San Antonio.- When I hear the word Jeep, I think of two things…the military and how this brand has supplied it with rugged, dependable transportation for decades, and I think of the outdoors, fun, off-roading, and again dependable transportation.
Well take those two scenarios and add a stick of dynamite under the hood and you have the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8! Since early 2006 Jeep has been delivering this steroid induced SUV that seems to set its own standard.
The entire week I was driving this vehicle around town, people keep giving me long looks and asking me if that was a Jeep? This sexy beast is going to put more power then you have ever felt under a hood of an SUV and hand it to you on a classy, well healed chassis that will do battle with the Lexus, Porsche and Mercedes.
Let’s begin with choices, because everyone wants a choice. The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a five-passenger midsize SUV that comes in three basic trim levels: Laredo, Limited and Overland. Each one of these trims gives you another choice, rear-drive or four-wheel-drive drivetrains.
Let’s start with the Laredo which includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, fog lamps, cruise control, full power accessories, dual-zone air-conditioning, a six-speaker sound system. Not bad for the basic model. If you want some extra toys, you can get: roof rails, keyless ignition/entry, a power eight-way driver seat and a satellite radio.
The next step up which is the Limited, will get you all the toys the Laredo had plus optional equipment like 18-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, a Garmin navigation system, automatic wipers, a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, driver memory functions and heated second-row seats.
Adding to the already loaded Limited package you can get 20-inch wheels, a power lift gate, and an upgraded navigation system with real-time traffic. Adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and blind spot/rear cross-path detection and a towing package are also available.
Next on the Menu is the Overland, which brings in most of the Limited's options plus an adjustable Quadra-Lift air suspension, mesh grille, upgraded leather seating and a heated wood and leather steering wheel. Additional options on the Summit are additional exterior chrome accents, unique 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, headlight washers, choice of black or saddle-colored leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, front parking assist and blind-spot/rear cross-path detection systems.
The monster of the bunch the SRT8, comes with almost all of the Overland's luxury features, but adds V8 engine with 6.4-liter V8 that can produce 470 horsepower and 465 foot pounds of torque. That much power will get you to 60 mph in a screaming 5.1 seconds.
I can attest to the “nail you head into the seat” acceleration that I have not felt in anything shy of a Viper or a Porsche Cayenne.
Even the editor of Autoweek, Bob Gritzinger said, “Yes, it's big. Yes, it's bad. Yes, it's a planet killer, and yes, it's an unadulterated blast to bomb around in -- and the more you hammer the throttle, stab the brakes and crank the steering wheel, the better!”
I have to totally agree with Bob, just once I found myself on a lonely road putting the pedal to the metal and yelling like a kid this this Saturn 5 rocket blasted me down the street! This kind of fun and luxury does come at a price.
My Jeep Cherokee SRT8 came with a sticker price of $61,295. But when you compare it to the other SUVs that can come close to keeping up, you better add another $20,000 to the price tag. So if your looking for that kind of thrill, you can’t afford not to test-drive the SRT8…you are going to get out of the Jeep with a huge smile on your face.
Information for this column was acquired from Jeep and its associated media outlets.