Sports SUV’s I’ve never been a fan of. In the past I’ve driven the BMW X5M, the Range Rover Sport Supercharged, and even had a brief drive in the Mercedes-Benz ML63. All of those suffered from the same problem of being too tightly sprung and hence bounced around all over the place. Plus spending over a $100-grand on an SUV to be used as a performance vehicle just seemed ridiculous.
However, there is a solution and it comes from Jeep. I’m talking about the vehicle I’ve been driving for the last few days, the Grand Cherokee SRT8.
Yes, this is also quite stiffly sprung like the other SUV’s I mentioned before, but I think it still manages to ride better than all of the others. It not too soft and neither is it so tight that it wants to shake your fillings out. Asking for a better ride from this kind of truck would be asking for too much.
You wouldn’t be asking for more power (unless you’re nuts) because it comes with one helluva mean motor as standard; the 6.4-liter, HEMI, V8. In this Grand Cherokee, this motor produces 470-hp and 465-lb/ft of torque. That is enough to propel this two-ton truck from 0-100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds, and top out at 250 km/h. That is seriously fast. Thankfully you also get 15-inch brake discs in the front with a six-piston caliper to bring you to a halt.
Performance numbers is one thing, but the way it makes you feel while driving it is what counts. While it is a big, heavy vehicle, it feels light, eager and even agile in your hands. It even has a “Sport” and “Track” mode that actually works to make this vehicle perform better when asked to entertain. It truly is fun to drive and I like that.
My only gripe is with its archaic five-speed automatic gearbox. It’s not quick enough to utilize the best from its engine, it doesn’t rev-match on downshifts and it honestly needs more gears. I hope Jeep will soon develop a dual-clutch gearbox to go into this vehicle. It would really benefit from that.
Apart from that, I am smitten by this SUV. I love the sound and performance it offers, I like the way it looks, and I love the interior. Not only is there plenty of space in here, but the seats are comfortable, plus it has all the gadgets any normal person would ever want.
On top of that, it isn’t even ludicrously expensive. Base price for the Grand Cherokee SRT8 is $55,095 (in Canada). If you do decide to buy one, please do set aside a sizable amount of money to keep it fueled up, because it averages 17.1-liters/100km.