From China, with a lot of empathy for your budget, come two value-for-money family cars, the Corolla competing C30 from Great Wall Motors (left)
AMIL UMRAW advises those not in the know to just think of the SRT as the Clarke Kent of SUVs
IF I were to say that the vehicle I’m driving launches to 100 km/h in five seconds, wrings it wheels with 624 Nm of torque and finishes a quarter mile at 200, what car comes to mind? A tricked out GTI perhaps? Or maybe a first-generation Lamborghini Gallardo? Well, no.
It’s a big, clumsy sport utility vehicle. But not just any one. This one’s backside boasts three definitive letters cast in silver — SRT.
A few months ago, Jeep, known for its lineage in off-road and family sized tourers, announced it would be producing an abomination. They’re calling it a Grand Cherokee SRT Hellcat, or Trackhawk (the name is yet to be confirmed), and its rumoured to be carrying a supercharged 6,2 litre V8.
Whispers from deep within the pit where it is being forged say this behemoth will be measuring 880 Nm of torque and 527 kW on the wheels.
However, we don’t know if it will be arriving on South African shores.
But to celebrate such petrol-headed fun, Wheels thought it a good idea to remind ourselves just what an SRT is and got behind the wheel of the 6,4l V8 Hemi, which was launched locally last year.
At a glance, the SRT looks like any other soccer mum’s taxi and could be even mistaken for a standard model with additional exterior trims. But looking closer, you will find two flaring nostrils on the bonnet, exhaust tips you could fit your fists into and a sports suspensions sitting low on 20” rims.
It’s only when you start it up that you realise just how much fun you are about to have.
The SRT is a debonair adonis adorned in a tuxedo and when you plant down your right foot, it rips off its coat and neatly ironed shirt to expose its jumpsuit apparatus underneath. Think of it as the Clarke Kent of SUVs.
Unlike what’s to come, the current SRT belts out “only” 344 kW and 624 Nm of torque, which catapults the muscular beast to a limited 257 km/h before you can count out the R200 notes in your wallet to refuel the tank again.
And it is not just a straight-line racer that feels bulky on the corners. Switch to the designated Track mode and the SRT becomes a feather-weight, taking corners with composure and precision.
The eight-speed transmission, controlled automatically or by flappy pedals, is your best friend for cruising long distances or rocketing between traffic lights. But all this power comes at a price.
The lowest average fuel consumption I could achieve was 18 l/100 km and at times I was all the way up to 25. It’s worth every cent, though.
Inside, the SRT does not let luxury fall away. There is a combination of polished steel, carbon fibre, leather and suede. There are simply too many standard features to mention; let’s just say it has all you need and more.
So what do you get for about R1,2 million?
Firstly, it is a few hundred thousand cheaper than its German counterparts and offers the same value for money.
It’s an exceptional cruiser, a long-distance tourer and a full-blown racer all in one.
But then, for its price some would say they could have all three. I could buy a super hatch and an SUV for the price of the SRT. Hell, I could even buy a Skyline GTR.
But then again, you can’t have a picnic for four in the boot of a GTR. Actually, I could have that picnic while racing down a drag strip in the SRT, and I’d probably win too.
So, even if we do not get the Hellcat next year, I can safely say I’m rather content with what we have in the Jeep stable right now.
At first glance, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT looks like the SUV that soccer mums would drive, until it rips of its shirt and burns rubber, that is.