2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT
While critics argue that high-performance versions of SUVs make about as much sense as a turbocharged brick wall or an elephant outfitted with a rocket booster, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is a well-executed example of this somewhat illogical but highly enjoyable vehicle type. It features a 470-horsepower HEMI V8, secure handling and a finely trimmed cabin, all at a significantly lower price than other examples of the hyper-SUV breed. The Trackhawk model takes that up a notch, with a 707-horsepower supercharged V8 lifted from the Dodge Hellcat lineup.
For the latest model year, Jeep augments its SRT model with a new Hellcat-based Trackhawk variant.
Based on the fourth-generation Grand Cherokee, which uses a platform that was co-developed by Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz, the SRT trades the standard SUV's off-road focused chassis setup for a lowered and stiffened sport suspension.
Outside, the SRT features a restyled front bumper that slopes upward towards the front corners of the 'ute, and Jeep's familiar seven-slot grille is surrounded by a new body panel that extends under the headlights. Around back are new LED taillights and a mildly refreshed tailgate. Aggressive front and rear fascias, blacked-out trim and stylish five-spoke wheels set the SRT apart from the rest of the Grand Cherokee lineup, although
Power continues to come from a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 that produces 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. An active intake manifold and high-lift camshaft with cam phasing helps to optimize high-end power while also delivering good low-end torque - 90-percent of peak twist is available between 2,800 and 6,000 rpm.
Linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the V8 sends the Grand Cherokee SRT from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. Alternatively, the SRT can tow up to 7,200 pounds.
Gas mileage checks in at 13 mpg in the city, 19 mpg on the highway and 15 mpg in a combined cycle.
The new eight-speed boasts rev-matched downshifts and Launch Control as well as three driver-selectable shift modes - Drive, Sport and Eco - to tailor shift parameters. It sends power to all four wheels via Jeep's Quadra-Trac SRT transfer case - which can act as a torque vectoring system by apportioning output between the front and rear axles to create more neutral handling dynamics.
To help the big SUV maintain traction, the transfer case can sense quick movement in the throttle from a stop and maximize traction before slippage occurs. Additionally, there's a Selec-Track traction control system that coordinates the stability control, adaptive damping, transmission shift strategy, transfer case torque proportioning, electronic limited slip differential, throttle control and cylinder de-activation. Seven modes - Custom, Auto, Sport, Track, Snow, Tow and Eco - ensure ideal traction for any situation. "Custom" allows owners to pick and choose from different steering, suspension and powertrain modes to create the ideal mix for the trip at hand.
Brembo brakes balance out the SRT's oversized HEMI, featuring six and four-piston front and rear calipers, respectively, along with 15-inch front and 13.8-inche rear vented calipers. Helping the V8 on the efficiency front is an active valve exhaust system cuts out four cylinders during light-throttle cruising situations to improve fuel economy.
Inside, the SRT is one of the most well-appointed vehicles to ever wear the Jeep badge. The seats are upholstered in Nappa leather and suede, while carbon fiber trim and leather-wrapped door trim panels, instrument panel and center console give the SUV a decidedly upscale feel.
The latest refresh brought a new three-spoke steering wheel and a redesigned gauge cluster that includes a configurable 7-inch LCD screen. A new multimedia input includes a USB port, a SD card slot and an auxiliary jack, while a 12-volt outlet lets passengers charge mobile devices.
Generally regarded as one of the more user-friendly infotainment setups on the market, Uconnect Access integrates most of the truck's audio, navigation and climate control functions into one unit. An 8.4-inch touchscreen mounted on the dashboard is the central component of the system, but redundant buttons and knobs for climate and audio volume and tuning are also included.
Uconnect Access features a voice command system that allows the driver to place phone calls, use the sound system, input navigation destinations and more without taking his or her hands off the wheel. Other notable aspects of the system include the ability to function as a Wi-Fi hotspot over a 3G network - for an additional monthly fee - and downloadable applications such as Bing search.
Standard and Optional Features
The SRT comes lavishly equipped with a navigation system with a 8.4-inch touchscreen display, a nine-speaker, 506-watt AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM audio system, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, Jeep's Active Noise Cancelling technology, a proximity key, a power liftgate, sonar and camera rear parking aids, leather and suede upholstery, adaptive cruise control and 20-inch forged aluminum wheels.
Options include a 19-speaker, 825-watt Harmon Kardon premium audio system, a dual-pane panoramic sunroof and a rear seat entertainment system that is packaged with a standard-sized sunroof. Also available is a trailer tow package that adds a seven and four pin wiring harness, a class IV receiver hitch and a full-size spare tire.
The Trackhawk is more than simply a supercharged SRT. The 6.4L, naturally aspirated V8is replaced by a 6.2L, supercharged mill which makes 707 horsepower as well as 645lb-ft of torque.
The Trackhawk's front brakes are the largest ever fitted to a Jeep from the factory, and the company claims it'll haul the monster down from 60 mph to a full stop in just 114 feet.
There are two wheel options, both 20-inch. The standard wheel has a polished aluminum finish; the upgrade is lighter and finished in low-gloss black. It's also wrapped in high-performance rubber, though both share a tire size (295/45ZR20). The four-season variant is a Scorpion Verde; the summer tire is a P-Zero.
Like the SRT on which it is based, the Trackhawk can tow. You can put 7,200lbs behind it, but you'll need a special package to get the required Class IV hitch receiver.
Jeep claims the Trackhawk will do 0-60 in 3.5 seconds on the way to an 11.6-second quarter mile at 116 MPH.
All Grand Cherokee SRT models come standard with dual front, dual side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.
Also standard is a blind-spot warning system, a forward collision warning system that warns the driver when the SRT is approaching another vehicle too rapidly and a rear cross path system that alerts the driver of approaching traffic when backing out of a parking spot.
The only SUVs that share the Grand Cherokee SRT's focus on all-around performance are much pricier (albeit more powerful) machines like the BMW X5 M, the Range Rover Sport Supercharged and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo.