This article should start and end with the word ‘sledgehammer’, simply because that is the only way to describe the Grand Cherokee SRT. It really looks like Jeep took a Grand Cherokee, moved it into Gold Gym’s basement and left it there for 10 years or so. The result is something that looks so big, bulky and intimating, and there is no way you can’t tell that this is no regular rock-hopping Jeep.
At first I did not know what to expect. When you look at it, it’s huge. The sheer size will all but be comfortable with most mere mortals who need to drive it. Live in a complex with a single garage… forget parking it in there… I doubt it would fit. You, my friend, need a mansion. One of those houses with a 10 car garage.
The second generation SRT was launched in 2012 and replaced the rather long-in-the-tooth 1st gen which ran for nearly 6 years. It’s still hugely popular in the US within tuning circles and a modified one can easily break the 1000hp mark. The 2012 model utilized the WK2 platform and now has an entirely new car; a new 6.4l Hemi V8, new drivetrain with launch control and best of all a new interior to match the Germans. It was not long before that was upgraded and in 2014 we saw another facelift with a few other goodies, including a new steering wheel, Uconnect system with Harmon Kardon sound (which replaced the dated MyConnect) an 8 speed ZF transmission with new shifter (from a 6 speed auto)new grill and headlights . Visually the new Grand Cherokee is more aggressive with its LED Based daylight running lamps and black 7 slot grill.
On the inside you have you have a completely redesigned 7 inch speedo cluster which runs just about everything, from you fuel consumption, trip meters, G-force meters, accelerometers and tire pressure monitors. All of it is completely customisable as the user sees fit. A lovely SRT logo greets you when you hit that push start button and, of course, the 300kph speedo.
The leather/suede combo seats are fully heated and fully vented, both front and rear. They are also 8 way adjustable in the front, with 4 way adjustment on the lumbar side. The seating position is good with my only niggle being that my left knee had, on two occasions, bumped the shifter into neutral. Other than that, the interior is of a sport/luxury feel rather than a full-on luxury feel. I really liked the carbon inserts in the dash.
The 19 speaker Harmon Kardon system, with 10” sub, proved to play very well for an OEM system. The USB and Bluetooth integration is standard and a breeze to configure.
At the heart of the beast is a 6.4L V8 making a healthy 345kw and 630Nm. Our 0-100kph came in at 4.6seconds using the on-board computer and launch control. It’s amazing how something weighing in at 2.5 tons can just get up and go like this. Fuel economy is not its best trait, but figures as low as 11.5l/100km was attained at the speed limit on the open road. The SRT has an Eco setting which will shut off 4 cylinders when the power is not needed. This makes a rather big impact on that said fuel consumption. Average day to day driving will see you around the 14l-15l/100km and closer to 20l/100km+ if you get very enthusiastic. Stopping is also a breeze due to the extremely large 6 pot front and 4 pot rear Brembo brakes. Trust me when I say that this thing stops. The 295/55/20” tires give a good amount of grip with a bit of tire squeal every now and then which is expected when you are putting 470horses through them.
The custom Select track lets you dial in specific settings for your needs. Choose from Mud, Snow, Sport or Track (with an Auto too) and it will enable or disable traction control as you need it. In certain setting, like Sport and Track, the damping also gets electronically adjusted.
Speaking of damping, the ride is of a sporty nature, so if you are expecting a Rolls-Royce like ride you are definitely looking at the wrong vehicle. This Jeep is meant to go fast.
This brings me to the overall package. The Jeep has some stiff competition with the likes of the Porsche Cayenne GTS just trailing its price tag by a R100 000 or so. The rest of the gang (ML63, X5M) are nearly R500 000 more expensive in base trim. When you start adding options you things get even more expensive. The Grand Cherokee SRT really proves its value here at a base price of R1099 0000. Sure it’s a little down on power when compared to the Mercedes and BMW rivals, but still has extremely good value for money when it comes to interior specification and options.
For more info, www.jeep.co.za