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2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT Review

OUR TEST CAR: 2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT 6.4l HEMI V8 8-Speed Automatic

A glimpse at the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT's effervescent front fascia reveals just how different this is from the all-basic face of the original Willys CJ. This, ladies and gentlemen, is only normal, since it comes to show how far our test car pushes the Jeep emblem.
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Nowadays, not too many performance SUVs are actually loaded when driven. Instead, it's the market that has become loaded with members of this species, so Jeep had to stay on top of its game. Thus, two model years after the second-generation of the SRT-fiddled Grand Cherokee came to the world, the automaker is introducing a deliciously comprehensive revamp.

If anybody asks in a serious voice why the refresh exists, just tell them the towing capacity has been increased dramatically, growing from 5,000 to 7,200 lbs (3,266 kg). If you can help yourself from bursting out in laughter, you can also explain the Jeep has also become more conspicuous in the process, as it is now called SRT instead of SRT8.

But enough fooling around with the uptight people, the sheer fact that Jeep labels this as the most powerful and fastest car it has ever built is enough reason for us to lust for its keys. Who wouldn’t want to see what happens when a horse puts on ballet shoes?

In fact, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT has actually put on some new shoes for 2014. Dubbed Goliath and wrapped in Pirelli 295/45ZR20 Scorpion Verde all-season rubber, the new rollers use a more conventional approach compared to the Spider Monkey wheels on our tester. We'd go with the latter.

Yes, this Jeep is unapologetic in everything it does and this begins with its "start a fight" styling. Up front, we've got a dedicated blacked-out fascia, with headlights that are slimmer than before. There's an abundance of elements here, so the designers integrated the headlight washers into the light clusters.

The designers wanted to make sure the Grand Cherokee SRT is just as menacing at night. Thus, the headlights gets a special LED surround, while over at the back, the black-surround LED taillights have grown in size. Nonetheless, the most important change visible to those you overtake is the tailgate, whose window no longer opens separately.

The debate about the transformation could easily take up an entire forum section, since there are plenty of pros and cons. On one hand, the new, one-piece tailgate increases visibility, is lighter and it also receives power operation. On the other hand, transporting long objects now means you'll have to drive with the hatch fully raised.

Your practical side needn't worry though. The cabin remains as spacious as ever, with the most impressive side being the rear, where you feel you're traveling in a long wheelbase model, while the boot is generous, with a full-size spare tucked underneath.

As if the cabin wasn't manly enough, 2014 brings a new steering wheel that has masculine written all over it. This proved to be extremely well designed, meeting each and every ergonomic requirement we had. It's worth noting the paddles have also changed for 2014, with their shape now making them easier to use. Still, we would've liked the metallic paddles to be larger, but Jeep's plethora of steering wheel buttons didn't allow that.

The driving position has a bit of performance spice to it - while you do sit high, the setup isn't the kind that makes you feel you're steering a battleship through a small port. The seats also have an important role here and use a balanced approach when it comes to comfort and side support.
Interestingly enough, our behinds found the Grand Cherokee SRT seats a bit firmer than those in the Challenger SRT8 392.

This is felt especially in the rear seats. We've come across a similar situation in the Porsche Cayenne and, just like in that case, you can use the seats without problems, even on long trips.

The entire dashboard receives our praise for the two same reasons as the steering wheel - everything has a practical design and looks butch.

The dash is now adorned with an 8.4-inch touchscreen display, belonging to the Uconnect infotainment system. The instrument cluster isn't pretty shy either, adding a 7-inch display between the gauges.

Those who have played with other SRT vehicles will be familiar with the specific features for the two aforementioned displays. While the center one can be used to show track-specific stuff like g forces, the one in the instrument cluster can let you know which driving mode you are in, for instance.

You'll be happy to find out the car now offers Uconnect Access Via Mobile, which not only offers various apps, but also brings a link for connecting to emergency services. Voice control is also on the list. So whether you want to cool the cabin down or search the web, you can start talking.

