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Car and Driver: Jeep Trailcat Is the 707-hp Hellcat-Powered Wrangler from Hell

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Trailcat

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Everyone, please welcome the 707-hp Jeep Wrangler you didn’t know you were waiting for yet secretly hoped Chrysler would someday build. The Jeep Trailcat, created for Jeep’s 50th annual Easter Safari fan fest in Moab, Utah, has between its frame rails the very same supercharged V-8 Hellcat engine that has been decimating Dodge Challenger and Charger tires since 2014. This is the best worst idea ever!

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You can figure out where the Trailcat name came from, so we’ll skip that explanation and get right down to the important issue here: This Wrangler has a Hellcat engine, and it’s bolted to a six-speed manual transmission (!). That’s the only data point that matters. Jeep says it lengthened the Trailcat’s wheelbase by 12 inches over that of a regular Wrangler to help the engine fit, or maybe to try to imbue this monster with some dynamic civility. But really, why even try?

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Colossal 39.5-inch BFGoodrich Krawler T/A tires and Fox shocks perch the Jeep even farther above the pavement, and there are precisely zero aerodynamic elements added to the body to help this misshapen Titan missile tumble through the air. Since we imagine any high-speed run in the Trailcat would feel like riding a Hellcat-powered knuckleball, it’s probably a good thing Jeep sourced well-bolstered bucket seats from the Dodge Viper to hold occupants in terror-filled situ.

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A custom shift knob with the Hellcat logo on it, a two-inch-lower windshield, a domed and vented hood, LED headlights, and rock rails round out the Trailcat’s remarkably short list of modifications.

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Jeep modestly claims the Trailcat is “equally at home on Moab’s rugged trails or a high-speed section.” We’d say the Hellwrangler is also at home on any common health-hazard list, and yet, we desperately want to drive the thing. It doesn’t matter to us that donning a meat suit and locking ourselves in a tiger cage seems like a safer alternative. The Trailcat is Jeep’s challenge to every car nut’s sense of invincibility and skill. We’re in.

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The vehicle might seem unhinged, but you could almost call the Trailcat’s gestation predictable. Ever since the Hellcat engine debuted two years ago, we’ve jokingly prodded Fiat Chrysler reps and engineers to “Hellcat all of the things,” to stuff that beastly engine into everything from a Fiat 500 to a Ram pickup. But then Fiat Chrysler’s design chief tweeted a sketch of a Hellcat-powered Chrysler Pacifica minivan—in jest, we think—and rumors of a Hellcat-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT model turned out to be true. What’s next? A Fiat 124 Spider with a Hellcat, to fill the void left since Carroll Shelby stopped turning out original Cobras? But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here—and away from the 50th running of the Easter Jeep Safari, where the Trailcat is sure to be a hit.

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