FIVE-SECOND MOUNTAIN CLIMBER
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT
Published on Sun, Dec 15, 2013
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Five seconds. That’s the time it takes for this 5150-pound HEMI-powered SUV to reach 60 mph from a dead stop. Unlike a number of SUVs, however, this one can actually climb mountains like a billy goat. Except there’s no gruff here. The all-new 470-horsepower 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT can scale the hills as well as the streets in the greatest of comfort. Harvey Schwartz reports
By Harvey Schwartz
The all-new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is a mid-size vehicle that is powerful and refined, luxurious and functional, muscular and stylish. It’s the brute force of a 470-horsepwoer, 465 pound-feet HEMI V8, combining refined luxury and automotive high-technology. It stands alone as the greatest Jeep Grand Cherokee ever.
The really great news is that this engine is now teamed with the new 8HP70 eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift interactive manual control and an electronically modulated torque clutch with Eco mode. The fun-to-drive feeling starts with the automatic mode, as shifts come fast and seamless when revving the engine up to redline—all the way up to eighth gear. The Eco mode starts the Grand Cherokee in second gear after a stop, then quickens the transmission up to eighth gear to save fuel. At low throttle, the system also has the ability to cut the eight cylinders down to four to further save on fuel usage.
This eight-speed automatic also features full-time Quadra-Trac Active On Demand AWD with Select-Track that is re-tuned to deliver more torque to the rear wheels in Track mode for optimal rear-wheel drive characteristics. These four modes are front-to-rear traction-Automatic at 50/50, Snow/Tow at 50/50, Sport at 35/65 and Track at 30/70. Push-buttons to switch from each is located on the center console. The new eight-speed transmission also helps to deliver greatly enhanced towing performance of 7,200 pounds—a 44 percent increase over the 5,000 pound towing capacity from the previous SRT8. The all-new eight-speed transmission comes with the new electronic, leather-wrapped T-handle shifter that provides the flexibility to choose a transmission shift schedule independent from the Selec-Track system.
To help put all of the 465 pound-feet of toque down on the pavement is an electronic limited slip differential. Also new for 2014 is a launch control system that mimics a professional driver’s inputs to optimize Grand Cherokee SRT’s performance by bringing engine, transmission, driveline, stability control and suspension in line for a textbook launch. Controlled by a button behind the T-handle shifter on the center console, the result is improved and more consistent straight-line acceleration. The performance experience of the truck is further accentuated by a change in transfer case proportioning and dynamic controls for the Selec-Track system when the vehicle is in Track Mode. When this mode is selected, 70 percent of the engine’s torque is delivered to the rear wheels for a more pronounced rear-wheel-drive experience. Grand Cherokee SRT drivers will notice a vehicle that is more responsive from mid-corner to exit. The all-new eight-speed is at the epitome of automotive high-technology. With Launch Control set, 0-60 mph time is lowered to five seconds flat! That is not bad for a 5,150 pound SUV.
The new Grand Cherokee SRT rides on a SRT-tuned fully independent suspension that feels as if it’s riding on rails. When cornering, I feel like I am up against a wall as the vehicle feels so flat with no bend up, even when taking a cloverleaf highway entrance at 65 mph. Up front is a Short-and-Long Arm (SLA) independent setup with coil springs, Bilstein adaptive damping shocks (ADS), upper and lower control arms (A-arms) and a stabilizer bar. The rear is a multi-link setup with coil springs, Bilstein adaptive damping shocks (ADS), an aluminum lower control arm, independent upper links (tension & camber), plus a separate toe link and a stabilizer bar. Software improvements to the retuned Select-track system further distinguish the five dynamic modes: Auto, Sport, Tow, Track and Snow, enabling me to choose a vehicle setting that ideally meets my requirements and ambient conditions of road surface, traffic and weather.
Guiding the new Grand Cherokee SRT on my chosen path is the SRT-tuned power-assisted rack and pinion system. It makes me so close to being a part of the new vehicle. Feel of the road is amazing, turn-in is instantaneous and on-center is spot on. Because the new Grand Cherokee SRT is a super high-performance machine, the ride can be a little stiff but never harsh.
Slowing this 5,150 pound SUV down from speed are world-class brakes. Up front are 15-inch vented discs clamped with giant six-piston Brembo calipers. 13.8-inch vented discs clamped with four-piston calipers in the rear. Standard ABS and Advanced Brake Assist helps to keep me in control during severe braking on wet or slick pavement. Braking from 60 to 0 mph takes only 116 feet. The standard Electronic Stability Control helps me keep control of the vehicle when tackling the steepest curving roads.
The new Grand Cherokee SRT rides on one of the largest wheel and tire combinations of any SUV. Each carbon Split 5-spoke ‘Spider Monkey’ wheel measures 20X10 inches and each is wrapped with super-high-performing Pirelli 295/45ZR20 inch P Zero tires for incredible grip, traction and a smooth ride.
The new vehicle translates its performance to a more aggressive and bold exterior. Its signature seven-slot upper grille with black screen insert has been shortened and is flanked by slimmer, bi-xenon headlamps that are surrounded by a signature LED character lamp treatment. The grille itself is brawnier and the headlamps feature a unique black background to distinguish SRT from other 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee models while further accenting their jewel-like appearance. Down below is another air-intake to further help cool the giant engine and at the sides are LED daytime running lamps and projector-beam foglamps. The lower splitter also features side air-ducts with L-shaped chrome surround to channel cool air to the massive front brakes. The new styling also enabled designers to incorporate the headlamp washers into the headlamp housing for the first time-rather than on the bumper-for a cleaner more functional appearance. A new Grand Cherokee badge along the vehicle’s sides feature a more distinct, more pronounced font.