The materials feel premium, with the upper cabin being dominated by Laguna leather, suede and carbon trim. Alas, the last isn’t also found around the new T-shaped gear shifter, which features an aluminum trim instead.

For 2014, there's an optional two-piece panoramic sunroof that's more than happy to literally shed some light on all the cabin upgrades.

The heat rises relentlessly from the air vents in the hood - perhaps this is the Grand Cherokee SRT's way of adding a bit of drama to the moments when city traffic requires you to sit there and wait. It works pretty well, we have to admit.

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The story goes on with the V8's naturally-aspirated growl, of which we get enough even in the standard driving mode.

On many occasions, treats such as the ones described above come with downsides that become truly bothering inside the city. Not in this Jeep though. The car feels agile enough as we stride though the urban jungle, all topped off by the good overall visibility. The only time when you do feel the hefty mass of the thing is when you hit a larger pothole - the suspension does keep you in comfort, but the aural experience gives away the serious fight.

As for the moments when you have to park, the front and rear sensors, as well as a back-up camera, are there to assist.

The best part here is that the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is organically enjoyable, you don't necessarily have to thrash it in order to get your kicks. This means that usual city driving will still manage to put a smile on your face.

Alas, we must, once again, remind you that there is no Santa Claus. Putting a naturally-aspirated 6.4-liter engine in an SUV weighing 5,150 lbs (2,335 kg) is going to bring one thirsty result. Inside the city and using a moderate driving manner, we got 11 mpg (21.4 l/100 km). The same driving style brought the highway efficiency to 20 mpg (11.8 l/100 km). As for the overall efficiency, which also included serious throttle pedal affection, we got 9.2 mpg (25 l/100 km).

Stepping outside the city instantly highlights the performance appetite of the Grand Cherokee SRT. Just as seducing is the fact that those imagining a Jeep with so much power
is difficult to drive are wrong.

Despite the fact that it's difficult to behave, when you finally decide to stop hammering the car, you'll notice it can deliver a comfortable experience. Sure, like we said, the seats are a little on the firm side and the ride can get a bit bouncy on the freeway, but the overall experience is balanced enough to also allow your significant other to enjoy the car, for example.

And if you put kids in the back, do notice how their smile increases as you take the gas closer and closer to the floor mat. Up to 3,000 rpm, the Hemi up front feels just like you'd expect a large, naturally aspirated V8 to. From this point on, the engine delivers full pulling power and, once you hit 5,000 rpm you can easily go crazy thanks to the monumental exhaust sound.

As you sit there, manhandling the beast with the thick steering wheel in your hand, the driving experience is pure SRT, there's no fake/forced stuff here. Oh yes, a drive in this thing will raise your adrenaline level to a truly desirable level.

While the V8 delivers the same 470 hp at 6,000 rpm and 465 b-ft (630 Nm) at, its significant other, the gearbox, is all new for 2014. Three extra ratios bring to the total to eight, while the rear end has been reinforced. Say hello to ZF's 8HP70 automatic, which you can use in either "Drive" or "Sport" modes, independent from the reworked SelecTrack AWD system's modes.

Jeep has brought the kind of stand-up comedy we adore, drawing a Christmas Tree next to the automatic transmission's shifter. This is no joke though, as your quarter mile experience is enriched with Launch Control. It's interesting to feel the characteristic SRT madness, but paired with neck-snapping AWD launches instead of the usual RWD tire-smoking activities.

4.8 seconds, that's how long the 0 to 60 mph sprint takes. As for the quarter mile time, you'll be somewhere on par with the original 1970s Dodge Challenger, playing in the low 13-second range. Top speed? A respectable 160 mph (258 km/h). Factor in the hefty weight and the... aerodynamics and you're in for some quality fun time.

Speaking of the triple-digit area, this is where you notice the soundproofing is well balanced. It lets just enough of the outside world penetrate the cabin to keep you entertained, but won't make your passengers tired.
Through the bends, it's very easy to forget you are behind the wheel of an SUV.

