Jeep

Grand Cherokee

8

10

Model

SRT8

Price

$77,000

The Numbers

6417cc, V8, AWD, 344kW, 624Nm, 14.0L/100km, 0-100km/h in 5.0secs, 257km/h max, 2289kg

The Topgear Verdict

The SRT is fast... and launch control? It thinks it’s a Nissan GT-R! Hilarious! Fit and finish are merely okay but the price can’t be argued with.

2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

So. You really, really, really badly want a Mercedes ML 63 AMG.
It’s $173,900. Your bank account looks like the number below a barcode, but with a small minus symbol in front of it. No Mercedes ML 63 AMG for you.
But wait! You can now buy a Mercedes ML 63... for half the price. Actually, even less than half the price. For the price of an ML 63, you can get two Jeep Grand Cherokee SRTs and still have $20k left over. For $77,000 you get a serious amount of metal, leather and plastic for the money; a pugnacious SUV with a 6.4-litre V8, and 344kW/624Nm. An eight-speed auto. Some shiny screens in the dashboard.
Ah, but it has a Jeep badge so people will think you’re a straw-chewer who changes the channel on your TV using a revolver. On the street, too, Jeep seems to have earned itself a reputation for making cars using sticky tape and staples.
Well, we’re here to tell you that’s not entirely true. Inside, the Jeep is a pleasant place to be. Yes, in the lower-end models, the dashboard feels like it’s made of recycled milk crates, but perched behind the steering wheel is a rather smart new TFT display. That’s something you’d normally only find in something expensive, and European.
And if speed is the only reason you want an ML 63, you should know that, in a race, the little SRT-boosted Jeep will keep up.
For freshness, Jeep sent the Grand Cherokee to a plastic surgeon. It now has a new face and butt. It looks good if you ask us. There’s also a new gearbox. Jeep has binned the five-speed in place of a new eight-speed unit from ZF. This means the car goes faster and uses less fuel in the process. Tick.
The SRT model is even faster, too, thanks to the addition of launch control. Pin the brake with your left foot, and the throttle pedal with your right, hit the little ‘launch’ button and in a matter of seconds you’re cleanly launching to consistent 13-second quarter miles.
Jeep has also added a two-wheel-drive base model to take on the Ford Territory. The entry-level, rear-drive Laredo is now $43,000. Not quite as cheap as the sausage roll-flavoured rear-drive Territory, which is $39,990, but it’s still using the Territory’s ribs as soccer practice when it’s already been told it has a terminal illness.
Jeep has also been to Dick Smith for a swag of goodies. You can now get your Grand Cherokee with adaptive cruise control and a system that will beep at you if it thinks you’re about to crash into something. Short of licking it, there is a faint flavour of Mercedes ML 63 about this car. Its chassis underpinnings are essentially an ML, developed in unison with Mercedes before the two brands split.
The Jeep V8 even sounds a bit like an ML 63. In fact, you can spot many ML 63 traits in the SRT. Except one. The price.

Reviewed by: Dylan Campbell

Driven: August 21, 2013