The 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT’s front light treatment is mirrored in back for a cohesive styling appearance, and features large tail lamps with signature LED lighting. To further emphasize SRT’s performance heritage, the tail lamps feature a black surround, creating the illusion of floating lamps. Also new for 2014 is a more aerodynamically efficient rear spoiler up top that is integrated into the all-new, one-touch power liftgate that features a new SRT badge that no longer carries the engine cylinder number reference. Rather than relying on a manual lever, the liftgate is operated electronically with the push of a button located on the overhead console and closes by pushing a button on the left side of the cargo area. Also new for 2014 is the elimination of the flipper glass that greatly enhances rearward visibility and reducing weight. The step-up bumper features a non-slip black foot pad with chrome surround and down below is a blacked out SRT stenciled badge hiding the tow-hitch that is easily removed when ready to tow. At the sides are two, blacked-out, four-inch wide exhaust tips with a flat-bottom diffuser in between to further help with rear airflow.
From the side view is a sleek, stylish SUV with steeply raked windshield A-pillars, heat extractors mounted on the front sides of the hood, a full-perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse to show a luxury touch, flared fenders with molding to bring the giant 20 inch tires closer to the wheel-wells, deep side extensions to lower the center of gravity enhancing cornering prowess, black trimmed, aero-styled heated/power remote sideview mirrors and pull-out door handles. The look is like the all-new exterior was sculpted from a solid piece of metal.
Open the wide four doors and there are two rows of seats for up to five persons. The dashboard, center console and door trim of all four doors is covered in white-stitched high-quality Laguna black leather and with real carbon fiber trim held in place with chrome pieces. The front bucket seats are deeply cut with suede sides to keep me and my front passenger in place. Each seat is eight-way powered with power lumbar. The most significant interior enhancement this year is the new Uconnect 8.4AN radio touchscreen. The 8.4 inch display shows a wealth of SRT-exclusive Performance Pages, including recent track times, lateral acceleration, 0-60mph times and much more. All data is shown in full-color and can now be shared with other SRT enthusiasts via a built-in 3G connection. The same screen accommodates Uconnect Access Via Mobile, an all-new feature that makes its debut. With it, customers can stream their favorite music into the vehicle using the acclaimed apps Aha, iHeart, Pandora and Slacker. The display also affords drivers access to Bing Internet searches and facilitates cutting-edge cloud-based features such as voice texting-the transmission of text messages using natural speech.
The test Grand Cherokee SRT also came equipped with the new navigation color system that also uses the same screen. On the center console you find the T-handle shifter for the transmission that allows the selection of two driving modes—Drive and Sport. Also new is the redesigned SRT-exclusive power tilt/telescopic/heated three-spoke, leather-wrapped/aluminum trimmed steering wheel with a flat bottom that features a bevy of comfort, convenience and connectivity controls and more pronounced, more ergonomically efficient aluminum paddle shifters. The new steering wheel is designed and positioned to provide optimal view of the new gauge cluster that now features a seven-inch, full-color, customizable instrument cluster display. The new screen allows drivers to select from a multitude of layout and information to be shown in the center of the gauge cluster.
The test Grand Cherokee SRT came equipped with the amazing 825-watt, 19-speaker premium SRT performance audio surround-sound system from Harman Kardon, featuring a 32-volt tracking power supply (TPS) 12-channel Class D amplifier that delivers outstanding acoustics and brings multi-dimensional quality sound for all interior occupants.
The all-new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is an amazing, ultra-high performing machine that seats five in comfort with the latest in automotive high-technology safety equipment, standard. I truly enjoyed the seven-day test drive of this incredible vehicle. It should keep the Jeep brand at the top rung of class of high performing luxury sport utility vehicles.
© Story and pictures by Harvey Schwartz
The third billy goat gruff has arrived, but this goat will carry you across the proverbial bridge in the utmost comfort and no hint of gruff.
For more information about Jeep products, go to www.jeep.com
Name of vehicle:
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT
$68,070 (as tested, including destination)
EPA fuel economy rating:
13 mpg in the city/19 mpg on the highway
6.4-liter HEMI V8 with Fuel Saver Technology
470 at 6,000rpm
465 pound-feet at 4,300 rpm
Transmission: 8HP70 eight-speed with paddle shift interactive manual control, launch control, and an electronically modulated torque clutch with Eco mode Drive configuration: Full-time Quadra-Trac Active On-Demand AWD with Select-Track modes (front-to-rear traction-Automatic at 50/50, Snow/Tow at 50/50, Sport at 35/65 and Track at 30/70) Steering: SRT-tuned power-assisted rack and pinion system Suspension Front: Short-and-Long Arm (SLA) independent setup with coil springs, Bilstein adaptive damping shocks (ADS), upper and lower control arms (A-arms) and a stabilizer bar Rear: Multi-link setup with coil springs, Bilstein adaptive damping shocks (ADS), an aluminum lower control arm, independent upper links (tension & camber), plus a separate toe link and a stabilizer bar. Wheels and tires: Split five-spoke ‘Spider Monkey’ 20X10 inch alloy wheels with Pirelli 295/45ZR20 inch P Zero tires Other specifications 0verall length: 191.3 inches Overall width: 84.9 inches with mirrors Body width: 77.1 inches Overall height: 69.1 inches at roof rail Ground clearance: 8.3 inches minimum Approach angle: 18.45 Ramp Breakover angle: 17.84 Departure angle: 21.9 inches Fuel tank: 24.6 gallons Turning circle: 37.1 feet Curb weight: 5,150 pounds Link opened into new tab: formulad.com/schedule/results