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  • That monster 6.4-litre Hemi V8; muscle-car engine note; it\'s quick; flat cornering; loads of features and tech; cabin space; towing capacity; outstanding value for money
  • Very thirsty; firm ride; some cheap plastics

OUR RATING
8 / 10



Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review

The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT may be able to haul arse – to use a colloquial phrase common in its native America – but it’s one of few fast cars that can also tow up to three tonnes.

Although the flagship SRT launched here in 2012, the big news for this year is the addition of an eight-speed automatic to replace the five-speed unit that was the original’s biggest flaw.

At a very tempting $77,000 plus on-road costs, the SRT continues as the flagship model in the Grand Cherokee line-up. Curiously, however, it is only a relatively small step up from its $71,000 Overland sibling.

Forget about turbos and superchargers because size is the name of the game here. Under the bonnet, the SRT (short for Street Racing Technology) packs a whopping 6.4 litres of pure old-school American muscle.

The Jeep’s 344kW/624Nm V8 Hemi, now paired with that German-made ZF eight-speed auto, can shift this 2336kg monster from zero to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds – as quickly as a PDK-equipped Porsche Cayman S.

However, there are several equally formidable contenders in the exclusive go-fast SUV segment, although all of these command a sizeable premium over the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.

Rival models include the $133,900 BMW X5 50i (5.0 second 0-100km/h), the $161,600 Range Rover Sport V8 HSE Dynamic (5.3sec), the $179,045 Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG that shares some platform DNA with the SRT (4.8sec) and the quicker $222,100 Porsche Cayenne Turbo (4.7sec) – all of which use forced induction to generate additional power over their less powerful counterparts.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review

The SRT’s in-house rival is the 5.7-litre V8 Grand Cherokee Overland and while its certainly not slow, it’s just not in the same league as its powerhouse sibling.

There’s no confusing the SRT Jeep with the standard Grand Cherokee – from the super-wide Pirelli run-flats on all-four corners shadowing the equally massive Brembo brakes (six-pot up front, four-pot down back), to the properly functional heat extractors either side of the bonnet bulge – this thing has got high-performance stamped all over it.

For 2014, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT boasts a much-improved cabin design over the previous iteration, with plenty of stitched leather and real carbonfibre accents to satisfy the enthusiasts.

However, while soft-touch materials abound inside the SRT, there are also a few hard plastics that have a decidedly cheap look-and-feel to them. It’s no deal breaker, but it does expose the Jeep’s non-premium origins.

Along with its bona fide performance credentials, the SRT also boasts a feast of technology, as well as a virtual A-to-Z catalogue of luxury features.

Highlights include the Nappa leather and suede seats (heated and cooled front, and heated rear), SRT-design heated leather steering wheel with paddleshifters, 8.4-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, seven-inch customisable gauge cluster, power tailgate, adaptive bi-xenon headlamps, rear-view camera with front and rear parking sensors, dual-pane panoramic sunroof and Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review

Uconnect functions such as making or answering phone calls and sending and receiving text messages can be activated by voice commands, once the user’s smartphone is connected to the system via Bluetooth.

While the standard-fit 11-speaker sound system produces a perfectly reasonable note, it simply doesn’t compare to the $1200-optional 825-watt, 19-speaker Harman Kardon unit. Comprising nine tweeters, five mid-range speaker, two mid-woofers and three subwoofers, the audio hits the ear like a front row seat at a live concert.

There’s also something called SRT Performance pages, which displays performance data on the centre screen. For example, drivers can call-up a series virtual gauges that monitor things like g-forces, lap times and quarter-mile acceleration runs (handy if you intend taking your SRT to the Drag strip – watch this space) at the touch of a button.

As a full-size SUV, the SRT also boasts plenty of cabin space including a large boot area, as well as 60/40-split second row seats that fold almost flat. We easily loaded a 29-inch mountain bike (without removing the front wheel).

While the SRT’s cockpit is certainly a nice place to spend some time, it’s that killer engine under the bonnet that tends to dominate the driving experience.

Hit the bright red start button and the 6.4L hemi immediately settles into a classic muscle car-style burble that merely teases its potential fury.

Mated to a hair-trigger throttle, even medium-weight prods can produce neck-snapping acceleration from low revs.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review

Drop the right boot, though, and the big SRT squats down before a catapult-like blast-off, as well as a soundtrack to rival some of the world’s best sports cars.

