2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Video Review & Road Test

The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT: you'll drive away in one for 80-something thousand bucks. So it’s great value compared with the Germans. A real man’s SUV. The sort of thing the Marlborough Man would drive today, if he hadn’t croaked thanks to emphysema



The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT: you'll drive away in one for eighty-something thousand bucks. So it’s unbeatable value compared with the Germans. And it’s a real man’s SUV. The sort of vehicle the Marlborough Man would drive (remember him?) if he hadn’t croaked prematurely thanks to emphysema.

How the Germans compare

The base model Mercedes-Benz ML is more expensive than one of these babies, and you just about need a nice pair of Jimmy Choo pumps and a Prada tote to drive the Benz. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The Lexus RX 350 is line-ball on price with the SRT, and three times as girly. On a good day.

The Grand Cherokee SRT sits right up the other end of the hormonal spectrum. It got all the testosterone. Jeep calls it the ultimate performance SUV. But in reality, it's the ultimate PMT soccer Mom's don't-mess-with-me PMT conveyance. It just screams: 'get out of my way'.

Very few SUVs will manage to keep up, and the ones that can are insanely expensive. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo is a whopping $222,000. And a BMW X6 M or Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG Benz will cost you almost $200,000 – that’s equivalent to two Grand Cherokee SRTs and a decent old holiday in Europe. To be fair, these three Euros are all slightly more powerful.

But – trust me – the Jeep is anything but anorexic – even in a relative sense. If you drive away in anything with the SRT badge at (say) 10am, you'll arrive at your destination about 9am. They’re that quick. The Grand Cherokee SRT occupies a place where glorious irrelevance, affordability and insane point-to-point capability intersect.

Move over BMW X5, and Audi Q7 - and it's not even like these notionally more premium vehicles are even made in Germany. Joke's on you if you think that.

Like the Mercedes-Benz, the BMW X5 and X6 hail from the USA, and the big, fat Audi is built in Bratislava. Perversely, the Grand Cherokee is the closest of all four to being authentically German: it’s made in Austria.

Let's be frank, or in this case, Frances - that Benz ML Class has always been way too in touch with its feminine side. Next to this thing, the ML straps on the cowboy leather chaps and a hard hat, and hums the Village People's greatest hits all the way home... Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Performance: Awesome Hemi V8

There’s a dirty big, atmo Hemi V8 up the pointy end and tyres about a foot wide at each corner – that’s basically all you need to know. 344kW and 624Nm – driving all four wheels on demand through an eight-speed auto transmission. And inside it’s just fully loaded – with equipment and tech. There are more menus and software customization options than Apple’s next iPhone – so it comes with its visa stamped for unlimited entry to geeky heaven if that’s the sort of thing you’re into. Just don’t get distracted by the SRT ‘performance’ apps – this thing is so quick the only place for your eyes is ‘out there’ as far as possible down the road ahead.

Obviously, the political correctness set are gunna hate it. So, hemp-wearers, move on. Nothing for you to see here. But you'll be the envy of Jethros and Cletuses everywhere, and you can park in spaces that are already occupied. That's important, in our increasingly congested cities.

People who worry about congestion, CO2, and fuel economy don’t buy vehicles like this. It’s thirsty. On the plus side, if you buy the SRT instead of an ML 63 Benz, the $120k you save on the vehicle would buy almost 80,000 litres of petrol – enough for around half a million kilometres of mobility at the official consumption figure. Let’s call it 14 laps of planet earth. That's a lot of fuel. Where would you put it?

Interestingly, despite the massive cargo space, there’s no seven-seat option. That’s unfortunate if you, or your three ex-wives managed to be prolific breeders.

It's cavernous. You could fit a dozen dead environmentalists in the back. And when you compare it with the BMW, Benz or Audi you can buy for the same dough, all you get is half the standard equipment, plus 'effeminate' design, with a badge.