What is it?
For brekky, some people like Vegemite on toast and others like a bit of toast with their Vegemite.
Generally the latter breed will be inclined to settle into their 6.4-litre Hemi V8 with a wrist adornment, tattoo sleeve-up, with a fast and furious face and drive stance, ready to slaughter the cafe strip.
Jeep advertisers say “you can go your own way” so we took the test vehicle, a Grand Cherokee SRT, for a trip to the wine region to explore its subtle side.
From the beginning I thought I’d better fill the tank to the brim before going. I didn’t.
I thought I’d stop by a servo before I headed back . . . if I got down on one tank? I didn’t.
In non-beast mode, the SRT (the letters stand for Street and Racing Technology) is actually very fuel-efficient.
It averaged 10.0L/100km, well below the claimed average of 14.0L/100km.
It managed exactly what the display said, down there, to and fro — and back.
However, most of the run was on the state highways, where the SRT was able to lope along happily with half its engine switched off.
Yep, the Goliath simply takes on a David character, turning off four of its eight cylinders on easy runs.
Add to that very comfortable power heated and cooling seats, lots of space, great sound deadening, and the Grand Chero SRT showed some layers of refinement that fit well in these times.
The infotainment screen can be manipulated like your laptop, there’s phone pairing of course, and it’s simple to use.
There are multiple, multiples of options for settings that give the owner complete, micro-management control over everything feasible — bar a hot breakfast.
What’s it cost?
Well, the vehicle retails at around the $95K mark, including some of optional extras.
Then there’s some $7000 in licence and compulsory insurance fees. But in these times of viral trouble, you should be able to negotiate a deal, because car sales are not exactly booming right now.
There are several Cherokees to choose from, but only the SRT gets the muscle magic – and price wise, it compares very well with other high-performance SUVs and 4x4s.
Some of the Euro fancy pants don’t even have all-wheel drive, whereas the SRT has Quadra-Trac active on-demand 4WD, not to mention a brake traction control system on the front differential and an electronic limited slip diff at the back.
What’s it go like?
Drivers will find a lot to like.
There’s a really good flat-bottomed steering wheel, which can be electrically-adjusted for rake and reach, and the drivetrain has five modes which can also be customized (spelled with a z).
Auto is your default, Sport tightens things up a bit and allows paddle shifting of the 8-speed gearbox.
Track setting stiffens the damper settings more and keeps higher revs ready for apex, squirty, sweepy road action. There’s also Tow and Snow.
Then there’s a tree button.? Not a green tree that grows if you use less fuel in some Hondas, but a Christmas tree that, if pushed just before the throttle, snaps your passenger’s neck back, while a glazed look of terror appears and the world as you know it becomes blurred.
The Mopar super bee has been replaced by a hornet’s nest packing 344 killer Wasps and 624Nm.
That’s supercar stuff and allows the big boy to bellow to 100km/h in a smidgen under 5 seconds — and, where legal (think Europe) — on to a Multanova-exploding 270km/h.
On the road at 100km/h, it’s comfy, compliant, grippy and eager.
Between corners you can feel the kerb weight, but the Pirelli Zeroes do a great job of keeping it clean. It is about as good as anything in the segment can muster.
Our SRT had a black on black theme, common in thug lives but actually easy to live with.
Accents of plastic chrome here and there won’t blind you during day trips, as they have radius edges.
These guys have thought about so many aspects of this vehicle, and designed it with user friendliness first.
The Uconnect system has a big touchscreen and a configurable instrument cluster, and our car came with a ‘vigourous’ 360-degree 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
It’s a hell of an system, but the SRT’s exhaust note makes for way better music.
Overall, there is definitely some Mopar vulgarity on display here, just like taking a male pit bull for a walk.
Your neighbourhood may even think you have an illegal income stream, but you will know that the Cherokee SRT is a well priced sledgehammer in Euro opposition, that does things differently and somehow still efficiently.
About its fuel use; behave and you can get medium-sized car-like fuel economy on a country run. Use its built-in launch control and release most of those kilowatts and expect to use twice as much gas.
And the Grand Cherokee SRT now comes with a five-year warranty.
What we like?
- Hemi V8 muscle
- Unexpected fuel economy
- Value for money
- Exhaust burble
What we don’t like?
- Foot-operated parking brake
The bottom line?
Not sad to say, it was strangely impressive.
CHECKOUT: Military-grade Jeep a bit ho Hummer
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, priced from $92,450
- Looks - 7.5/107.5/10
- Performance - 10/1010/10
- Safety - 8/108/10
- Thirst - 8/108/10
- Practicality - 7.5/107.5/10
- Comfort - 8/108/10
- Tech - 9/109/10
- Value - 9/109/10