As we all know Jeep make a damn fine off road vehicle, in fact the current Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of Carshowroom’s favourites 4x4’s. It has taken Chrysler Fiat Australia a little longer than they anticipated getting the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 to Australia.
So it was with great expectations that we travelled to national media launch of the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 Overview
Lets not beat around the bush the biggest surprise about the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is the price - only $76,000 that is $10,000 cheaper than the model it replaces. With its aggressive looks, sports body kit, 20” inch aluminium wheels, you will not find a sports utility vehicle that can get close to this iconic car, you get a whole lot of car for your money.
With impressive fuel economy improvements, the addition of being able to tow up 2268kg this massive American SUV will tick the boxes for those looking to standout on the road without having to drop over $150,000.
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 Engine
It’s not just any old engine in the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, it is the same engine which can be found in legendary American muscle cars like Dodge Challenger SRT8 , Chrysler 300SRT8 and Dodge Charger SRT8, SRT have placed its all new Chrysler Group’s 6.4-litre HEMI V8 with Fuel Saver Technology.
Thumbing its nose at the green movement, the sweet sounding V8 produces a massive 344kW at 6250rpm and 624Nm at 4100rpm. With 90-percent of its peak torque available between 2,800 and 6,000 rpm. Jeep claim the combined cycle fuel consumption of 14.1/100kms, in our day behind the wheel we managed 16.1/100kms, not bad considering we drove hard all day. Driving without the lead in your right foot the Jeep is able to cover 895kms from a single tank of fuel.
The claimed 0-100km/h time is 5.0-seconds, however at the local launch the best time achieved by 14 motoring journalists was 5.3-seconds.
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 The Interior
The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is big on the outside and just as big on the inside, built by Americans for Americans you found plenty of space for all five passengers.
The driver is rewarded with 8-way electronic seat adjustment with 4-way electronic lumbar adjustment. Sitting in the supportive sculpted Nappa leather and suede seats you are presented with a D-shaped leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel, with mounted paddle-shift controls. At the front of the steering wheel you’ll find audio and Electronic Vehicle Information Centre (EVIC) controls.
The two front seats have the SRT logos stitched in to them, the front seats are also heated and ventilated while the rear are heated only. Jeep have added sporting touches throughout the cabin with carbon-fibre accents integrated into the instrument panel and door trims, while the driver also gets polished-alloy racing-style pedal.
Moving the cabin from sporty to prestige is the addition of standard a power liftgate, adaptive cruise control, Forward Collision Warning and Blind-spot Monitoring. Luggage capcity for the SRT8 is the same as the standard Jeep at 1,554-litres (seats folded) or 782-litres (seats in place).
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 Exterior & Styling
The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is one of the best looking SUV’s on the market today With its body-colour wheel flares and side sill cladding, Sculpted bonnet, dual-sport exhaust and the those low and wide tyres, the Jeep looks ready to rumble.
Setting the aggressive tone are the split five-spoke, 20-inch aluminium wheels that come with low profile P295/45ZR20 Pirelli Scorpion Verde tyres. Upfront the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, has the seven slot body-coloured front grille with a unique black screen background and chrome bezel inserts add to the aggressive look. The lower front grille is painted in gloss black and the front end is a newly sculpted bonnet with functional dual black heat extractors for added engine cooling. Completing the look new LED multi-function daytime running lamps exclusive to the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee STR8.
From the rear, the SRT touches include a new tailgate spoiler that reduces drag and improves downforce, plus is the dual-sport exhaust system featuring four-inch exhaust tips that produce an almighty growl.
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 On The Road
The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is a great example of how far Jeep has come. While the ride is on the firm side it is a world away from any Jeep we have driven before.
The Jeep in SRT8 format is off to an amazing start thanks to the 6.4-litre HEMI V8 that launches the Jeep from a standing start, however there is no point having raw power without being able to enjoy the car in the corners.
The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 driver can use the Selec-Track which enables drivers to manually choose between five dynamic modes for specific driving conditions. The selec-track can determine the correct calibrations for up to 12 different powertrain, braking and suspension systems, including optimising the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system, adjusting the suspension height and differential lock settings and even altering the engine’s throttle response.
The five options are:
• Auto: provides the most compliant ride and automatically adapts to any road situation using the adaptive suspension tuning.
• Sport: provides enhanced body control for a sporty, fun-to-drive ride for the street.
• Tow: provides a safe reduction in pitch and bounce for enhanced towing capability.
• Track: provides the high-performance, firm, “track-tuned” suspension option to lock down body motion for the ultimate handling experience.
• Snow: provides the most conservative dynamic mode, so the vehicle will safely stay in-line in inclement winter weather conditions.
Stopping the SRT8 is a set of new SRT high performance Brembo brakes. The bright red Brembo six-piston (front) and four-piston (rear) callipers, and vented rotors at all four corners measuring 381mm (front) and 350mm (rear).
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 Challenges
With a limited supply of Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8’s coming in to Australia you may have a long wait in your hands. The lion’s share for this year’s allocation has already been sold.
When pushing the car hard its best to have the car in manual mode as the five speed transmission in auto mode can sometimes be caught searching for the right gear – should be fixed when the 8-speed transmission is paired with this awesome SUV next year.
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 The Competition
At $76,000 you will be hard pressed to find any SUV that can offer up a fair fight. The only competitions in this segment in terms of performance are the luxury Germans, but with prestige name badges also come excessively high price tags.
The Mercedes Benz ML63 AMG priced from $177,900 and the even more expensive BMW X5M at $182,700 X5 M.
If you have the extra $100k floating around and you have test driven the other two Germans then you should also consider the $164,900 Porsche Cayenne GTS.
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 Verdict
If you are in the market for a sports inspired SUV then you have a choice of four vehicles. With a price point of only $76,000 you could have two Jeeps SRT8’s and still have money left over.
Do yourself a favour and book in a test drive.