Just don’t expect to light up the extra-wide Pirellis down the back – even in the hard-core track mode. That’s despite 70 per cent of the engine’s torque being delivered to the rear wheels in this setting.

It’s all down to the Jeep’s instant all-wheel-drive traction and electronic limited-slip differential, which effectively eliminates any potential tyre-frying moments.

It’s smooth, too, with the eight-speed transmission changing gears with the same effortlessness as a high-end Euro sedan.

To fully unleash the SRT’s rage though, simply knock the electronic shift lever down a notch to the Sport mode and tap the paddleshifters for quicker and more intense cog swapping along with rev-matched throttle blipping on the downshift.

If you’re at the track, we suggest you take full advantage of the SRT’s Launch Control feature for the fastest straight-line acceleration runs. As with many systems, press the dedicated button, left foot on the brake (with engine idle settling at 2000rpm), drill the right pedal, raise your left foot again, and you’re gone.

However, fuel economy is another feature that probably won’t be top-of-mind for the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT’s target audience. This is one hell of a thirsty beast, no matter how gentle you are with the throttle.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review

Even trundling around in the dedicated Eco mode with cylinder deactivation at its most ‘green’ we still had an average fuel consumption reading of 19.6L/100km. Floor it, and you’ll see the instant consumption meter climb to 99.9L/100km.

The Jeep’s Selec-Trac drive-mode control also manages the SRT’s adaptive suspension system and while the default ‘auto’ mode provides the most comfortable (but firm) ride, the Sport and Track settings could be more aptly labeled as firmer and rock hard, in the case of the latter.

The upside is that you can seriously punt this thing into corners without so much as a single degree of roll – or so it feels. It’s an impressive performance for something that resembles an apartment block on wheels and is further enhanced by the SRT’s solid grip levels.

Apart from the boat-like 3.6-turns from lock-to-lock, the Jeep’s old-school hydraulic power steering system is a welcome change from the more common electric units, given there’s decent feedback through the steering wheel. Tight car parks can mean lots of arm twirling, however.

Braking performance is exceptional. The six-piston Brembo calipers at the front and four-piston Brembos at the rear not only stop the heavyweight SUV with authority, but the brake pedal is firm and very trustworthy – even in the wet.

Along with the brakes, the SRT also gets the latest safety tech including Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Cross Path Detection and Forward Collision Warning, which alerts the driver to rapidly approaching traffic and automatically applies brake if the driver ignores the visual and audible warnings.

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review

If you’re after a luxury SUV that delivers ballistic straight-line performance on a budget, then there’s only one choice, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.

While the competition may boast more refinement and more brand cachet (for some) they won’t be any less practical than this weapons-grade Jeep.


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JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE BREAKDOWN

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
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  • Chad

    American muscle.

    • AUSDAVIDZ

      Well its Italian owned so maybe not… :-)

      • No Idea

        shakes head at ignorance

        • Nav

          Isn’t it (Chrysler) owned by Fiat?
          But that still doesn’t make it any less “American”.

  • Adeel

    I used to own a C63. Magnificent car. After moving to Australia from the UK and finding out the astronomical prices of high spec euro cars, I decided to try the Jeep srt. I had the 2012 5 speed at first which was good but clearly let down by its agricultural transmission. I recently upgraded to the 2014 model with the 8 speed and have to say it compares very well with my beloved ex C63. Fantastic engine, great comfort (firm ride but way better than the amg) and practical for the family. Overall I couldn’t be happier with my purchase. Can’t wait to try the 300 srt when it gets the 8 speed :)

  • Wilbur

    Great ad. Lots of grunt, so the thirst is expected. Seems to be pretty good value for money.

  • john

    The engine note makes me grin every time.

  • Brett

    Way to go using the right hand lane to overtake the other non-existent cars. Good way to set the example Car Advice. All Adelaide drivers have just been vindicated.

    • Jack Fast

      These guys didn’t touch any lines in the video I just watched and as far as I know, it’s perfectly legal to change lanes, so what’s your problem. Did you have a comment or even an opinion on the SUV they reviewed?

      • AUSDAVIDZ

        He is gay, get over it

        NEXT!

  • Sam

    I have already decided to buy myself a mid-life-crisis car when I turn 40 in a few years time. I have my hopes pinned on a new Dodge Challenger SRT, which I am hoping will be available in Australian Showrooms by 2017…..I tell you what though, if its not, a Jeep Grand Chersokee SRT might be just the ticket. I really, really, want a V8 Hemi….like, really! really!

