2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review

2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review

SRT means that this has the fire-breathing 6.4 liter v8 Hemi engine under the hood but it also means that this model competes with a very different set of competitors the Grand Cherokee Laredo sorta does business with the tow to rav4 as well as something like a Ford Edge whereas the Overland and the summit models are the value proposition to Land Rover’s Range Rover product line

this vehicle however is the alternative to the BMW x5m the Porsche Cayenne Turbo as well as the Mercedes ml63 I realize that saying a Jeep competes with the likes of a BMW and a Porsche sounds like heresy but let’s talk pricing first the Grand Cherokee SRT starts at sixty three thousand six hundred sixty dollars and fully loaded like we have here it’s seventy-two thousand two hundred fifty-five dollars that’s a fairly expensive Jeep mind you the Mercedes ml63 starts at ninety seven thousand two hundred fifty dollars a BMW x5m which is not available for the 2014 model year 2013 was the last year we expected to reappear for 2015 is $95,000 and a Porsche Cayenne Turbo is a hundred and ten thousand dollars and the turbo S which delivers suppose a zero to sixty

times very similar to this Grand Cherokee SRT is a hundred and forty six thousand dollars with those prices in mind what I mean about competing with the likes of the BMW and the Porsche I’m not talking about price tag competition I’m talking about on the road competition zero to sixty times performance driving dynamics as well as the fact that there are no other performance mid-

sized SUVs out on the market General Motors doesn’t make one Ford doesn’t make one so what else would you compare a jeep to whereas previous generations of the Grand Cherokee had front ends that were very similar trim level two trim level 2014 brings a little bit more differentiation with fairly unique headlamps these are shared between the Overland as well as the summit model they are fairly attractive although this little area that you’re seeing right here below the headlamp is a headlamp washer that’s why it has this funky little cutout if you look at the Laredo model the

headlamp fills this entire area and it doesn’t look quite so strange it’s really the only thing that I dislike about the front end I really like the fact that the front end isn’t crazy if you take a look at the BMW x5m and the x6 M the front end just is out of proportion to the rest of the car it looks a little bit cartoonish just a tiny bit and the poor juh can looks like someone jacked up in 9/11 or inflated it either way the Jeep has a very classic look up front it doesn’t scream something wicked this way comes however so if you want that then you’re gonna need to look elsewhere the SRT Grand

Cherokee doesn’t just get a unique grille and lower valence it also gets a unique hood with these functional air scoops right here they’re not very visible from the front of the vehicle yet again so the Grand Cherokee is just a little bit discreet about its performance characteristics the 2014 Grand Cherokee styling is elegant and universally loved that’s a sharp contrast from the all-new 2014 Cherokee styling which is universally debated back here we have a tasteful amount of trim and we have panel gaps and pieces that fit very well in the grand cherokee this is probably the best fit and finished job that Chrysler has ever done and that speaks to the new target market for the Grand Cherokee without any real domestic competition for this kind of five seat SUV they’re really

targeting the Grand Cherokee a little bit further up market and really as an alternative to the German and English competition back here we have a fairly tasteful amount of trim in the SRT model we have these enormous exhaust tips some fake diffuser girls back here these are not functional but most importantly for 2014 behind this panel we have towing ability in the SRT version we have 7,200 pounds of towing ability standard 2 inch receiver 7 pin and 4 pin wiring harness right back there the Grand Cherokee SRT is an alternative to and not an imitation of the English and German competition that’s really obvious right here under the hood because instead of a smaller displacement direct injection forced induction engine that’d be either a supercharger or two turbochargers

you find a massive 6.4 liter pushrod Hemi v8 engine this engine is good for 470 horsepower at 6000 RPM and 465 pound-feet of torque at 4,300 RPM the power output characteristics of this engine are very different than the competition this engine isn’t old so don’t let those Top Gear episodes or other people from Europe fool you just because this is a pushrod engine doesn’t mean it’s a bad engine it is a thoroughly modern engine design has cylinder deactivation variable cam phasing all manner of new and modern features going on right here in this engine it’s a brand new engine as well recently replacing the 6.1 liter engine which Chrysler used to use under the hood of their SRT models the big difference between this and the forced-induction competition is that if

