
MSRP: $83,000

I'm sorry to say this, but it's not really my favorite car to drive. It was a LOT of fun to drive. Someone could rent these things out by the day and make some good money. If you get the chance, and you can drive one of these for a day and pay less than $200, you should do it. It's like your own personal amusement park ride. Actually, you can if you are near LA or Miami. It's more like $250 per day if you provide insurance.

But, that's kind of the problem. Practically speaking, it's like carrying a blowtorch to light your cigarettes. You have to be careful, all the time. It's a small car with 700 horses, and it's just one of those things, you know, the kids get in a fight in the back, your foot slips on the accelerator and suddenly you are in deep trouble on the road, nosing into the back of a semi or just plain old doing 90 MPH when you didn't intend to. It demands all of your attention, all the time. Let me put it this way: This thing is essentially a street-legal dragster in lamb's clothing. You could take it to the drag strip and really drive some guys nuts.

Yesterday, I drove a Jeep Cherokee Latitude, with a normal 2.4L engine. It was tame by comparison, boring. But, it was easier to drive, and far more forgiving. Honestly, if I had to choose one car or the other for my only vehicle, I'd have to think about it. The maintenance alone on the Hellcat engine is... well, I can't talk about that, there are things I am not allowed to talk about.

One final thought: I have driven everything Jeep makes over the last 9 months. Every model, pretty much every configuration, all 2019 models... Compass, Wranglers, everything, all for at least 8 hour drives. My favorite of all is one I drove late last winter. It was a Grand Cherokee Limited and the 3.0L diesel engine. I got caught on the far end of a blizzard in that one, with a lot of accumulated slush and ice. It just reeked of sure-tracked confidence. It is one of the very few cars I have evaluated that I would seriously consider owning personally.

But, I'm scheduled for Dodge Charger next week. It's a police interceptor model, striped down, and it has the hellcat too. Good times.
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Elite Ranger
Elite Explorer
September 16, 2002
Reaction score
City, State
Virginia Beach, Va
Year, Model & Trim Level
00 4x4 Mounty
I've got a customer with one. He has upgraded the sway bars and added some kind of stiffening bars. He has run 11.9 a few times his first trip to the track. Pretty insane for a production vehicle.