This Car Review Is About: A car that embodies every male stereotype when it comes to cars. Brawny, hairy chested, muscle-laden etc thanks to the powerplant and exhaust notes. There are a staggering eight variants of the Grand Cherokee and the SRT is the second from the top behind the slightly harder edged Trackhawk.
How Much Does It Cost?: List prices is $92,450 plus on road costs. Premium paint, such as the Diamond Black Crystal on our review vehicle, is $895. Using the Jeep website, it comes up with a drive-away price of $98,343.Under The Bonnet Is: 6.4L of pure joy. It’s the Hemi V8, one step down from the supercharged 6.2L V8 fitted to the Trackhawk. Running on 98 RON, it produces 344kW and 624Nm of torque at 4,100rpm. But there is a price to pay for that sheer exuberance. Our best economy figure was 12.3L/100km and that on a gentle highway run with a maximum speed of 80kph. The overall average was closer to 16.0L/100km from a 93.0L tank.
Jeep themselves quote 20.7L/100km on the urban cycle, 10.1L/100km for the highway, and 14.0/100km for the combined. the engine has fuel saving technology, effectively running as a V4 on cruise mode.
The transmission here is an eight speed auto, and apart from some staggering when cold, is as good an eight speed auto as you can get. It’s well ratioed to take advantage of the torque, and a 4.9 second sprint to 100kmh backs that up. There is launch control fitted and this dials the engine up to 1,800rpm before flinging the 2,289kg (dry) SRT to the horizon.On The Inside It’s: Packed with the bits and bobs you’d expect from a near $100K machine. There’s carbon-fibre look trim that spreads from door to door, stitched leather look trim on the dash, heated and vented seats, a heated steering wheel, aircon and USB ports for the second row seats, and a thumping Harman Kardon audio system. Front and centre is the UConnect infotainment system that doubles up on some areas with hard press buttons. It’s also home to the drive mode settings that are access from the centre console. There is a dial that provide easy access to the varying programs however it’s the 8.0 inch screen that shows the Street/Sport/Track modes for the engine, suspension, steering, and others, allowing personalisation across the board, so a driver can have Street steering, Sport suspension, and Track transmission.The seats are leather trimmed with the centre section a suede material. It’s immediately a warmer feel to the touch and for cold areas it saves that initial unwelcome cold thrill. The seats do warm quickly, as does the tiller, when activated. The centre console cup holders have blue LED lighting, and a nice convenient feature is the powered steering column. Up front is a 12V socket (one for the rear in the cargo bay) and a pair of USBs. These are hidden under a soft-touch door that’s the same alloy look material as the console.In front of the driver is a full colour LCD screen and Jeep have cleverly sectioned it off to display different kinds of information. The centre is the main dial for the rev counter and displays the launch control information. The left side shows the screen selected info graphic, the right the driven gear, top left the expected range and top right the temperature and more drive mode info. It’s a clever look and most effective, as it directs the driver’s eyes to the important info. Unusually, indication and wipers are on the same stalk, not a left and right lever setup Design wise the dash look is also easy on the eye, and the elegant “W” shape to the actual dash envelopes both front seat passengers.The second row passengers have plenty of room for legs, head, and shoulder, and having independent vents plus their own pair of USB ports emphasises the family friendly aspect of the Grand Cherokee SRT. There’s plenty of cargo space as well, 782L, with access via the standard powered tailgate. Jeep also fit a full sized spare here, thankfully. Oddly, the switch to lower the tailgate isn’t on the base of the door, like everyone else, it’s on the inside left. What this means is that any person pressing that needs to be quick to move out of the way.On The Outside It’s: Big, blocky, and imposing in the black over black colour scheme fitted. The badges are blacked out, the 295/45/20 Pirelli P-Zero rubber wrap blacked alloys, and at 4,846mm in length, it’s up there as one of the bigger SUVs. Having a height of 1,749mm means it stands tall against many and also means stepping into the Grand Cherokee SRT is easy. Wide opening doors also assist here.The bonnet has vents, nostrils, if you like. Unlike nearly everyone else, they’re functional, not merely a plastic garnish. This helps the big engine breathe at speed. The major design look hasn’t really changed in a few years so there are the same slimline headlights with integrated LED indicators, which dim the headlight running lights when activated. Underneath are a pair of LED cornering lamps.On The Road It’s: Largely dependent on which drive mode is selected. Street has a soft suspension feel, and the mass of the Grand Cherokee SRT becomes noticeable. There’s more body movement and at times it was a little stomach-queasy. Latch onto the Sport mode and immediately the big machine settles down, becomes more stable, and feels more controllable via the right foot.
That right foot is also responsible for the volume of the twin exhausts. It’s a muted, distant, rumble from start-up, although with an initial bark. Gentle driving has that subterranean rumble a constant, and it’s when the right ankle flexes in anger, that noise increases in volume and note, changing from that rumble to a full on fight between two lions. There’s a truly astounding feeling experienced as the pitch vibrates the rib cage, whilst simultaneously pinning the body back into the seats. Even with the windows up there is some serious pounding on the ears, and this brings in the hard edged snarl as revs climb.The steering wheel is on the large side, not just in the heft of the wheel but the diameter. It brings a bus-like feel to how the Grand Cherokee SRT is steered, with a more bent armed stance. It’s not uncomfortable but neither is it right for a longer armed sporting drive. This is important as the big tyres would tramline noticeably at times, with the wheel needing constant driver attention to overcome the pull of the rubber on the road.Having a variable suspension made testing them interesting. One long and flat road was home to the changes and it became obvious that the settings will appeal to different driver styles. As mentioned, Street came across as a softer and wallowy style, Sport noticeably tighter and overall our pick. Track goes tighter still and then becomes too jittery, too jarring, even on a relatively flat road. Of course, the name itself strongly hints at where its intended environment lays.Big Brembos haul down the SRT easily, and without fade constantly. The pedal has a light feel to start and progressively feels heavier as the pedal travel increases. Transmission wise, there is the SelecTrack off-road capability however there is no two speed transfer case in deference to its more tarmac oriented engineering.
Economy wise, it can be driven to a limit. On our return journey, the estimated range was 95km. The trip distance is 75km. We arrived at the changeover point with 90km expected range left and an economy of 15.6km/100km…What About Safety?: Jeep has ensured that the range lacks for nothing. Only the entry level model, Night Eagle, misses out on a driver’s kneebag, Blind Spot Monitoring, and Rear Cross path (Traffic) Detection. In a driving sense, the Night Eagle also misses out on the Adaptive Cruise Control. Otherwise, the range, including the SRT gets the full kit of safety features which includes Trailer Sway Control and Rain Brake Support.
What About Warranty And Service?: Five years or 100,000 kilometres with a 12,000 kilometres or 12 month service cycle. Capped priced servicing is $399. Roadside assistance is now standard for the lifetime of the warranty.
At The End of The Drive. Jeep is undergoing a transformation, with a recognition of issues when it comes to customer service. We’ve been on the receiving end of nothing but marvellous service due to two previous review vehicles suffering serious issues.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT exhibited no issues at all. You’d expect that for a vehicle price knocking on $100K. It’s a product for a certain market, and the SRT’s heart is that big V8. It’s both the appeal and the letdown. The appeal because it’s so much fun to listen to, to experience the sheer urge and exuberance of that Hemi. The letdown is simple; that enjoyment is at a price, being how quickly the 6.4L engine can drain the tank.
However that engine shutdown feature can assist and hopefully at another time a proper highway cycle run can be driven, but we did see just how relatively efficient gentle driving could be.