First of all, the steering is the best we've seen in the segment, a bit better than that of a Porsche Cayenne, our reference point when it comes to performance SUVs. The battle isn't exactly fair though, as we're talking about hydraulic vs electric assistance here.

And while the SRT can't match the German's precision (the Cayenne owes a lot of this to its PDCC active stabilizer bars), the body roll is kept well in check.

Before we move on to invading the car and the winding road's intimacy, we have to discuss the Jeep's revised AWD driving modes a bit. You can now choose between Auto (40:60 front-rear distribution), Sport (35:65), Track (30:70), Snow (50:50), as well as Tow (50:50).

For those wondering, Track also partially sedates the electronic nannies. The traction control is barely there, but the roll mitigation feature is active.

As we head out onto the canyons, Jeep's Grand Cherokee SRT proves to be a proper carving tool. First of all, there's some serious grip allowing you to tackle the bends fast. There's no understeer and you can push the car into the corner using the throttle, but only to a certain extent. Just don't expect the sideways action from the Challenger SRT8 392, OK?

What you can expect though, is matching stopping power. We didn't measure anything, but Jeep's claimed 116 feet (49 meters) stopping distance (60 mph / 96 km/h) seems legit. Further more, we appreciate the good initial bite of the pedal.

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For this, you can thank the serious hardware: up front, we have 15-inch rotors with six-piston Brembo grabbers, while at the rear we are treated with 13.8-inch discs and four-piston Brembo calipers.

We're out of the canyons now, so we decide to give the transmission's new Eco mode a try. This only affects the shifting strategy and the engine's capacity to run in four-cylinder mode, so the car doesn't feel sluggish when you use it.

Being a Grand Cherokee, means this SRT also fares well in the safety area. We'll remind you the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the vehicle a Top Safety Pick Title. Nevertheless, the Jeep only received a marginal rating in the small overlap front crash test, which is why we'll give it a nine for the safety chapter.

Where the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT gets a ten though, is in the buying decision department. The driving experience is sweet insanity, while also feeding itself on natural aspiration, a feature that is easily becoming extinct, all the more reason for praise.

Europeans are offering SUVs that are even more powerful and faster, but do you really care about figures in such a car?
For us, it's the thoroughbred feeling that takes the cake and this is where the Grand Cherokee SRT8 tramples the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Mercedes ML 63 AMG, BMW X5 M or Range Rover Sport Supercharged.

With the exception of the BMW, all those cars beat the Grand Cherokee's otherwise respectable premium feel, but we mustn't forget the US$30,000 separating the American from its cheapest rival. Think about it, you can buy a decent second car with that kind of money.

The 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT comes with a MSRP of US$ 64,380, while in Europe the Jeep starts at EUR 77,900. A ten in the value for money race then.

It is the ever-present driving insanity of the Grand Cherokee SRT8 that reminds us of Mercedes' G 63 AMG. Sure, the German has a richer history and a more unique feel, but the pricing comparison brings an amusingly large advantage for the Jeep.

And as much as we like the G 63 AMG, we have to admit that is a car you drive for the engine, with the Affalterbach-retouched antique platform barely being able to cope with modern requirements. The Jeep is dominated by its motor too, but it still makes for a balanced proposal you can easily drive everyday. Anyway, we're just having fun here, as the two don't actually share customers.

Speaking of what happens outside the Jeep's engine compartment, when you remove the "fast", being simply left with the "go", the Grand Cherokee base of the car means you still enjoy plenty of practicality.

What you won't like about the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT though is its entourage, namely its friends at the gas station. Yep, this is a gas guzzler.

Perhaps there couldn't have been a better time for the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT in recent history. Now in the midst of the muscle car power wars, comes this thing that can easily be labeled under muscle SUV. Brilliant.