    • Rick

      I’m like you , hoping for the challenger. Or even a manual Chrysler 300 srt8 would do

  • AUSDAVIDZ

    This engine in this heavy SUV is crazy [i like it all the same]
    What it shows is that there is a market for BIG engines
    What Chrysler need to do is bring out its Coupe with this donk, would sell and fight the Mustang which is on its way here

  • AUSDAVIDZ

    This for all you guys who worship [alleged] “high tech” [thats u zyk]
    P U S H R O D S!!
    Roll on “HellCat” factory supercharger and near 700HP!!!

  • Rob

    Similar performance to European luxury SUVs at half the price. Gee those badges must cost a lot!

  • Bryan

    Does the SRT retain any of the Grand Cherokee’s off-road ability or is it strictly a GT car now? Also, does the engine have the cylinder deactivation technology that some V8′s have? If so, the fuel economy might be acceptible – not great but acceptible.

    • Phil

      It’s still quite capable of off road use, though you might want more suitable tyres than the Pirelli Scorpions. It probably wouldn’t articulate as well as the base models given the suspension changes, but then if that’s your priority you’d buy a Wrangler. IIRC, the lower spec Hemi (5.7L) has MDS but not the SRT. It’s a thirsty beast, but the price difference between it and its competitors buys a lifetime supply of fuel.

      • Bandit

        SRT has MDS as stated in the review

      • Realist2

        So what are it’s ‘competitors’ ?

        • Phil

          Range Rover Sport V8sc, Merc ML63, BMW X5 V8, and the Porsche Cayenne GTS.

  • worms

    Just finished a 4500km trip from Queensland to Melbourne and back in my 2 week old Jeep GC SRT. Averaged 11.2 litres per 100km for the trip which included some spirited overtaking and some lovely hilly punts through the Dandenong Ranges and Blue mountains. The hillier the terrain the lower the economy. But that sort of economy from a 2.5 tonne ballistic missile is incredible. Bloody comfortable to boot. Had to keep turning the stereo down on overtaking to listen to that glorious engine note:-)

    • Babyface Phil

      I think the GC SRT is brillaint, but if money was no object; a Range Rover Sport or would you stick with the SRT?

      • worms

        Haven’t driven a Range Rover Sport, but we do have a diesel BMW X5. The GC SRT is a bit coarser with a fair amount of tyre noise (the cranking Hardmon Karmon stereo overcomes that), and in every other respect it is a better drive and far better equipped. The touchscreen with all its features is simply brilliant, with the easiest to use satnav on the market. I leased the SRT for 3 years as it has a 3 year warranty (I still have Jeep reliability concerns). At first I thought that I would keep the SRT for the 3 years and then trade it on a new X5 M50D. Except for the much better fuel economy the BMW is just nowhere near the fun and exhilaration to drive. I think the trade will be back to another GC SRT. And its fuel economy is nowhere near as bad as what the above review makes it out to be, so far the overall average is 13.9l/100km.

        • Babyface Phil

          Thanks for sharing! I’ll most likely never be able to drive anything more fancy than my second hand MINI Cooper so I really like hearing from people that own these machines!

Jeep Grand Cherokee Specs

SRT 8 : 6.4L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 8 SP AUTOMATIC - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 4D WAGON
Car Details
Make
JEEP
Model
GRAND CHEROKEE
Variant
SRT 8
Series
WK MY14
Year
2014
Body Type
4D WAGON
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
6.4L
Cylinders
V8
Max. Torque
624Nm @  4100rpm
Max. Power
344kW @  6250rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
147.3W/kg
Bore & Stroke
103.9x94.5mm
Compression Ratio
10.9
Valve Gear
OVERHEAD VALVE
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
8 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive Type
4x4
Final Drive Ratio
3.7
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
91
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
14L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
2336
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1764mm
Length
4822mm
Width
1943mm
Ground Clearance
205mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:2268  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.3
Front Rim Size
10x20
Rear Rim Size
10x20
Front Tyres
295/45 R20
Rear Tyres
295/45 R20
Wheel Base
2915
Front Track
1628
Rear Track
1634
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Heated Front Seats
Control & Handling
Adaptive Damping Control, Air Suspension, 20 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Stability Program, Hill Holder
Driver
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel
Engine & Transmission
Limited Slip Differential
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Comfort
Rear seat enhancement pack
Other
Service Interval
6 months /  12,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
10-O-19
Country of Origin
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA