Time to revisit the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

DSCN2583Last year, when I tested the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, I called it – possibly the best vehicle ever made. That was despite the fact that I loathed its five-speed automatic gearbox.

Apparently Jeep was listening (I’d like to think they took my advice) and decided to rework the vehicle for the 2014 model year. So they tweaked the styling a bit, to make it look meaner, kept the same engine – which was brilliant as it is, changed its instrument cluster – so now it has more functions and looks more modern, and they changed the transmission.

So out goes the old five-speed automatic and in comes a brand new eight-speed automatic gearbox. I won’t keep you guessing as to if it is better than the old gearbox, because it is helluva lot better than the one it replaces.

Where the old transmission jerked and had a delayed response, this new eight-speed box is lighting quick. Leave it on its own, or play with its steering wheel mounted pedal shifters, this transmission responds in an instant. At no point, doing anything did I wish it had a different gearbox, it is that good.

It gets better still. New for 2014, you also get a launch control system, which allows you to make the fastest getaways. Thanks to its on-board computers, it can record your best 0-100 km/h runs (along with other performance measuring scales).DSCN2587 According to Jeep, the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT (they dropped the ‘8’ from its name) can sprint from 0-100 km/h in 4.8 seconds. On a clear, level, empty stretch of tarmac, I got the number down to 4.6 seconds with a quarter tank of fuel. That is seriously quick, in fact, this 2,336 kg sport utility vehicle is quicker than some Porsche’s. It can eat sports cars for dinner because it has a 6.4-litre, V8 engine that produces 470 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. This things is a monster.

As you would expect, the Grand Cherokee SRT also has a monster appetite. During a city only run, where I was enjoying myself a bit, I averaged 22.2 litres/100km. With a more balanced and normal run of city and highway driving (which still included some moments of entertainment), I got the average down to 14.1 litres/100km. That is not bad at all for a vehicle like this.

On top of its straight line performance, this 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT can even handle the corners. Jeep is so serious about its handling, they have given it “Sport” and “Track” modes. Plus they have beefed up the suspension from a normal Grand Cherokee, and given it huge Brembo brakes. This vehicle is not one to mess with, anywhere.

DSCN2589What makes this vehicle just about the best thing on four-wheels is the fact that you can have this level of fun, in a vehicle that has lots of room, lots of gadgets (panoramic sunroof, active cruise control, premium audio with navigation, etc), and yet it still offers a supremely comfortable ride. Honestly, this Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is better than any performance European truck in the market, and it does it at nearly half their price tag.

With a base price of $62,995 (my very well equipped tester was worth $73,910), it sure is not cheap, and due to its massive engine that only likes to drink premium fuel, it won’t be cheap to run either.

But if you can afford this vehicle, you have to get one, because life is just so much better when all your trips are made in this performance SUV.

Any complaints? Yes, I had to give the keys back to Chrysler Canada after one week.

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