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A big thank you to all the team at Armstrong Prestige Wellington located at 66 Cambridge Terrace for allowing us the use of a brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 for this review. Drop in anytime to check out their complete range of new and used Jeeps.

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INTRO.

Massive presence and lane dominating stature, deep soothing idle and thundering roar. A very masculine hard edged exterior that oozes strength and power but with a inner cabin that breathes style and comfort with leather trims and suede linings. You can’t help but feel luxuriously confident while also a little reckless and dangerous at the same time. The Grand Cherokee SRT8 is a special kind of high end trim package, taking on the SRT badge of high performance engineering. The new 392 HEMI (6.4L) engine is not only faster than before but has better fuel consumption as well.The Grand Cherokee SRT8 shares the same engine as the 2012/2013 Dodge Chargers and Challengers vehicles.

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DRIVING.

How do you tame a roaring southerly storm? With a blast from a Hemi, that’s how. The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is a rolling fortress of strength and speed, pushing through curtains of rain and leaving only walls of spray and dust in its wake. 344kW and 624Nm of torque from the sizable 6.4L V8 Hemi, 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds,  with a top speed of 255 km/h. You won’t be searching for overtaking power here, it comes at a beckoning tap of the foot. Cruising around the city, the Grand Cherokee behaved nicely thanks the finely tuned gear selection of the 5 speed automatic transmission. It never seemed to complain about the idling traffic. Give it a chance taking off from the lights, the Hemi will be sure to remind you who is boss. How is it able to keep it all on the ground and through the corners? It’s all due to the Electronic Limited Slip Differential that gives drivers more control on the road by improving handling and eliminating rear wheel slip. Coupled with the Jeep Selec-Trac system, you have a smooth and controlled ride. Jeep Selec-Trac interacts with multiple systems, including stability control, transmission shift strategy, electronic limited slip differential performance, throttle control, cylinder deactivation and a tuned adaptive damping suspension to give you that seamless ride no matter the weather. Brembo brakes delivers all round for stopping power with a stopping distance performance of 35 meters from 100-0 km/h to be exact.

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It has the power to move and the grip to bring all that energy under control, not once did I feel like I was wrestling to tame this beast.  A very safe drive indeed. Some other handy features included the blind-spot monitoring detection. A small orange arrow lights up when there are other vehicles next to you in the blind spot on either side. The mirrors also have a function where they tilt downwards when reversing, I found it to be useful and highly annoying at the same time. It is good to see where the wheels are heading, but I like to be able to see what’s behind me at each corner. There might be a setting that can change this, but I never found it. The parking/proximity sensors are very accurate, and going down our tight driveway they made sure we knew about everything. The driving experience was hard not to like, gear shifts were smooth and silent and putting the drive selector into sports mode gave it more punch with higher revs. Sound is a huge part of the soul and it flows through you when pushing the Hemi. Despite the new fuel saver technology the 6.4L engine still has a high fuel consumption. But if you are seriously looking at owning an animal like this, you’ve put logic and sense in the backseat a long time ago. Exhilaration, the widest grin you can imagine, a driving sensation of pure fun.

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INTERIOR.

After having a design influence from Fiat, the new Grand Cherokee has slowly moved away from the typical American materials and shapes and slowly transitioning more towards the European designs. No surface of the interior hasn’t been touched with a stroke of luxury and elegance. Everything from carbon fibre accents, leather stitched seats and suede pocketed arm rests. Pleasant to sit in and very easy to become relaxed in comfort, including heated seats, dual zone climate and even a heated steering wheel; which does take some getting used to. The center control cluster is evenly laid out and has been designed for simple use and ease of access to the features that are most important during daily driving. Push button keyless start, easy to reach drive selector and a touch screen radio and GPS navigation, the GUI isn’t the most intuitive but it is functional and displays what you need. The use of a metallic plastic trim to tie the gear shifter panel and center console together is probably the only gripe with design I could find. Next to all the carbon fibre, leather and chrome the plastic cheapens the look slightly, but I had to dig deep to really be bothered by it. If you’re into ambient lighting the Grand Cherokee has it in spades. Every nook and cranny has convenience illumination, adding to the mood inside the vehicle. Even the cup holders have their own light strip in and around the inside. You need to pack the family up and go away for a break, as an excuse to drive it of course. There is no need to worry about packing space with a capacity of 1.93 cubic meters, you’ll be able to get it all in there. there’s a rear seat dvd player/screen for your passengers which is accompanied by the Harman Kardon media centre.

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What its up against.

Brand / ModelEngineLuggage CapacityPowerPrice
Mercedes-Benz GL5.5 litre V82,300L285kW / 530Nm$184,900
Range Rover Sport5.0 litre V8962L375kW / 625Nm$179,000
Audi Q74.2L Q7 TDI Diesel775L250kW / 800Nm$151,200
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT86.4 litre V81,554L344kW / 624Nm$109.490

The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 8 delivers exceptional power and torque at a reasonable price tag compared to other similar luxury performance SUV’s.

PROS.CONS.
  • Aggressive heavy road presence.
  • Cruise control options.
  • Range of driving mode selection.
  • The POWER!
  • Luggage capacity.
  • Tilting mirrors, overload of warning sounds.
  • Average looking GUI for touch screen.
  • Fuel consumption – but you already know right!?
  • Handbrake, was a foot activated lever. Location was in the place of the dead pedal and caught my foot sometimes.

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What we think.

It’s not often we come across a car that needs to have a deliberate and almost forced gathering of negative things about it, a few design choices of the interior may have improved it slightly and there are the odd subtle annoyances of particular warning systems and features designed to make things more convenient…which  they didn’t. But the thing is I really enjoyed driving the SRT8, you really have to hate cars, loud rumbling fast V8 cars to not enjoy this. Starting it up, the ease of cruising through the city, and then finally opening it up out onto the motor way was a real experience. Its sheer size and weight over the other cars around you is complemented by the advanced electronics that just allow the large Jeep to glide out of corners and remain perfectly level when accelerating. Your hands are toasty and bum is warm while your windows are down cause it just sounds so good. Everyone should have a SRT monster.

RATING – AutoClique Chevron rating 4 out of 5

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SPECS.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 6.4L SRT8
Vehicle Type:  mid-size SUV
Starting Price: $109.490NZD
Engine: 392 HEMI 6.4L V8 – 344kW / 624Nm
Transmission: 5 Speed automatic with multiple driving modes
Curb Weight: 1,933 kg approx
Length x Width x Height: 4821 x 1938 x 1760 mm
Cargo Capacity: 1.93 cubic meters
Fuel Tank: 93 litres Chemical_Guys-Banner

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