you’re in a BMW x5m or Porsche Cayenne Turbo you have to wait for those turbos to spool up and there’s nothing to spool up on this engine it’s really obvious once we get out on the road and we start talking about 0 to 30 times take close attention to that later in this review 2014 brings ZF s latest 8-speed automatic transmission to the Grand Cherokee SRT and that’s further proof that this drivetrain is far from old-school this is exactly the same transmission that you’ll find into the hood of performance rolls-royce and Bentley models and strangely enough it’s also the exact same

transmission you’ll find behind the engines of the bmw x5 as well as the Porsche Cayenne SRT trim bumps the kerb weight up to 5150 pounds if that sounds heavy to you then check out the BMW and the Porsche kerb weight because they’re not exactly light either the only real light weight in this segment is the all new and very aluminum intensive Range Rover and Range Rover Sport 54% of the weight in the SRT is up front 46% is in the rear it’s a little bit more front heavy than the likes of the BMW and the Porsche that’s because of this massive 6.4 liter engine Chrysler makes up

for that just a little bit by putting the same 295 45 hour 20 tires all the way around rather than using a staggered rubber arrangement like BMW does in the x5 M if you haven’t noticed by now these rotors are enormous these are 15 inch rotors with 6-piston Brembo calipers up front four piston calipers in the rear these are positively enormous tires and positively enormous breaks we have 8.3 inches of ground clearance here that’s definitely down from the likes of the limited the Overland as well as the summit model I found front seat comfort in the grand cherokee to be good

but you should spend a decent amount of time in these seats before you sign on the dotted line like you should in any vehicle we have a multi-way power adjustable driver seat with a four-way adjustable lumbar support one of the things that I found odd about the seat is that like many of Chrysler’s recent seat designs it feels like you’re sitting on the seat rather than in the seat the center portion of the bottom seat cushion is very firmly bolstered so it feels like you’re sitting on top of maybe a cushion or something the seat is also not as heavily bolstered as the German competition

which is bad for some people but good if you’re a larger person we also have a four-way tilt telescopic steering wheel with a two-position memory setting and that controls the seat the steering wheel as well as your mirrors rear seats are comfortable but they’re not quite as plush as the front seats we do have reclining seat mechanisms which is very nice in these seats did you recline a decent amount this is the most reclined position and then you can also move them to the upright position to help you square off that cargo area the same handle is used for folding the seat backs

forward so you can put larger cargo items in the grand cherokee and these seats do fold flat with the cargo load floor which is a nice feature this front seat is adjusted for a six foot five passenger I had in the vehicle you can see I still have about an inch of legroom there left I do have a decent amount of headroom even though our Grand Cherokee SRT is equipped with this large panoramic sunroof this generation Grand Cherokee does not have a very severe hump in the middle for the driveline which means that a middle passenger can’t sit fairly comfortably in this middle seat for a while I also have a decent amount of headroom going on right here even though the Grand Cherokee SRT comes with run-flat tires we still have an enormous spare tire right here under this hatch

in the cargo area this is not a full size spare tire nor is it a matching rim but it is an enormous tire it’s 245 65 r18 which is an enormous tire for a spare it’s pretty easy to stuff large cargo in the Grand Cherokee thanks to these metal rails on the load floor one thing to keep in mind however is if you’re handling up to the SR T’s potential you’ll be having your cargo sliding around an awful lot because these rails are pretty slippery and your bag will be bouncing around the trunk overall we score 9 out of 10 points in our exclusive trunk comfort index thanks to a large well upholstered

cargo area and a power hatch let’s do a quick look around the interior we have height adjustable seat belts right there for the driver and passenger we have a multi-way adjustable headrest in the SRT model down here you can see the SRT gets these faux suede inserts this is Alcantara and the seat as well as leather upper the seats do come in two different color choices there is this black as

