We try out the Jeep Trackhawk and the Hyundai Venue

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Grand Cherokee goes out with an atomic bang - the Trackhawk
Grand Cherokee goes out with an atomic bang - the Trackhawk


This month, we sample two SUVs that demonstrate how wide the range of options in this body style has become.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Before one generation of a car model bows out, its manufacturer often releases the wildest version of it yet. Take the VW Golf 7.5, for example – the hottest versions of the GTI and Golf R only went on sale in the past year or so, while the arrival of the Golf 8 is imminent.

Over at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, it was decreed that the Grand Cherokee should go out with an atomic bang, thus the Trackhawk was created.

Its supercharged6.2-litre engine makes huge numbers: 522kW of power and 868Nm of toque for a 3.7-second 0–100km/h sprint.

The downside is horrific fuel consumption, and I struggled to use less than 23 litres/100km, even while driving like ugogo.

While the Grand Cherokee is a capable 4x4, it’s too old and off-road focused to be a sports car.

For example, the steering wheel required too many turns lock to lock. This is good for slow, challenging off-road conditions, not for high-speed handling.

That’s where you want the fast, razor-sharp steering of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. And guess what? The next Jeep Grand Cherokee (2021) will use the Stelvio’s platform.

On jeep.co.za, they say “from R2 199 000” for a new Trackhawk, but dealers advertise them for “as low as R1.65 million”. I’d take the Stelvio QV and its Ferrari engine every time.

The smallest of the Hyundai SUVs – the Hyundia Venue

Hyundai Venue 1.0 TGDI Motion

The Grand Cherokee’s longevity and the fact that Alfa Romeo built an SUV are testament to car owners’ fascination with macho cars.

Hyundai keeps cashing in on this trend with its Tucson and Creta, and now the smallest of the Hyundai SUVs – the Venue.

For a Polo Vivo-sized car, it has a spacious interior.

Even the tallest passengers will have headroom in the back, and the luggage area is vast.

The entry-level Venue Motion manual (R285 500) has two airbags, but the rest of the range has six of these crash cushions.

The Motion also misses out on the slick touchscreen that controls infotainment functions, including Apple and Android connectivity.

The Venue’s turbo-charged, 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine sends 88kW and 172Nm to the front wheels only.

Combine that with a car weighing just a little more than a ton and you have a lively performer that merely sips fuel.

It consumed just over 6 litres/100km – about a quarter of what the Grand Cherokee burns.

The Hyundai is also more fun to drive.


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