Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review
2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT – Click above for high resolution image gallery

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review

Car Tested: 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT; Road Test No. 705

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 1,35,92,971/-

The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is one of the most badass SUVs with monstrous power on offer

Talk about off-roading vehicles and the first name which pops into the mind is Jeep. It has become synonymous with 4×4 SUVs with many SUVs being called Jeep in India. With growing popularity of off-roading vehicles in India, it only makes sense for Jeep to enter India and it is doing so very soon. Being an American brand, they are known to make big and badass SUVs. But fast and big don’t go together, right? Wrong! The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT proves it all wrong. But how does it manage to do it?

Motor Quest: SRT is to Jeep what AMG is to Mercedes. SRT is a sub-brand under the Fiat-Chrysler Group which customizes standard cars into high performance machines. SRT stands for Street and Racing Technology and true to its name, the customized cars are built to perform exceptionally on street as well as track.

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It is difficult to see anything more imposing than a SRT in your mirror

Exteriors – Annoyed being bullied by the erratic bus driver or that guy in a big SUV? All you need is the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. The looks are enough to intimidate anyone and when one sees it in their rearview mirror, the first thing they would do is give it way. The front grille with seven tooth like pattern combined with the mean looking DRLs give the front a very aggressive look. The front bumper on the SRT is also different than the one on the standard Grand Cherokee. Move on to the side and you notice the 20-inch rims in polished aluminium finish. The five spoke rims suit the Cherokee’s image well but might not be to everyone’s liking. I personally didn’t like them much.

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The side profile shows the true bulk of the Grand Cherokee SRT

The Grand Cherokee is huge in size and has sporty bits to justify the SRT badge

The rear end of the Grand Cherokee SRT is rather plain jane when compared to the front. The tail lights aren’t particularly attractive and lack LED elements. The rear diffuser houses the dual exhaust pipes which act more like speakers producing music, more on that later. The dimensions of the SRT are humungous and they make it quite something to drive in dense traffic. It is difficult to judge the size of the car and thus you have to be very careful of where you take it. One thing is for sure, if attention is what you love, you will love this beast as it gets a lot of it, on the move or parked somewhere.

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Interiors of the Grand Cherokee SRT aren’t great, hard plastics all around

Interiors – When one steps inside a Rs. 1 crore plus car, they expect the quality of every material around them to be of the highest grade. Sadly though, this is not the case with the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. Although the interior layout is nice, most wouldn’t like the use of lesser materials all around. If someone asked me the two elements which I liked about the interiors, those would be the front seats and gear lever. The front seats offer excellent support and no matter how hard you push the car, they keep you in place. The gear lever gives one a typical American car feel which is much appreciated.

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The rear seat space isn’t good but seats offer optimum support

The interiors aren’t as plush as one would expect them to be at this price

However, if someone asked me the bits of the interiors which I hated, there would be plenty. Firstly, the presence of hard plastics all around bugged me to no end. Then comes the instrument cluster which simply put, doesn’t befit a car of this stature. The infotainment system touchscreen is adequately sized but the system isn’t fluid enough like that of its German rivals. The American car maker has ensured that the sound quality isn’t compromised and the SRT is equipped with nine speakers and an amplifier. A 19-speaker Harman Kardon system is an optional extra and takes the audio experience to a new level altogether.

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The boot is huge and houses a 18-inch spare wheel under the floor

It is a known fact that American car makers concentrate more on the engine and external looks while putting together interiors which are just about adequate. However, over the years, these companies too have realized the importance of plush interiors. To put things into perspective, Ford has greatly improved the quality of interiors in the Mustang which has led to a huge rise in sales globally. Jeep could have taken a leaf out of Ford’s book and provided the Grand Cherokee SRT with interiors it truly deserves.

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The 6.4-litre HEMI engine produces enough power to scare you

Performance – This is the department where the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT shows its true colours. Petrol motors with huge displacement is an American trademark and this beast is no different. Powering the SRT is a 6.4-litre naturally aspirated HEMI V8 engine which produces 475 BHP and 630 Nm of torque. On paper, the numbers aren’t too high considering the displacement. However, in the real world, the performance of this SUV is mind numbing. Being a naturally aspirated motor, torque is available from the word go and there’s no turbo lag to deal with. This makes the car shoot like a rocket.

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Performance is SRT’s forte and it breaks all your predefined notions

The most impressive characteristic of the Grand Cherokee SRT is the way power is delivered right from low RPMs

Speaking of shooting like a rocket, the Grand Cherokee SRT comes with launch control which is very easy to use. All one needs to do is press the launch button located next to the gearlever, straighten the steering wheel, press the brake and accelerator completely and then leave the brake pedal. The way this thing surges forward post that is an experience which is very, very difficult to put into words. To describe it in one word – unreal. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine a SUV to launch this way. This even beats the European SUVs which have turbocharged engines with more horses in terms of brute force.