well as a tan option over here on the doors we have a stitched leather upper right there that’s above the carbon fiber trim there and a hard injection plastic below that with a stitched pleather armrest moving over to the dashboard we can see this is one of the things that Chrysler has been doing extremely well lately and this is a hand-stitched full leather dashboard right here leather extends all the way again to the carbon fiber trim with hard injection molded plastic below that have our glove box right here to level this is where you can put your instruction manuals and then a decent amount of space right here it is suitable for a 11 inch tablet PC moving over to the center of the – we have our large 8.4 inch UConnect touchscreen system if you want to know about this

then click that link at the bottom of your screen we’re not going to clutter up these videos with infotainment reviews from now on down below that we have physical buttons for our climate control system as well as physical buttons for the collision warning system our eco button that’s something new for 2014 in the SRT model it’ll only work if you’re in Auto and in Drive so if the

transmission selector which is right down here is in sport or the drive mode selector right down here isn’t any of these other options then that eco button won’t work the Eco button basically forces the transmission to start off in second gear it also causes it to be just a little bit more aggressive with its cylinder deactivation program right here you’ll find your you connect auxilary inputs we have a USB input secure digital card slot as well as a regular stereo mini auxilary input I have my iPhone in there right now moving further down we have two large cupholders these are suitable for the largest size takeouts you can find in an American drive-thru the drive mode select right below the shifter and the cupholders controls the all-wheel-drive system as well as some of the

electronic systems in the Grand Cherokee right over here we have launch control to maximize acceleration track mode sport mode auto snow tow etc the difference between these modes is both how the system apportions power front and rear auto is 60% to the rear support is 65 track is 70% to the rear and snow and tow are 50/50 but it also changes the way the electronic stability control programs and other systems work in the vehicle from the suspension stiffness to stability and traction control to a wide variety of other features the throttle mapping as well as transmission shift logic moving over to the center console you’ll find the optional single disc CD player if you do want a bit more center console storage I suggest skipping that because as you can

see this is not a very large center console although we do have a 12-volt power plug right here 2014 brings this brand new SRT steering wheel has this gorgeous flat bottom very chunky rims it’s also heated in the Grand Cherokee SRT this button module right over here controls that multi information display and instrument cluster right there on the dash board these are our phone and voice command buttons over here we have separate buttons for our standard cruise control as well as our radar cruise control we have these shift paddles right here behind the steering wheel you’ll notice that they’re only on the top that’s because if we look behind them on the steer wiill we have our audio control buttons right behind them so this is volume up and down and then on the other side of the steering wheel we have track up-and-down and mode select paddles move in and out as you can see right there I’m a huge fan of this LCD disco – that’s spreading its way across

Chrysler’s various brands right here we have our large speedometer in the center this is selectable between a analog speedometer as well as a digital speedometer so we’ll show you that right now it’s all k12 via that five button array on the steering wheel I showed you earlier to change to kilometers you can get vehicle information from tire pressure transmission oil pressure auxilary gauges they’re like that the terrain mode doesn’t do a whole lot in the Grand Cherokee SRT because there’s only one mode in this suspension system so you can’t see wheel articulation etc but does show you what your steering angle is at the moment right down here we have our safety systems we have our fuel economy display as well as a separate display for our trip fuel economy moving down

we have our audio display the one disappointing thing about this disco dash is if you’re playing something from your iPod it just says iPod but if you’re playing something from the radio or from Sirius XM it will show you what’s playing via that little display right there no particular system messages this is where you set up the screen we have SRT specific information here peak g-forces zero to sixty timers 60 to zero timers quarter-mile timers etc moving on down something that’s also very interesting is we can now get diagnostic trouble codes out of the system so if we had something in the system that we needed to see you just press ok it would run the diagnostic trouble codes and tell you what they were before we dive into the specifics let’s get two numbers out of

