The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee has incredible off-road capabilities and also makes for a good city runabout.
Enhancements for the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 model include a new, fully electronic eight-speed automatic transmission that delivers improved fuel economy. Which means you will now be able to cover a distance of 100km for just Dh40. Emirates will fly you business class to London on an Airbus A380 for Dh50 per 100km. Clearly Detroit’s plan to save us money has worked.
Instead of voraciously glugging and slurping 24 litres of 98 Octane per 100km, this Hemi-in-a-semi now sips – pinky finger raised and all – merely 22 litres every 100km. Three cheers for good ol’ ’Merican thriftiness.
To be fair, what did you expect from 470 horsepower, a displacement of 6.4-litres, 630Nm of torque from 4,300rpm, permanent all-wheel drive and a weight measured in exatons? A 10 per cent saving in fuel thanks to a 60 per cent increase in gear ratios is pretty good going…
So yes, now the 2014 Jeep SRT8 has added three more gears to the ancient five-speed unit – not literally; this is an all-new transmission. This great gearbox likes percentages very much: it can tow 44 per cent more stuff for a 2,269kg total. In other words, if you cheat only a little your Jeep SRT8 can tow a Jeep SRT8. That’s handy; you can use one as a daily driver and the other as a drag car.
See, there is a knob on the tunnel console – not terribly ergonomic since some of the labels are hidden out of view – that you can twist left to a Track setting and change
transfer case proportioning and dynamic controls with 70 per cent of the torque sent to the back wheels.
The new instrument gauge cluster housing a 7in full-colour customisable display will play along with a chequered flag motif and an illustration of an SRT8 ready to pounce. Just behind the T-handle shifter is a new Launch Control button, complete with a drag strip Christmas tree. This function ties together the new transmission, engine, driveline, stability control and suspension for a textbook launch so you don’t end up on a car meme.
They’ve really, really put an awful lot of thought into drag racing a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Granted, a Porsche Cayenne Turbo would eat it alive, and then pick its teeth with the Hemi’s solitary camshaft. Yup, pushrod… Which means a Volkswagen Passat has more valves, but it certainly doesn’t have them sodium-filled and with hollow stems. The exhaust also has active valves so the Hemi sounds nice, and with 470bhp you know the power is always there even if the vehicle’s weight is more apparent.
Yet it drives and handles like it shouldn’t – Pirelli’s excellent and no doubt expensive Scorpions surely have a lot do with that, containing the big SUV well through the corners and providing a pleasant, comfortable, family-car experience on the highway dawdle.
The steering is heavy – surprise, surprise, with those 295 section tyres up front. But the car’s turning circle is remarkably accommodating around town at 11.3m.
It’s perfectly fine around parking lots too, with good visibility, perceptible extremities and parking beeps as well as a clear picture in the new 8.4in infotainment screen. This is a neat display, user-friendly and concise with new SRT-exclusive Performance Pages showing you all your recent lap times, lateral acceleration, 0-100kph runs. Got to keep track of those Yas Marina splits after all…
Other changes for 2014 include a new leather-wrapped shifter, SRT three-spoke flat-bottomed steering wheel with paddles and a host of exterior updates.
Jeep designers spruced up this 2014 model with a new signature LED lamp treatment, a different grille and more aggressive lower air intakes, plus a new rear spoiler.
The 20in wheels are the same because they’ve always looked great in their satin finish, cowling Brembo six-piston front brakes and four-pot rears measuring 381mm and 343mm respectively. I tested them and they make the car stop. But most of all, they make it go: press Launch, hold down the middle pedal, step on the accelerator, unleash the Brembos and with the dive and squat of this thing, you quite literally have lift-off.
The Grand Cherokee features a new 8.4in infotainment screen, showing everything from lap times to 0-100kph runs