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The exhaust note is intoxicating and makes one drive harder

The brute force and rawness of the engine is down to the torque it produces and the way the engine is built. Earlier, I mentioned about the dual exhausts acting like speakers. What I meant there was that the exhaust note of the SRT is music to the ears. There are very few things which can be better than the sound coming out of a big block American V8 engine and it adds to the whole drama. However, all this comes at a cost and the cost is in terms of something very dear to us Indians – fuel efficiency. Drive it sedately and you would be lucky to get around 3.5 km/l. Drive it the way a SRT is supposed to be and you end up getting 2.5 km/l. The low fuel efficiency is somewhat set off by the huge 120-litre fuel tank.

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Even after being huge in size, the SRT is quite fun to drive

Driving Dynamics – Agile, engaging to drive, fun to push around corners are terms never associated with SUVs. However, the Grand Cherokee SRT has been made keeping these things in mind and tries to showcase that cars of this class can be fun-to-drive too. And it manages to do that pretty well too. Despite its size, it is not very intimidating to drive if you drive with a little caution. You never feel that you are driving a car which won’t fit in most stilt parkings in Mumbai. Turning into corners at considerably high speeds doesn’t unsettle the SRT and it takes it all in its stride.

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The suspension has been setup well, good balance of comfort and agility

The suspension is very well set up for both handling and comfort on the SRT

The suspension soaks up most of the undulations which Indian roads have on offer and provides good balance of sportiness and ride comfort. One thing which I was disappointed with in the Grand Cherokee SRT are the brakes. Despite having huge Brembo discs and calipers at the front and rear, the braking performance is not satisfactory. The brake pedal feels spongy and the feel isn’t good too. The brakes are the sole element in the whole package which do not instil confidence in the driver to go faster. I found myself braking way too early most of the times as I didn’t trust the brakes enough.

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As is the case with expensive imports, the Jeep gets the usual safety bits

Safety and After Sales Service – The safety level of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is right up there as it is imported as a CBU from the USA which is known to have one of the most stringent safety norms. It gets the usual shebang of safety kit including multiple airbags, ABS, ESP, TCS, Hill start assist, Hill descent control and the likes. What remains to be seen is the sales and service network of the brand once it is established in India. In the beginning, showrooms will be opened up in very few cities which is definitely a problem for potential owners.

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The SRT is the perfect SUV to announce your arrival rather loudly

Verdict – So what role does the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT fulfil in the garage of a wealthy businessman? Well, it can’t be his daily drive due to the limited range thanks to the poor fuel efficiency. It is also difficult to be his long distance tourer again due to its demanding appetite. It certainly can be his ride for the weekends when he wants to head out to his farmhouse close to the city and have some fun on the way or at the destination. It can be his ride for some parties where he would like to announce his arrival rather loudly. And in that sense, the SRT makes for a good buy.

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The negatives are certainly outweighed by the positives in this case

What’s Cool

* Butch exterior looks
* Extremely potent engine
* Intoxicating exhaust note
* Good handling for a vehicle of this size

What’s Not So Cool

* Interiors do not befit a car of this price range
* Poor brakes

Alternatives: BMW X6 M, Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG, Range Rover Sport SVR

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Will Indians be willing to get the Jeep badge instead of European ones?

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Specifications

* Engine: 6.4-litre, Naturally Aspirated, HEMI V8
* Power: 475 BHP @ 5500 RPM
* Torque: 630 Nm @ 2000-4000 RPM
* Transmission: 8-speed ZF transmission
* 0-100 km/hr: 4.7 seconds (Claimed), 5.17 seconds (VBOX)
* Fuel Consumption: 3 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Suspension: Active Damping Independent Suspension
* Tyres: 295/45/ZR20
* Brakes: 15-inch rotors (Front), 13.8-inch rotors (Rear)
* Safety: 8 Airbags, ABS, EBD, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control, TCS, ESP

2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Dimensions

* Overall length x width x height: 4860 mm X 1958 mm X 1730 mm
* Wheelbase: 2916 mm
* Kerb weight: 2670 kgs
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 120-litres

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The exhaust note of the Grand Cherokee SRT is still ringing in my ears

Testers’ Note:

“The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT isn’t perfect in any way, it’s heavy and has a huge engine powering it. But this performance SUV sure has character which makes one fall madly in love with it. The way the power comes in, can leave you spellbound and driving it in traffic can be quite fun too as you try to prevent tailgating anyone due to the monstrous torque on offer. This American beast follow the no replacement for displacement mantra very seriously.” – Faisal Khan, Editor, MotorBeam.
“Big muscle, higher displacement and extreme performance are just few words which describe this American monster. With the world changing over to turbos, this old school naturally aspirated V8 truly impresses and puts a smile on your face. It also adds a bit of exclusivity for those who want to break away from the Germans. However, for the price, the interiors are quite average and Jeep really needs to work hard with post sale service to convince customers that Jeep is really serious about the Indian market” – Javeid Khan, Deputy Editor, MotorBeam.
“The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT has to be one of the most badass cars I have ever driven. The moment I stepped on the gas pedal, I realised that this is a different beast all together. If I had the money and I were in the market for a gas guzzler, this would be it but only and only if the interiors were a bit better. Currently, the interior quality is a very big letdown for me and will certainly pull me back from choosing the car. Of course, after sales service is another factor I would be very concerned about.” – Aman Sancheti, Road Tester, MotorBeam.

Photography – Adil’s Photography