We're going to get one thing straight right off the bat: The Dodge Demon is undeniably the star of the 2017 New York Auto Show. It takes guts to unleash an automobile designed for the road that's too fast to use on a dedicated race track, and clearly, FCA's got those guts. That out of the way, here's why the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk (also from FCA) is actually a more enticing prospect for nearly anyone looking for a brand-new street-legal muscle car.
Let's talk performance. Yes, the Dodge Demon does 0-60 in 2.3 seconds, and that's way faster than the 3.5-second estimate of the Trackhawk. But, even putting aside the argument that 0-60 measurements are overrated, the Jeep will still hit 60 miles per hour in about the amount of time it takes you to say "zero to sixty in three-point-five seconds." That's not just impressive; it's quicker than a Chevy Corvette Stingray.
You can't talk about performance without also thinking about how easy it is to achieve. To extract the most from the Demon, you'll need race gas, a fresh pair of cheater slicks, a pre-stage burnout to heat up those tires, and enough gumption to keep your foot on the gas even as the front tires lift off the ground. Plus you'll need to plan ahead, building boost and then calling up the trans brake to get all the torque ready for launch. To accomplish the Trackhawk's maximum acceleration, you just need to enable launch control, mash the pedals, and let the all-wheel-drive system work its magic.
Of course the Demon and its sub-10-second quarter-mile time is going to be a wilder ride than the Trackhawk's 11.6-second run at the drag strip (once you've welded a proper roll cage into the Dodge, that is). But, we'd wager that on real roads, in most weather conditions, the Jeep has a pretty decent chance of showing its LED taillights to the Demon in a stoplight-to-stoplight race.
Are all the roads near you straight and flat? If not, the performance envelope of the Trackhawk is going to far exceed that of the Demon. In fact, the regular-grade Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT comported itself rather well the last time we took one for a spin at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX. We expect the Trackhawk to handle twists and turns at least as well as its less-powerful sibling.
Finally, let's briefly consider practicality. Granted, nobody is going to buy either of these vehicles based on their ability to haul people and stuff (especially since the Demon only has one seat in stock form). Still, the Jeep seats five comfortably, has room for a bunch of cargo, and can tow up to 7,400 pounds. The Trackhawk has all the necessary bits and pieces to give it legit daily-driver chops, and the Demon has nothing but a reasonably sized trunk. If you live alone and the only street driving you do is to and from the nearest drag strip, the Demon is perfect. For everyone else, the Jeep makes way more sense.