RUMBLE OF THE BEAST. The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is a gearhead’s dream come true. Naturally, Renaldi Hutasoit had to take it for a spin
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is a hot rod. It is the fire-breathing brother of the fourth generation Jeep Grand Cherokee platform, the WK2. Built for power, the Jeep SRT is also a breeze to handle and comes with all the bells and whistles one might expect (and more) from a top-of-the-range luxe SUV.
UNDER THE HOOD
Of course, it is only fitting that any discourse covering a vehicle like the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT begins with the engine. To power the SRT, Jeep borrowed a 6.4L V8 HEMI from Chrysler. HEMI is a trademark owned by Chrysler Group (that also owns the Jeep brand) and iriginally originally refers to a hemispherical-shaped combustion chamber developed by Chrysler in the 1950s, which at the time of its inception was considered the pinnacle of engineering. While the design was later adopted by countless other car manufacturers, Chrysler was smart enough to trademark the word “HEMI,” so that they would be the only brand who can use the term for marketing. From the HEMI engine, Jeep managed to squeeze out 470hp and 630nm of naturally aspirated power and torque, respectively. Competing high- performance SUVs might produce more than that, but all of them are forced induction models and are sold at a higher price. I don’t think that any Jeep SRT owner would be too concerned with fuel consumption; but just in case, Jeep has implemented an Eco button and Fuel Saver Technology, which deactivates four of the cylinders when full power is not required. Either way, this 2.3-ton SUV can go from zero to 100kph in just 4.9 seconds, while its top speed is 250kph. Jeep has coupled the HEMI engine with a very smart eight-speed automatic transmission, which has 99 different shift maps to accommodate all kinds of driving habits. The gearbox was so good in predicting which gear I needed that I never really felt the need to use the shift paddles behind the steering wheel. Since the SRT is a performance SUV, Jeep cleverly used a higher stall torque converter to give it a more forceful acceleration. Now this is a genuine hot rod trick.
LIKE A CHARM
The Jeep SRT has 5 driving modes: Auto, Sport, Snow, Track and Tow, selected via a rotary Selec-Trac controller. In addition to the 99 shift maps, each driving mode will have its own front-rear torque split ranging from 30:70 in Track mode to 50:50 in Snow. Each mode adjusts not only the gearbox mapping but also damper settings, Electronic Stability Control and the transfer case parameters as well. To the left of the Selec-Trac controller, there is the Launch button, which is a clear-as-day depiction of a drag strip’s starting line lights, aka a “Christmas Tree.” When the button is pressed, the system will change the suspension settings to firm, turn off the traction control, stability control switches to Track, and change the torque split to 70-percent rear and 30-percent front. Jeep wants the Grand Cherokee SRT to not only go fast in a straight line but also to corner well. Jeep started off by using Pirelli P-Zero 295/30 tires all around, 80-percent stiffer springs that also lowers the ride height 25mm up front and 30mm at the rear when compared to other Grand Cherokee variants, larger anti-roll bars and, finally, a Bilstein-manufactured Active Damping System to top it all off. The results speak for themselves. I have never felt more planted in any other SUV while driving fast. While body roll is still present, it was really very minimal. Braking power is just as important as engine power for Jeep, and, as such, the SRT is equipped with Brembo 15-inch rotors on the front, with six-piston monoblock calipers and 13.8-inch rotors with four-piston calipers at the rear.
Moving inside, the SRT has a decidedly upscale looking interior. The leather front seats are generously sized with enough lateral support, while the rear seats are also very comfortable. As with any premium American car, you will find the interior to be very practical. Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH) is very well damped. In fact, it was so quiet that the American V8 exhaust’s signature burble couldn’t be heard from the inside unless you were going at full throttle. The SRT, being a top-of-the-line Grand Cherokee model, comes equipped with every multimedia entertainment system you could ask for. Coupled with great sounding 11 speakers plus subwoofers as a standard feature (a 19-speaker Harmann Kardon system is optional) is an 8.4-inch touchscreen. All these are controlled through Chrysler’s Uconnect system, which provides the driver with hands-free communication and navigation. I particularly love that the car will read out your text messages, albeit only in English. It was fun trying to guess what Indonesian words the lady voiceover was trying to say.
NINE DIGITS OF JOY
When you buy a Jeep SRT, you are not just buying a performance SUV; you are buying a modern American hot rod. This is not a purchase that you decide with your brain—it should come from the heart. If you love speed and real-world performance, if you want daily driving convenience, if your heart beats faster when you hear the rumble of a true V8, there are far worse ways to spend Rp.2.15 billion.
Specs: Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT
Engine: 392 HEMI® V-8 (6.4 liter) with Fuel Saver Technology
Transmission: Eight-speed Automatic
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