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Review: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 4×4

Tuesday October 8th, 2013 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Beautifully Constructed Street Fighter
Gripes: Poor Detents on Center Console Gear Change Stick

Forget everything you thought you knew about Jeep quality. Long gone are the days when the interior of a Grand Cherokee resembled the lobby of a Motel 6. When you gain admittance to the cockpit of the new Grand Cherokee SRT, you’re more likely to think Ritz than 6. Chrysler has managed to elevate the SRT experience to a level of gratification previously reserved for Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5 and Audi Q7 owners. Swing open the door and you’ll observe a distinctly European mode of finish, trim and appointment that will stagger your sensibility. For example, almost every seam from the top of the dash to the bolsters of the seats is double stitched with white thread for a custom tailored look. Instead of phony wood dash inserts, Chrysler provides carbon fiber slashes to the door panels and dash face that look just right with the purposeful, supportive SRT-embroidered front seats. Best of all the competition inspired touches is the Launch Control panel on the center console which allows you to program the SRT for instant departure when the light turns green. Backing up the track-ready promise of this Jeep, Chrysler has provided a series of performance measurements available via steering-wheel toggled menu: 0-60mph; 1/8 and 1/4 mile acceleration times; peak lateral and longitudinal G-Forces; instant peak G-Forces; Braking Distance from 60mph to zero.

In case you’re wondering why a mass production 4×4 requires such meticulous performance documentation, think of the SRT version of the Cherokee as a race truck first and a passenger Jeep second. Just look at the specification sheet and you’ll get the idea. Instead of the base Cherokee ‘s 290hp V-6, or optional 360hp V-8, the SRT harnesses Chrysler’s top HEMI V-8, the 6.2 liter monster that produces 470hp and 465 lb.-ft. of torque. Couple that prodigious output to a paddle-shifted, 8HP70, 8-speed automatic gearbox that will hold any gear as long as you like when manual mode is selected. The gearbox also tunes itself to your preferred style of driving within the first 300 miles of operation. Adding to the joy of such extensive gear selection are the extra-large alloy paddles affixed to the superbly designed sports steering wheel. This SRT wheel features a tactile lower quadrant formed from buffed aluminum feeding into side grips of perforated leather with deep thumb indentations.

Jeep did not stint on premium suspension apparatus to cope with the engine’s humbling horsepower. The front geometry features independent short/long arm design modulated by adaptive Bilstein gas dampers, while rear architecture consists of multiple links, adaptive Bilsteins, and adjustable toe links. Front and rear sway bars maintain equilibrium, and Jeep’s patented Selec-Trac works with the Bilstein dampers to provide 5 ride settings: Tow/Snow/Normal/Sport/Track. These refined suspension bits feed thrust through new 5-spoke SRT-specific “Goliath” 20 inch diameter polished alloy rims supporting huge Pirelli P Zero run flat tires (295/45 ZR20 all around). Equally impressive Brembo disc brakes – 15 inch, 6 piston front, 13.78 inch, 4 piston rear – haul this monster truck down from its top speed of 160mph.

From the outside, the SRT is all nostrils and gill slits, meaner than a catfish, more purposeful than an MP. Yet the whole design blends together so successfully that unless you’re super-attuned to Cherokee variants, this super Jeep could easily pass muster as a common grocery getter. After all, it still has all the attributes to fulfill that prosaic occupation. The rear tailgate is power assisted to lift or shut at the press of your key fob remote. The rear seat will hold 3 in a pinch, 2 comfortably, and provide them with A/C outlets, heated seats, and reclining backrests to boot. The Panorama sunroof enlightens front and back seat occupants with its generous sweep, and visibility to the rear and sides is unusually informative for an SUV of this type.

The Grand Cherokee in SRT trim is expensive, at $69.470, but worth every dollar when you compare it to its competition. For an equivalent performer from Porsche, BMW or Audi, you’ll easily spend twice as much as the outlay for this Jeep. And to my eyes, none of these German canons look as good as the finely fluted, flying new Cherokee.

