Skip to main content

Unless it’s a luxury vehicle, your typical SUV isn’t that powerful. Vehicles like the Chevrolet Traverse and Hyundai Palisade have ample cargo capacity, seating space, and many gadgets inside. However, when it comes to overall power and acceleration, they can’t compete with SUVs from the likes of Porsche or BMW.

One car stands out as a notable exception: the Jeep Cherokee Trackhawk. While it’s definitely not the cheapest on the market, it’s far more inexpensive than powerful luxury SUV competitors. What makes this particular Jeep so special is its superior engine. Let’s look at the Trackhawk’s rivals and see if it really is the most powerful SUV.

The Lamborghini Urus

The Urus has a twin-turbo V8 engine capable of 641 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. On Car and Driver’s test track, it easily accelerated from 0-60 mpg in just a little over three seconds. Testers also noted that the Urus does an excellent job turning tight corners and making sudden stops.

Inside its faux-suede cabin, there are levers that activate different drive modes and carbon-ceramic brakes. Along with street and track modes, there are a few settings for off-roading adventures: sand, snow, and dirt. Technology is also plentiful inside the Urus: there are two center touchscreens, a charging pad for your phone, and built-in GPS.

The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid

This plug-in SUV is a more powerful version of the Cayenne Turbo. Together, the extra electric motor and standard twin-turbo engine generate an impressive 670 hp and 633 lb-ft of torque. The electric engine adds 475 pounds to the Turbo’s curb weight, but that doesn’t deter its speed in any way.

The Turbo Hybrid’s best 0-60 time is reportedly 3.6 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono package. However, during testing, the testers at Car and Driver were able to reach 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. It doesn’t have any off-road drive settings, but it does come with air springs for better ground clearance. You can also get rear-wheel steering and a performance exhaust system for an upcharge.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk really is the most powerful SUV

The Trackhawk has the same engine found in the Dodge Hellcats: a beastly V8 capable of 707 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque. For comparison, the base Grand Cherokee only has 3.6-liter V6 engine capable of 295 hp. Acceleration in the Trackhawk is excellent: 0-60 in just 3.5 seconds.

The Trackhawk even gets the Launch Control function to quickly rocket itself away from the starting line. An adaptive suspension, larger transfer case, high-performance tires, and Brembo brakes are all standard. The only downside is low gas mileage, but the trade-off is probably worth it if you’re more concerned with performance.

Like all Jeeps, the Trackhawk is still a master at off-roading. It comes with standard Selec-Trac, which has various driving modes for rough terrain. An optional tow package adds towing modes, allowing the Trackhawk to pull up to 7,200 pounds. Quadra-Trac is also included, featuring a rear electronic limited-slip differential and a mechanical wet clutch.

Along with its impressive speed, the Trackhawk also has an interior fit to match its luxury counterparts. Nappa leather sports seats are standard with heating and ventilation. An Alpine premium sound system and a panoramic sunroof are also available. 

Technology is well up-to-date with adaptive cruise control, smartphone integration, a large touchscreen, Wi-fi hotspot, and built-in navigation. The Trackhawk also has both USB ports and a traditional outlet for charging your devices. When fully loaded, the Trackhawk can cost around $90,000. Still, considering its Porsche-level performance, this price tag is definitely a bargain.