Jeep gets grander

Hot-rodded Amer­i­can SUV tops the new range due here next year

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - BRUCE MCMA­HON bruce.mcma­hon@cars­

JEEP’S next gravel-shred­ding SRT8 Grand Chero­kee is ex­pected to land here by mid-2012.

Chrysler Aus­tralia has con­firmed the hot-rodded SUV as the range­top­per of the new Grand Chero­kee fleet due in the sec­ond quar­ter of next year— at a price ex­pected to un­der­cut the $90,000 charged for the out­go­ing SRT8.

The 346kW, 6.4-litre Hemi V8 is claimed to top 240km/h and jump from 0 to 100kmh in about 4.8 sec­onds, aided by a stump-pulling 630Nm of torque fed through a per­ma­nent four-wheel-drive sys­tem. As be­fore, the SRT8 wagon is not for rock-climb­ing or mud­plug­ging, just for get­ting places with a de­cent amount of pace.

Jeep’s five-speed au­to­matic, with pad­dle shifts, has been re­worked with re­vised ra­tios. Coil springs and Bil­stein dampers are fit­ted all round and the Grand Chero­kee chas­sis is about 25 per cent stiffer.

There are big Brembo brakes, a lock­able rear dif­fer­en­tial and three driver-se­lectable sus­pen­sion modes to keep the SRT8 tidy.

Mean­while, Chrysler Aus­tralia is be­ing kept more than busy with the all-new 3.7-litre V6 and 5.7-litre V8 Grand Chero­kees. Chrysler Aus­tralia mar­ket­ing man­ager Dean Bon­thorne said: ‘‘ We can’t get enough of Grand Chero­kee at the mo­ment.

‘‘ With that $45,000 start­ing price for the Laredo, and mix­ing it with the [Toy­ota] Kluger and [Ford] Ter­ri­tory, it’s an ab­so­lute win­ner.’’

The next wagon to roll in will be a ‘‘ bells and whis­tles’’ Over­land ver­sion of the Grand Chero­kee— and for less than $70,000.

Grand Chero­kee SRT8: Not for rock-climb­ing or mud-plug­ging, just for get­ting places with a de­cent amount of pace

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