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I was very happy to see Jeep offer a stand-alone, off-road-oriented model to the Grand Cherokee for 2017, the Trailhawk. This is not the first time for a GC Trailhawk, as they offered a limited run a few years ago to see if there might be a market for such a model. Looks like there is, as there are Trailhawk models for the Cherokee and Renegade, and now the Grand Cherokee as well.

Just to be clear here, Jeep has always offered off-road ready packages (tow hooks, one inch more ground clearance, skid plates) for the Grand Cherokee and Cherokee in the past. They were called "Up Country," or more recently, "Off Road" groups. That was all well and good but, at least where I was living, almost impossible to find. Rarely would you ever find one so-equipped on dealer lots. If you ever saw one on the street, most likely the owner special-ordered it. Having said that, now that I'm living by the beach, I am seeing a few Up Country-equipped older Jeeps; not many, but more than I've seen in the past.

As to the new Cherokee and Renegade Trailhawks; I'm seeing a bunch of them. It took a little while for the public to discover this trim level, but now I see them everywhere. Must be the orange tow hooks?

Speaking of orange tow hooks... I'm not a big fan of them. Tow hooks for sure, orange ones, not so much; same with the matte black hood decal, not a fan. If I were ever to get a Trailhawk, it would be either dark gray or black, as that effectively hides the hood decal.

So Jeep has packaged the Trailhawk as a premium model within each respective model line. While I fully understand the thinking, I do wish Jeep would also offer an entry-level off-road model, one with all the Trailhawk off-road goodness, but minus all the visual and luxury fluff. A lot of off-roaders don't want to pay, or can't pay top dollar for stuff they don't want or need. As to a name, how about "Trail," that being Trailhawk minus the "hawk;" or perhaps "Pioneer?" That's an old name from Cherokees of yesteryear. Back then the Pioneer was positioned as a mid-low level model. I think either name would work well for a back-to-basics-off-road-focused Cherokee and/or Renegade. Content it like the current entry-level Sport or mid-level Latitude models, but include the Trailhawk's off-road prowess. The Grand Cherokee should probably pass on that suggestion, as it would run counter to that model's high-end image.

Related Video:

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk | 2016 New York Auto Show | Beauty-Roll

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