Speaking of context, we may have an issue here. Given SRT's recent declaration of fidelity to Dodge, the badge doesn't seem like it will remain compatible with the Jeep label in the future. Still, this Jeep is the SRT's best-seller, so we're sure Chrysler will find a way to inject muscle into the next Grand Cherokee.
84user rating 41 votes
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autoevolution Jul 2014
82
Value for money: 10/10
History
7
Exterior
7
Interior
8
In the city
7
Open road
8
Comfort
8
Tech facts
8
Gadgets
8
Safety
9
Conclusion
10
84user rating 41 votes
Rate this car!
 
Key Specs
USEU
Engine
V8 6417 cm3
Fuel
petrol
Power kw
350
Power hp
470
Power rpm
6000
Torque val
465
Torque rpm
4300
Transmission
8-speed ZF automatic
Traction
AWD
Acceleration
4.8
Top speed
160 mph
Length
191.3 in
Width
77.1 in
Height
69.1 in
Wheelbase
114.8 in
Ground clearance
8.3 in
Cargo volume
27.6 CuFT
Weight
5150 lbs
Seating
5
Power
350 KW/470 BHP @ 6000 RPM
Torque
465 Lb-Ft @ 4300 RPM
Engine
V8 64
Fuel
petrol
Power kw
350
Power hp
477
Power rpm
6000
Torque val
630
Torque rpm
4300
Transmission
8
Traction
a
Acceleration
5
Top speed
258 km/h
Length
4860 mm
Width
1958 mm
Height
1755 mm
Wheelbase
2916 mm
Ground clearance
211 mm
Cargo volume
782 L
Weight
2335 Kg
Seating
5
Power
350 KW/477 HP @ 6000 RPM
Torque
630 Nm @ 4300 RPM
fuel efficiency
mpgOfficialOurs
City1311
Highway1920
Combined159.2
fuel efficiency
l/100kmOfficialOurs
City20.721.4
Highway10.111.8
Combined1425
base price
$
64380
base price
77900
this review's
Guest Opinions

Sir May B. Bach

Refinement, I fail to locate the refinement on the list of options.

Plenty of assets though, so I have to admit that this vehicle is truly gifted. Alas, none of what it delivers is truly suitable for a gentleman and therefore I see no utility in it. As always, I am certain that there are a lot of voices who disagree with me, so I have devised a little... ahem... challenge.

I dare you to attempt to engage in a planned encounter with a lady making use of this vehicle. To take away a part of the pressure, I have pre-paid a dinner for two at a restaurant that receives five out of five stars in my register.

Of course, such a location couldn't be found within a major city, so I have also reserved a personal flight for the two of you. Throughout the duration of the air journey, you and the lady must be accommodated inside the vehicle, which shall be transported by my very own private cargo jet.

The stake here is rather simple. Should you manage to impress the elegant feminine presence, consider this as a gift for what should be the start of a wonderful relationship. Mind you, if you fail, be prepared to pay for the entire experience. Are you willing to do business with me?

Photo gallery (45)
JEEP badge on Grand Cherokee SRT2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT brake caliper2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT wheels2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT engine compartment2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT 6.4 Hemi V8 engine2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT Hemi V8 engine2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT front grille2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT luggage compartment2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT spare wheel2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT power boot opener2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT rear seats2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT folded rear seats2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT climate console rear2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT interior: front2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT side airbags2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT front seats2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT automatic gearbox T shifter2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT door card2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT Selec-Track AWD control knob2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT dashboard instruments2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT rear seats2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT infotainment display2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT gear shift paddle2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT wiper control2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT engine start button2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT speedometer and rev counter2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT Performance menus2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT dashboard2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT climate controls2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT touchscreen infotainment display2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT steering wheel2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT seats2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT sunroof controls2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT instrument cluster2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT front fascia2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT driving2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT accelerationJEEP Grand Cherokee SRT2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT side view2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT Brembo brakes2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT rearJEEP badge on Grand Cherokee SRT2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT2014 JEEP Grand Cherokee SRT in the canyons