Jeep: 2015 Grand Cherokee SRT review

Jeep: 2015 Grand Cherokee SRT review

There’s a delicious irony about piloting a high-performance V8-powered Jeep SUV which most self respecting people will never take off road.

The 2015 Grand Cherokee SRT is a long distance cruiser rather than a bush bashing bruiser as witnessed by the availability of a sport and track mode setting on the adaptive damping system.

2015 Grand Cherokee SRT 8 front 3:4SRT is an acronym which means Street & Racing Technology and is used on high performance models in the Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge stable. The permanently all-paw Grand Cherokee SRT is powered by a 6.4-Litre Hemi V8 that will accelerate from standstill to 100km/h in five seconds.

And yes there is a launch control function and a lap timer should you desire to take your new SRT to the Taupo motorsport park rather than the snow line at Ruapehu national park.

The SRT is differentiated from other Grand Cherokee models by the the glossy blackout treatment across the headlamps and radiator grille which one fellow motoring correspondent has referred to as the “Lone Ranger Mask” as well as LED daytime running lights, lowered suspension, monochrome wheel arch treatment as well as numerous SRT and Hemi 6.4 badges splashed around the body panels.

But its not just about show and go, the SRT also picks up functional features such as the Red-painted six-piston Brembo brake callipers on the front wheels and similar coloured Brembo four-piston brake callipers on the rear wheels, as well as dual heat extractors on the hood.

Spec

2015 Grand Cherokee UConnect systemFor a six-figure car the Grand Cherokee SRT doesn’t disappoint with its level of active and passive safety systems as well as its level of standard equipment.

The Grand Cherokee SRT retails for $109,900, but our test vehicle wore the split five-spoke Spider Monkey wheels ($1250) and the Harman Kardon audio/panoramic roof combination package ($5300) which brings the total to $116,540.

The sound system packaged in the SRT with the panoramic sunroof is a 19-speaker Harman Kardon unit. Comprising nine tweeters, five mid-range speaker, two mid-woofers and three subwoofers. Playing ABBA from a iPod just didn’t do it justice, I needed some Johnny Cash and/or some loud thrash-y metal to explore the concert hall abilities of the system…

Upfront the SRT is equipped with adaptive bi-xenon HID headlamps, headlamp washers, and the signature DRLs as mentioned earlier. There is also a power tailgate, rain sensitive wiper system, as well as a ParkSense front and rear park assist system coupled with a ParkView rear camera with dynamic grid lines, to help you manoeuvre into the tightest of parking spaces.

More importantly the SRT is equipped with forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-path detection.

All these items should be mandatory in all vehicles, and the adaptive cruise particularly deserves a hymn of praise for piloting the SRT on long journeys down congested state highways, it worked beautifully and no doubt assisted the lesser consumption of premium fuel.

Inside

2015 Grand Cherokee Laguna Axis seatsOur particular car came with a tan leather/suede combination trim with silver stitches in the upholstery called Laguna Axis Sepia that is a factory order only option. The upper door trim, instrument panel and centre armrest are also wrapped in leather.

While the shade is distinctly reminiscent of a new baseball glove, I really liked it, and it certainly brought a warmth and brightness to the cabin, which is certainly better put together than previous generations of Jeep Grand Cherokee models.

Nothing shook or rattled inside the SRT, the very large 2015 Grand Cherokee SRT steering wheelpanoramic sunroof opened and shut smoothly and effortlessly, and while it may not yet have the premium feel of a Lexus or BMW cabin, the SRT is not far behind. Its very well put together, although there are still a few hard to touch plastic surfaces letting the side down.

The dash is dominated by both the Connect 8.4 inch touch screen navigation radio and the SRT design heated leather wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel with controls for paddle shifters, audio, cruise, EVIC, and voice recognition.

There’s lashings of chrome and satin detailing around the dashboard air vents, and centre console just to remind you this is Jeep’s top spec variant.

Both the driver and passenger enjoy eight-way power seats with four-way lumbar support, both seats are also heated and ventilated as well, and the rear passenger seats also get heating control.

Drivers with lower back issues will find that not only are the seats extremely comfortable for long distance driving, the seat heater never seems to get uncomfortably hot even when on the highest setting.

Power

2015 Grand Cherokee SRT engineThere is no substitute for cubic inches and the SRT does not disappoint. It has a 6.4-litre Hemi V8 engine offering 344kW of power and 624 Newton metres of torque, which is fed to the all-wheel-drive system through an 8-speed automatic transmission with an electronic selector.

The Selec-Track adaptive damping system offers five modes: track, sport, auto, snow, and tow. In track mode it will send 70% of the engines torque to the rear wheels through the Quadra-Trac active on-demand four-wheel-drive system.

Auto mode is the default setting and provides the most comfortable (if still firm) ride quality and greatest fuel efficiency. Whereas the sport and track settings easily allow the driver to light up the performance, like a match to a candle, the associated ride quality can be described as really firm, and rock hard respectively.

The standard Pirelli tyres also do an excellent job of keeping the SRT planted to the road in both wet and dry conditions, and they also seemed to cope well with gravel roads and dirt farm tracks.

Experience

2015 Grand Cherokee SRT 8 rear 3:4The Grand Cherokee SRT shares a platform with the Mercedes-Benz ML SUV which dates back to the nine-year Daimler-Chrysler marriage from 1998 to 2007, so it’s unsurprising that the car performs and handles as well as it does.

Any sloppy rock and roll from large Jeeps of old has been despatched to the history books, the SRT has a litheness and nimbleness that belies its size and weight, at times it felt more like a hot hatch on the road rather than a 2.2-tonne family-sized SUV.

Jeep haven’t put a petrol-saving electric power steering system into the SRT, instead it retains a very old fashioned hydraulic system which has been been tuned to match the vehicles performance, and provides good response and feeling without feeling overly light or heavy.

However, the 6.4-Litre HEMI V8 is equipped with fuel saver technology that will see the engine deactivate four-cylinders when cruising on a light throttle. Jeep claims an average combined fuel economy of 14L/100km, and we managed on a long distance trip from Auckland to the Bay of Plenty to get our average fuel consumption as low as 12.6L/100km!

Verdict

2015 Grand Cherokee SRT 8 tailgateIf you want great fuel economy from a Jeep Grand Cherokee, buy the 3-litre V6 turbo diesel variant. Not the SRT.

Our worst fuel economy figure was 19L/100km, and we emptied the tank in just over 400km of mixed city and state highway running. In fairness however, we used the performance on tap whenever we could – legally of course.

However, if you want a no-holds-barred performance machine, that offers luxury, amenity, specification and performance on a par with sports utility vehicles from BMW, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and Range Rover but at a value for money price tag, this is absolutely your car.

Price: $116,540 as tested.

Pros:

  • Monstrous performance
  • Great specification
  • Great value for money

Cons:

  • Monstrous thirst
  • Styling not to all tastes
  • Heavy running costs for brakes and tyres

Words and pictures:

« | »

Let us know what you think

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Road Tests

Silver Sponsors

Car and SUV Team

Richard-Edwards-2016Richard Edwards

Managing editor

linkedinphotoDarren Cottingham

Motoring writer

robertbarry-headRobert Barry

Chief reporter

Ian-Ferguson-6Ian Ferguson

Advertising Consultant

debDeborah Baxter

Operations Manager

RSS Latest News from Autotalk

RSS Latest News from Dieseltalk

Read previous post:
DSC01216
Head start for new Sorento

Kia Motors New Zealand has managed to make a big start to sales of its new Sorento, amassing a sizeable...

Close