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 4×4

  • Engine: 6.2 liter HEMI V-8 with Fuel-Saver Technology
  • Horsepower: 470hp @ 6,000rpm
  • Torque: 465 lb.-ft. @4,300rpm
  • Fuel Consumption: 13 MPG City/19 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $69,470
  • Star Rating: 9.5 out of 10 Stars

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2013 Grand Cherokee Overland 4×4 Review

Saturday March 30th, 2013 at 8:33 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Primo Looks, Handling, Practicality
Gripes: Flat-Backed Seats, Manual Steering Wheel Adjust

It took 4 days before I realized that this Jeep was not black, but green. “Black Forest Green,” to be exact, a shade so elusive that it only reveals its verdance in direct sunlight. Unlike its paint – which has a visual sweet spot about one millimeter wide – the Grand Cherokee’s sweet spot is a mile wide. Here’s a do-everything SUV from a company that still has the guts to offer it with a spanking V8. In fact, you can optionally order not only the 360hp, 5.7 liter V-8 of our test Jeep, but also a 6.4 liter V-8 which produces 470hp in the SRT8 model. For those of you more concerned with economy than performance, Jeep’s base motor for the Grand Cherokee is a 3.6 liter V-6 good for 290hp, as well as a just-introduced 3 liter diesel which makes 240hp, 420 lb.ft. of torque, and returns 28 MPG.

Although combined city/highway fuel economy of the 5.7 liter V-8 is a modest 15 MPG, this engine, coupled to a 6-speed automatic, is a perfect match for the Cherokee’s 4,470 lb. curb weight. The V-8 option adds $2,195 to the Jeep’s $43,595 base price. But the engine upgrade also includes a bevy of valuable extras that are essential if you plan to tow: 220 amp alternator, heavy duty ABS disc brakes, heavy duty engine cooling, and trailer tow group IV, which includes hitch and wiring. Another worthy option included on our test Jeep is the electronic limited slip rear differential ($695) which overcomes traction loss in the standard Quadra-Drive II 4WD system.

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2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland

Monday December 31st, 2012 at 8:1212 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

 

By David Colman

Hypes: Does-It-All, Looks to Kill, Great Price compared to the Europeans
Gripes: 6 or 8 Speed Gearbox Would Be Nice, Thirsty

Jeep engineers must have had the mountain bike rider in mind when they designed the new Grand Cherokee. If you flip the rear seats down and pop open the hatchback gate, you’ve created the perfect storage area for a mountain bike. Tailgate lift-over is moderately high, but once you’ve got the hang of sliding your bike in and out, you’re good to go anywhere, because the Grand Cherokee is Trail Rated. Its base price of $39,295 includes Quadra Trac II all-wheel drive featuring a terrain selection knob that lets you optimize grip for sand, snow, or loose gravel. In addition, standard Hill Descent Control steadies your gait on long declines, while mud and snow rated 265/60R18 Michelin Latitude Tour tires get a sure grip on steep ascents. If the going gets too tough for this mountain goat of a Jeep, just roll that bike out of storage and tackle the trail with pedal power.

While the foregoing expedition is certainly possible with a Grand Cherokee as your guide, in all likelihood, your next outing will be cross town to the grocery store, not a foray up Mt. McKinley. The Jeep is just as well suited to the mundane as it is to the heroic. Although available with a variety of V-8 engines (ranging from 360 to 470hp), the basic powertrain consists of a perfectly adequate 3.6 liter V-6 coupled to a 5-speed automatic gearbox. This sophisticated new baseline prime mover produces 290hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s more than enough surge to meet any passing lane requirement, tow 7,400 pounds of trailer, and still return a thrifty 23 miles per gallon on the freeway. The V8 Hemi featured here is a monster at with power that is omnipresent.

 

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2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4×4 Review – Marching to a New Rhythm

Monday January 24th, 2011 at 3:11 PM
Posted by: Derek

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

By Derek Mau

Hits:

  • Smooth power delivery from 290 hp Pentastar 3.6L V6 engine
  • Quadra-Trac all-wheel drive system will never leave you stuck in the mud or snow
  • Leather-lined seats provide the support and comfort for all-day driving trips
  • Interior quality and design on par with some luxury-class vehicles
  • 2nd row passengers also get heated seats

Misses:

  • iPod interface and controls have poor ergonomics
  • Owners need to pony-up for the Trail Rated Quadra-Drive II system if they plan to do any rock-crawling

The recovering car market has welcomed the redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee with a brass band. Chrysler reports November 2010 sales were up from those of November 2009 by 256 percent. Fresh optimism pervades Chrysler’s headquarters and technical centers in Auburn Hills, Mich., where dozens of new employees and engineering consultants have been quietly brought on since last fall to revamp the company’s product line, with help from its new Italian partner and parent Fiat. While Italian automaker Fiat now controls Chrysler, development of this Grand Cherokee began in 2006, when Chrysler was still tied up with Daimler-Benz (the parent company of Mercedes-Benz). Cue the music.

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