Earlier this week, one of our spy photographers caught this 2020 Jeep® Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with a very interesting hood. The hood appears to be a 3D printed version of the same hood scoop and heat extractor design that is found on models like the Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Widebody, Challenger R/T Scat Pack, and of course the Dodge Durango SRT. While many people believed this might be a Demon-powered Trackhawk in development, our sources are telling us a whole different story.
As many people know, the Jeep® brand is launching two all-new Grand Cherokee models for the 2021 model year. We have talked about both of them in the past here on MoparInsiders, one being a two-row version following the current formula, while the other is a new three-row version similar to the Dodge Durango. While the Grand Cherokee goes to a completely new architecture for 2021, the Dodge Durango does not. Instead, the current Dodge Durango will live on for at least two more model year and be built alongside the all-new Grand Cherokee models at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant (JNAP) in Detroit, Michigan.
So why does the Durango stay on the old platform and not get to go to the new architecture? The Durango’s life has been extended, however, after a couple of model years, the Durango will get to go to the new Wagoneer architecture which is body-on-frame. Yes, Durango will go back to its roots of being truck-based and be a body-on-frame SUV, based on the Ram 1500 (DT) architecture. So what does this have to do with the Trackhawk with the 3D printed hood?
While since there will be a few model years left before Durango’s unibody exit, Dodge//SRT have some big plans for the current Durango. While the Grand Cherokee has both the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 SRT model and a 6.2-liter Supercharged HELLCAT HEMI V8 Trackhawk, Durango most recently was equipped with the 6.4-liter HEMI for a much-awaited SRT model in 2018. Since then, Grand Cherokee has had all the fun with its HELLCAT powertrain. But for those who read MoparInsiders often, we broke the news that a Durango SRT HELLCAT model was in the works and in the future plans, several months ago.
According to our sources, this Trackhawk is simply an engineering feedback mule testing if the Durango style hood can provide cooling to the HELLCAT HEMI engine adequately. Recently, a group of engineers put in a 797 horsepower 6.2-liter Demon HEMI V8 underneath the hood of a Durango SRT and ran the vehicle in the One Lap of America event. The vehicle did superbly and ended up winning its class at the event.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) does a lot of pre-fab work with 3D printing of prototype parts, so it would be an easy thing for engineering to already have a Grand Cherokee Trackhawk which has the HELLCAT do early testing.
We expect to start seeing pre-production prototypes of a HELLCAT-powered Dodge Durango SRT, sometime in early 2020, out on the roads testing. With 2021 Jeep® Grand Cherokee (WL) prototypes out testing now, there is no way we would see a Demon-powered Grand Cherokee making it to production.
Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with Prototype Hood Image Gallery: