PUNTING the Grand Cherokee SRT comes with a catch Ė an almost 2.3 tonne catch. How this five-seat SUV manages to (largely) defy lateral physics is a feat in itself, yet this Yank tank also gets to 100km/h in a launch-control-assisted 4.9sec. Oh, and it sounds pretty good, too.
However, you can add another catch, and thatís the fact it drinks fuel like itís going out of fashion. Jeep claims the 344kW/624Nm V8 will return 14L/100km. Yet, our 6.4-litre Hemiís gauge hovered in the vicinity of 22L/100km. And thatís with a highway stint. Ouch. Although thatís all part the SRT deal, something buyers with an Ďactiveí lifestyle and a need for 218mm of ground clearance understand. After all, it has loads of space, a three-tonne towing capacity, is well equipped and hits the hip pocket for $91,000. The SRT has presence in spades, and while some might baulk at the music-video undertones, itís an undeniably imposing silhouette. The updated design also adds functional vents to the front fascia. With the wide 295/45 tyres as well as reduced approach and departure angles it isnít going to be a traditional off-roader, but it still utilises a Quadra-Trac on-demand four-by-four system. A real LSD at the rear as well as Sport and Track modes (via Selec-Trac) means the SRT can cover ground at an alarming rate and with surprising competency. Luckily there are Brembos to arrest the pace and adaptive dampers to keep the ride (mostly) in check while the eight-speed auto shifts smoothly. The reality is the novelty of the Hemi-powered Jeep can wear thin. But, weíre glad it exists. Did someone say Trackhawk? Ė Trent Giunco