Grand Cherokee gets the Trailhawk treatment
New York — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is expanding its lineup of Jeep Grand Cherokees with a new, off-road Trailhawk model.
The automaker on Wednesday will unveil the 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk as well as a refined Summit luxury model of the full-size sport utility vehicle at the New York International Auto Show.
“With our new Trailhawk and Summit models, Jeep Grand Cherokee becomes even more capable and more luxurious,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand — FCA Global.
The Grand Cherokee is the most recent Jeep to receive the Trailhawk treatment, which was introduced on the 2014 Cherokee. A concept Grand Cherokee Trailhawk debuted at the 2012 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. The idea was to deliver a more rugged appearance, with functional features that resulted in an increased level of off-road 4x4 capability.
“Our Cherokee and Renegade Trailhawk models are among our fastest selling and most sought-after models, and we are following that successful formula to provide consumers even more legendary Jeep 4x4 capability for Grand Cherokee — the most awarded SUV ever,” Manley said.
The new Grand Cherokee Trailhawk and Summit models will arrive in Jeep showrooms in late summer.
The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk model, like the Cherokee and Renegade, include off-road features such as Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II 4x4 system and a special air suspension. Skid plates and a Trailhawk-specific anti-glare hood decal are standard.
The new Trailhawk will wear the seven-slot Jeep grille that debuted on the 2016 Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary edition. Red tow hooks are mounted front and rear. It comes standard with 18-inch wheels; 20-inchers are optional. It gets leather and suede performance seats, red accent stitching and other features unique to Trailhawk models.
The Trailhawk joins the Grand Cherokee lineup as a sixth model for 2017, along with the Laredo, Limited, Overland, Summit and SRT.
The redefined top-range Summit luxury model gets an updated front fascia, grille and LED fog lamps, with new 20-inch polished aluminum wheels. It also features additional chrome on the grille and other exterior accents.
Changes to the Summit’s interior include a full-wrap Laguna leather interior, including Nappa leather-wrapped dashboard, center console and door panels. All Summit models come with a suede headliner, lighted door sill, acoustic windshield and a host of standard active safety and convenience features.
Michelle Krebs, Autotrader.com senior analyst, said it’s smart for Jeep to offer as many Grand Cherokee models as possible.
“There just seems to be no limit to the luxury and technology features that people want in vehicles and they’re willing to pay for,” she said. “Especially sport utilities, people seem to be willing to pack them with features and that’s great for the automakers. It boosts the average transaction price and the profit margin.”
Jeep Grand Cherokee sales rose 7 percent to 195,598 units in the U.S., as the brand recorded its fourth-consecutive year of record global sales. The Grand Cherokee was Jeep’s second best-selling model globally, trailing only the less expensive Cherokee.
The automaker did not announce pricing for the new Trailhawk or redesigned Summit. The 2016 Grand Cherokee Summit started at roughly $50,000. The Trailhawk models for the Cherokee and Renegade models are priced $2,000 and $1,625 above their respective Limited models, which started at roughly $37,400 for the 2016 model year.