Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: August 15, 2017
As far as performance SUVs go, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is certainly one of the most intriguing. It’s not so much what’s on this Jeep’s resume, but moreso how unique it is in this segment. When you look at the BMW X5 M, Mercedes-AMG GLE 63, and Volvo XC90 R-Design, all you see are turbochargers. In fact, the Grand Cherokee SRT has one of the last naturally aspirated engines in this ever changing battlefield: a fire-breathing 6.4-litre HEMI V8 hatched by Khalessi herself.
It’s one hell of an engine, one that sings its own tune, has its own character, and holds its own ground without the help of forced induction. The massive V8 produces a stark 475 hp and 470 lb-ft, with power routed through an 8-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels. This being a Jeep, also means there there’s 4WD but in lieu of being a hot-rod SUV, this Jeep’s clever air suspension and off-road drive modes have been sacrificed to the Moab deities.
Instead, the SRT boasts a launch control feature, track mode, bigger brakes, a stiffer suspension, a lower ride height, and revised steering. For 2017, this Jeep also receives a few cabin upgrades, like the new steering wheel design with leather center cap. It looks and feels more luxurious than the plastic cap it replaces, but I do miss the purposeful SRT script logo. It’s still got the bottom spoke from a Power Ranger’s glove, though. The rest of the cabin is standard SRT fare: carbon fibre accents, optional laguna leather seats, entertainment screens for rear passengers, and a large panoramic roof.
All the media attention right now seems to be surrounding the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, the Hellcat equivalent of this SUV, with a supercharged 6.2-litre HEMI promising more than 700 horsepower. That’s satanic levels of power but I’m certain that the standard Grand Cherokee SRT is more than enough for 90% of customers looking for an exciting five-people hauler.
That’s because the 6.4-litre HEMI is a beast and a half that is never short on power. Pressing the engine start button is like poking a monster in its slumber. The accompanying growl is menacing, while pushing the throttle only makes the little trumpet pipes out the rear get louder. The 8-speed transmission is surprisingly well-tuned - downshifts are mighty quick, almost DCT-like, and it rev-matches with an authoritative growl.
The driving experience is something special. The SRT feels more composed than any Jeep I’ve ever driven, probably due to its lower ride height and stiffened dampers, whereas other Jeeps are mostly concerned with having steeper approach angles. Surprisingly with its weight, the SRT corners without much body roll and feels flat and balanced when thrown into a bend. The steering, though overly light, does offer enough precision to accurately place the SRT where you want it.
The driving position is also excellent - odd since every other Jeep I’ve driven like the Compass, Cherokee, and Renegade, all have terrible seating positions. Those Jeeps had a steering wheel that curved too far upward, and pedals that were too deep in the footwell. This Grand Cherokee has a snug setup, with a steering wheel that is flat-facing and telescopes a good amount toward the driver. There’s even enough room on the windowsill for you to rest your arms.
The suspension needs a bit of work. Though stiff as it is, the SRT wallowed and bounced about when hitting undulations on the road. It’s firm yet unforgiving, and juggles occupants from the left to right, leaving us wanting a well-sorted air suspension instead. It is adjustable, from Street, Sport, and Track, but we didn’t find any setting to be very complaint or comfortable.
How long will it be before the SRT goes turbo? Hopefully not anytime soon. The free breathing V8 gives the SRT such poise, noise, and character, that you just won’t find in any of its turbocharged rivals. Combined with iconic American looks, a spacious interior, and a competitive price tag, the Grand Cherokee SRT asserts itself as one of the most unique high performance SUVs in the segment.
型号 Model: 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT
顏色 Paint Type: Granite Crystal Metallic
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $72,195
試車售價 Price as Tested: $88,340
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,915
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,859 / 2,156 / 1,756
車重 Curb weight (kg): 2,336
引擎 Engine: 6.4L SRT HEMI V8
最大馬力 Horsepower: 475 hp @ 6,000 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 470 lb-ft @ 4,300 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4X4
油耗 Fuel Consumption (City/Highway/Combined)- L/100 km: 18.3 / 12.6 / 15.7
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season - P295/45ZR20