NAPA, CA — It’s an amazing time to be an auto lover. It seems as if we have an endless bounty of great vehicles with more power than ever before to choose from. The two SUVs in this article are priced about the same (roughly $90K) and would seemingly attract a similar customer. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk uses outright brute force for thrills whereas the Jaguar F-Pace SVR has some sold power but perhaps a bit more refinement. Let’s check it out.
Start those engines:
Trackhawk: The Jeep engineers took the supercharged V8 from the Dodge Hellcat cars and dropped it in this Grand Cherokee. All 707 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque power the all-wheel-drive system. The only available transmission is the included 8-speed which does an amazing job of slamming through gears swiftly and smoothly.
Look for 0-60 times in the 3.5-second range. Jeep’s all-wheel-drive system helps ensure maximum traction during hard acceleration and also does extremely well off-road (with the right tires). Towing capacity is rated at 7,200 pounds and vehicle weight is 5363 lbs.
F-Pace SVR: Using the same engine as the F-Type SVR, this 550 horsepower V8 is also supercharged and has 502 lb-ft of torque. Power is delivered by way of a ZF 8-speed transmission with paddle-shifters. You’ll find that it breezes through the gearing very adeptly and seems to always be in the right gear at any given time.
With the factory-issued Pirelli Scorpion Zero all-season tires, look for 0-60 times in the 4-second range.
Thankfully, there are aftermarket performance tires available. Jaguar has reworked its all-wheel-drive system for the 2019 model year and you’ll find that it not only provides for excellent rapid take-offs but makes short-work of inclement weather as well. Jaguar rates the towing capacity at 5291 pounds and the vehicle weight is 4395 pounds.
Trackhawk: Outside of the wheels, yellow Brembo brake calipers and hood vents – there aren’t many distinguishing aesthetic differences between the Trackhawk and other Jeep Grand Cherokees. That’s kind of a cool thing as it helps make this SUV more of a “sleeper” out there on the roads – it’s sure to surprise most anyone who thinks it’s simply another “ordinary” Grand Cherokee.
Styling is masculine but reserved. Fancy enough for a night out to town and yet still a speedy ride for the “soccer mom” in a hurry.
F-Pace SVR: Like the Jeep, there are only a few design-cues on this SVR that help it stand out. Obviously, our test unit’s “Ultra Blue” color which looks stunning, the 22-inch wheels, brake calipers, and larger front air intakes. Other than that, the F-Pace has a rather conservative style to it.
While still being well-stated and refined, we’d love to see a more aggressive look in future models.
Moving to the inside:
Trackhawk: Jeep definitely puts its best handiwork into the Trackhawk. You’ll find top-shelf stitched leather seating and aluminum weave inlays with an overall modern yet comfortable feel. It’s 825-watt Harman/Kardon audio system provides excellent fidelity, with solid bass response, strong mids and clear highs.
The UConnect-powered infotainment center with an 8.4-inch screen, provides an easy-to-use navigation system, support for AM/FM/XM Satellite, CD, MP3, and Bluetooth audio. Its touch-screen is very easy to use and has a quick response time with nearly zero lag while moving around the menus.
One of the coolest features, however, is its built-in performance applications. They allow the driver to adjust the launch control by setting the RPM level you want it to launch at. In addition, there are built-in measurements for 0-60 times as well as the quarter-mile. Jeep also lets you custom adjust the performance dynamics of the suspension and powertrain.
While you might not feel inclined to off-road the Trackhawk, its underpinnings are still a Jeep through and through. This means there is an adjustable AWD system that you can set to the various terrain types. Of course, you’ll want appropriate tires for off-roading, but its capability is still there.
The front seats are very comfortable with excellent support and are power-adjustable. The rear seats, while comfortable, don’t have tons of legroom.
F-Pace SVR: Because it is an “F” model and from the SVR team at Jaguar, you’ll find similar surface materials in this F-Pace SVR as you’d find in an F-Type SVR. Lots of carbon fiber, racing-style bucket seats upfront with a great-looking pattern on them and the same shifter as the F-Type. Everything in the cabin screams performance luxury and to that end, Jaguar has mostly nailed it.
The primary weak-spot is the now-dated looking InControl Touch infotainment system with a 10-in display. While it does use high-powered Meridian audio, known for excellent performance, the mapping and overall look/feel seems a bit dated compared to the competition.