the way first 1.3 7 seconds 2:30 4.1 seconds to 60 those are incredibly fast numbers for an SUV especially an SUV as heavy as the Grand Cherokee SRT those times are made possible by this 8-speed automatic and that 0 to 60 + 0 30 time are when you’re using first gear normally if you’re just in Drive and you’re in auto mode in this drive mode select dial then you’re going to be starting off in second gear from a stop if you engage sport mode in the transmission in any of those Drive select modes or if you engage sport mode or track mode then the transmission will start off in first gear and first here’s pretty low in this 8-speed automatic that’s what really gives you that incredibly low 0 to 30 times the incredible numbers are all down to this 8-speed automatic transmission

that’s been made by ZF of Germany this is the same automatic transmission that you’ll find under the hood of a wide variety of performance vehicles from BMWs to Porsches and jaguars etc and it is an incredible transmission Chrysler has programmed it to blip the throttle shifts in this transmission as well so if you’re using these paddles on the back of the steering wheel this 6.4 liter engine will now blip the throttle for you and the gear ratios this transmission are very well designed it really improves not just the zero to thirty time but also passing performance in this transmission etc

the old Grand Cherokee SRT just felt like it never had the right gear for you and it’s not the engines fault and 470 horsepower 465 pounds of torque is an awful lot of boom but the transmission just wasn’t there for you this transmission has the right gear ratio for everything that you can imagine and it also allows this transmission to dig it a little bit deeper when it’s down shifting verses

that old 5-speed automatic and the difference is night and day no real changes in terms of handling for 2014 we still have those extremely wide tires out there on all four corners we can pull 0.88 G’s on a skid pad in this Grand Cherokee SRT which is absolutely insane let’s go over the electronic devices going on here in the Grand Cherokee the first thing is that drive mode select if we’re in auto mode it’s sending sixty percent of the power to the rear if we’re in sport mode its spending sixty five percent of the power of the rear and if we’re in track mode the power split goes up to 70

percent to the rear if you’re in the tow mode of the snow mode it’s around 50 percent evenly split front and rear for better traction track mode disables the traction control system but not the stability control system in the Grand Cherokee and it does so so that you can get a little bit of tail happiness without losing control quite so easily on the track like all SRT models if you really want to disable the stability control system you can completely defeat it with that little button there on the dash the drive mode select also controls the active dampers in the Grand Cherokee SRT this is

very different than the system that’s employed in the Grand Cherokee Overland and the Grand Cherokee summit those use an air suspension system and this is not an adaptive height air suspension this has the same ride height all the time and they basically install electronically controlled valves inside the regular dampers the car so we have regular steel coils essentially regular dampers that are just electronically controlled the adaptive suspension really helps this vehicle be a daily driver kind of vehicle it’s very easy to live with this car on a daily basis you can take your

kids to school you can drive to work you can drive home and then you can find your favorite mountain road stick it in sport or in track and then really have an awful lot of fun out on the road it means that you don’t have to sacrifice ride performance and ride softness for an excellent handling vehicle unlike many of the other adaptive suspension systems that we saw in vehicles maybe around 2005 or 2006 there very few drawbacks to the system the only one that comes to mind is that regardless of what the dampers are set to you can’t change the spring rate in the vehicle and does result in some slightly odd handling feel every now and then but overall this is an awful lot more normal than any of the other adaptive suspension technologies that are out on the market the

other thing that makes this vehicle a good blend between performance and daily driver is the exhaust note you get an awful lot of great sound from that 6.4 liter v8 but it’s not annoying and it’s not obnoxious and it never sounds boyracer so you can be driving along the freeway and you’re not going to get a headache from the exhaust note but it is going to sound really great when you’re out on your favorite winding Mountain Road fuel economy is obviously not a performance vehicle strong suit and that’s true in this vehicle as well we’ve been averaging about 14 and a half to 15 miles

