By Steve & Tamami Laser
Muscle cars with big V8 engines are built for fun and performance so most folks don’t mind the sung interiors and tiny trunks. For those who want to carry five adults with room to spare, tote large objects inside the car with ease, enjoy a commanding view of the road, and still have gobs of Hemi power, Jeep® has the answer. It’s called the Grand Cherokee SRT.
We had a chance to drive the revised 2017 model during a Jeep media event at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, Calif., on adjacent roads including Latigo Canyon and Kanan Dume. While the new Summit and Trailhawk models expand the luxury and off-road appeal of the Grand Cherokee for 2017, the SRT® remains an object of desire for canyon-carving driving enthusiasts.
Let’s go for a drive in the new 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT in our video on location in Malibu Canyon and also take a look at the exterior, under the hood, and inside the cabin.
With its massive Hemi V8 engine, remarkable torque, and commanding grip of the road, the Grand Cherokee quickly generates ear-to-ear grins. We tried several runs on the canyon roads and played with the SRT’s drive modes and paddle shifters. Our verdict? This is an E-ticket ride that’s worth the rather hefty price of admission. (Note: We encourage responsible driving. The local gendarmes are waiting to nab speeders.)
Changes for the new model year include a new front fascia that gave our test truck an aggressive, almost sinister look (reminding us of Darth Vader). The front LED foglights and grille design are also exclusively tailored for this model while our tester’s Crystal Granite Metallic exterior added to the stealthy look.
The SRT is powered by a 6.4-liter Hemi® V8 engine that kicks out 475 horsepower and a stout 470 lb.-ft. of torque. Jeep claims 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds, 0-100-0 in 16.3 seconds, quarter-mile in the mid-13 second range and a top track speed of 160 mph. While we didn’t have a chance to run numbers, we did experience the awesome power and effortless acceleration.
It’s teamed with an 8-speed automatic that’s a good match for the engine. The thick-rimmed steering wheel is equipped with big paddle shifters that are easy to use. The driver can also select eight drive modes that control response for the all-wheel drive system, paddle shifters, stability control, suspension and steering.
The standard Quadra-Trac® Active On Demand 4WD system includes an electronic rear limited-slip differential and Selec Trac System. Engaging the SRT’s Track Mode directs 70 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels providing better response from mid-corner to exit, says Jeep.
While we didn’t have a chance to try it, the SRT’s launch control is said to mimic “a professional driver’s inputs” to optimize performance in straight line runs. We liked the SRT’s bright instrument panel display that places a big tachometer in the middle (like a sports car) and the speedometer to the left.
Grand Cherokee SRT comes with 20-inch forged alloy wheels, while our tester was fitted with optional light-weight alloys and meaty Pirelli P Zero 295/45ZR20 three-season run-flat tires. The optional Trailer Tow group included a 20-inch spare alloy wheel with compact tire. SRT comes with Brembo brakes and four-piston calipers while our tester added the optional high-performance brake system with two-piece performance rotors. Left pedal applications inspired confident stops during our drive.
The cabin provides a very pleasant place to do business with comfortable and supportive heated and ventilated front seats with driver’s memory. We also liked the leather with perforated suede upholstery and “SRT” embroidered logos on the seatbacks.
The split-folding rear seats are easy to fold and also heated. Our tester’s optional rear-seat dual 9-inch-screen entertainment system with fold-up seatback-mounted screens and Blu-Ray DVD player would likely be a boon to family harmony on trips. It includes HDMI and RCA jacks to hook up compatible user-supplied gaming systems.
There’s plenty of space for passengers and cargo with a flexible seating arrangement. (We hope that Jeep one day decides to offer a seven-passenger model, which is a deal breaker for shoppers with big families.)
Another option was the SRT High Performance Audio with 19 Harman Kardon® speakers and subwoofer and an 825-watt amp. In addition to excellent sound and thumping bass, we also liked the standard Uconnect® system with its super bright 8.4-inch touchscreen display. It includes a “Drag and Drop” menu bar, Siri Eyes Free, SiriusXM Traffic™ and Travel Link.
Alas, all good things must come to an end. We really enjoyed our test drive of the SRT and thank Jeep for inviting us to the media event at scenic Calamigos Ranch. Now it’s time to talk about pricing. The 2017 Grand Cherokee SRT starts with a base price of $66,795. Adding our tester’s option list brought the bottom line to $78,355 including destination.
That puts it into the territory of some pretty heady competition from luxury brands. Yet this is a stealth-mobile for well-to-do types who don’t want to flaunt their wealth. The familiar Grand Cherokee silhouette and Jeep badges make this a terrific “sleeper.”
It’s also a good alternative for those who might consider the (more powerful) Dodge Charger or Challenger SRT Hellcat but need more room inside. Of course, folks (like us) with more modest budgets would do well to consider other models in the range. Grand Cherokee prices start at $30,295 for the Laredo 4×2. Canyon carving is done for the day as the clock strikes midnight and our coach tuns into a pumpkin.
For more information on the Grand Cherokee lineup visit Jeep.com
2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT press fleet vehicle provided by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) US LLC. Features, specifications, and prices for U.S. market models are subject to change without notice by the automaker.
Story, photos and video copyright © 2016 CarNichiWa.com