On-board navigation is standard as is support for AM/FM/XM satellite radio, mp3, CD and Bluetooth streaming audio. While the navigation system is rather intuitive, the mapping system and overall bland look to the screen, are in need of an update.
Its seats are quite comfortable and provide excellent support, even on road trips. Rear seating is also very good for two adults, with ample leg and headroom as well as a comfy middle armrest.
Trackhawk: Cutting to the chase, the Trackhawk feels like an SUV dragster. From the growl of its sweet-sounding exhaust to the sheer exhilaration one experiences when you smash the pedal to the metal – pure adrenaline. There simply is not a faster SUV in production, today. You’ll see 60 miles per hour in well under 4 seconds and the quarter-mile in under 12 seconds. The best part is just how manageable the vehicle stays while driving it hard. The exhaust notes beckon you to push it hard.
As far as handling goes, the Trackhawk feels quite nimble, despite its weight. Jeep has done a great job of giving it solid cornering ability. You’ll find the Brembo brakes help it come to a hard stop in no time at all.
There’s a very empowering feeling one gets while driving the Trackhawk. It seems so silly to your sensibilities yet oh so much fun. You’ll look for reasons to drive it. Look for reasons to pass other cars. It’s a comfortable Jeep experience that will make grown men giggle like little girls, once they feel its acceleration.
Of course, all of this fun comes at a premium when it comes to fuel consumption. While the EPA rating is 11 around town and up to 17 on the highway, we averaged only around 12 mpg overall during our week with it. Then again, if you’re buying a 707 horsepower vehicle, you’re not buying it to save on fuel.
F-Pace SVR: While the F-Pace doesn’t have the power of the Trackhawk, it’s not a slow vehicle by and stretch. What it lacks in power, it sort of makes up for in the drama from its glorious exhaust. If there’s one thing Jag knows how to do, is create the best-sounding exhaust notes going. Inside, there’s a toggle switch that opens up exhaust baffles to allow its full growl unleash. You’ll hear it roar and spit during downshifts. There’s really nothing quite like it. It simply sounds pissed off. And we love it. It’ll pass most other vehicles with ease, get you to 60 in about 4-seconds flat and run the quarter-mile in the low 12-second range.
It doesn’t have as hard of a ride as the Trackhawk and that’s what helps make it a bit more civil to drive around town. But when you need the power, you’ll find that he SVR can send 100 percent of its power to the rear wheels which we really love. It handles corners like a champ with minimal body roll. It does have some under-braking, however.
As far as fuel economy is concerned, the EPA rates it at 16 around town and up to 22 on the highway. However, in our week with it, we averaged about 18 combined. Yes, we fully admit that we had a hard time keeping our foot “out of it”.
There are some easy takeaways in this head-to-head. First, the Trackhawk is definitely the one to pick, if you’re a power-junkie and want the fastest SUV going with some good creature comforts. There simply is not a faster stock SUV anywhere. Yes, it’s silly, and yes maybe even “stupid” but it’s a “stupid” we love and are delighted that Jeep has it in production. It’s squarely aimed at gear heads and car buffs. It’s unapologetically brazen and we hope that never changes. It lives up to its “Trackhawk” moniker and over-delivers for what it’s designed to do.
Meanwhile, the Jaguar F-Pace SVR shares some similar driving dynamics as the Jeep Trackhawk in that it’s a supercharged V8 experience but it’s going to appeal to those who perhaps want things a bit more civilized. Better fuel economy perhaps looks a little more “hip” to drive to the Opera. It has a bit more rear leg-room as well.
While looks are subjective, the thought for many, of driving a stylish English SUV with gobs of power sublime exhaust notes and still haul the family around, has a strong appeal.
No matter if you pick the outright brawn of the Trackhawk or the bit more civilized F-Pace SVR, you can’t go wrong. The prices of our test vehicles were each around $90,000 dollars.
Performance winner: Jeep Trackhawk
Styling winner: Jaguar F-Pace SVR
Interior quality winner: Jaguar F-Pace SVR
Handling winner: Jeep Trackhawk
Braking winner: Jeep Trackhawk
Fuel economy winner: Jaguar F-Pace SVR