per gallon although the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT does have a cylinder deactivation system that’s available only when you’re in auto mode and in regular drive and then you have this little eco button set to Eco in the dashboard it’s very unnoticeable both in terms of operation and honestly so far in terms of fuel economy benefit we haven’t really noticed a big difference between the Eco mode being on an eco mode being off although we have been spending an awful lot of time with the accelerator pedal mash to the floor so that is something to keep in mind and I suspect if you have a Grand Cherokee SRT you’ll be in a very similar situation because it is an awful lot of fun to romp on the throttle the steering is a little bit fidgety in this Grand Cherokee it’s also not very

precise and an awful lot number than the rest of the competitors however those competitors are very important to keep in mind because the Grand Cherokee is an awful lot cheaper than all of them the only things that really compete with this are the Mercedes ml63 the BMW x5 n and the high-end versions of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo this is actually faster than the last x5 m that we tested 260 not quite as fast in the quarter mile but definitely faster 260 however this is $30,000 cheaper than the BMW x5m as often configured about $40,000 with that x5 m configured the way you’d probably want to buy it and half the price of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo that has the same performance for that I would give up all the steering feel in the world because the handling

performance in the Grand Cherokee is very close to those others as well the Grand Cherokee doesn’t have the electronic torque distributing rear axle that you get in some of those other competitors but honestly you don’t notice it that much out on the road we still have very good performance and very good handling characteristics in this Grand Cherokee even though we don’t have those additional electronic doodads and again this is thirty to sixty thousand dollars cheaper than the competition and that means that the Grand Cherokee srt8 is not only an incredible performance machine it’s also an incredible value compared to the BMW x5m or the Porsche Cayenne Turbo the Grand Cherokee SRT doesn’t feel as refined or as planted on the road the steering is definitely

not quite as good as those other vehicles either however when you consider price of the Grand Cherokee the difference between the BMW x5m and the Porsche is incredibly small I mean we’re talking 95% of the field 95% of the performance for 60% of the price I’ve had the Grand Cherokee SRT out on Laguna Seca and I can tell you this is an amazing vehicle on the track and on the road if you have an experienced one you definitely should and if you’re taking a look at something like a BMW x5m or a Porsche Cayenne then you should put the Grand Cherokee SRT on your list and give it a serious Drive before you spend an awful lot more cash just for the brand name the Grand Cherokee srt8 is a perfect example of what Chrysler does best pardon my language but Chrysler does batshit-crazy really really well and they’ve had a long history of that from the 1994 Dodge Ram pickup truck with its big rig like styling the Prowler the PT Cruiser the original Viper the

original Dodge Ram SRT pickup truck which was pretty insane with that Viper v10 jammed under the hood and this Grand Cherokee is really just the modern interpretation of that if you don’t know what I’m talking about then you need to get behind the wheel of a Grand Cherokee SRT because what this vehicle can do is absolutely insane and it seems to break all the laws of physics having 5,000 150 pounds that can perform and handle like this vehicle can but more than that the Grand Cherokee SRT is honest-to-goodness competition for the ml63 the BMW x5m and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S I’m not just talking about performance figures however although the Grand Cherokee does stack up extremely well delivering performance and handling abilities that’s about 95 percent of the Cayenne as well as the BMW x5m the big thing is that it does that for about 70 percent of the cost with a 5 year 100,000 mile warranty the Grand Cherokee is also the

perfect sleeper in this segment because if you’re driving a BMW x5m people expect it to be fast if you’re driving a Porsche Cayenne people expect that to be fast as well although people frequently discovered that the base Porsche Cayenne non turbo and 6-cylinder models really aren’t that fast that’s a little bit depressing for people that have spent that kind of money on a Porsche the Grand Cherokee is incredibly fast and it will also surprise an awful lot of people because it doesn’t look that fast on the outside it has these definite visual clues front and rear to something wicked this way comes but it overall does not look as outrageous as the German competition now comes the question would I buy one yes I would definitely a grand cherokee srt if i had seventy thousand dollars

hanging around that’s probably obvious in my own personal vehicle collection because I have a Saab nine seven arrow with the six liter v8 engine under the hood and I got it because it can tow and because it’s fast that really describes the Grand Cherokee

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