2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

If Donald Trump was a car, what would he be?

Let’s see.

– He’d have to be something politically incorrect and capable of polarizing people just by being there.

– He would have to be loud, impossible to miss, and attention-grabbing at all times.

– He’d have to be essentially pointless.

– He would have to appeal to a small group of fanatics.

– He’d have a complete disregard for fuel economy.

– He’d be expensive.

– He’d need to have two names.

Hate to say it, but all these things apply to the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. This is a vehicle aimed at performance enthusiasts who don’t give a fig about the environment or fuel economy, or what you may think. It’s a 4×4 that isn’t really meant to go off-road, a pavement-scorching hot rod that comes unglued at the first sign of a curve, an upscale SUV that isn’t particularly comfortable and can’t carry more than four people in comfort.

But first, a few particulars.

In a nutshell, the Grand Cherokee SRT is a product of Chrysler’s skunk works division and is based on the company’s fourth-generation Grand Cherokee, which, in turn, featured a Mercedes influenced chassis and suspension. A performance oriented SUV, it’s powered by Chrysler’s renowned hemi engine, which, in this configuration, develops 475 horsepower. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission only. Which is enough to send this two-and-a-half ton SUV from a standing start to freeway speed in just under five seconds.   

Meant to appeal to discerning buyers, the SRT also has a special Napa leather interior, with various designer features, such as carbon fibre trim, LCD centre screen, multi-function steering wheel and so on. It has the feel of an upscale automobile in every way….with a price tag to match: $71,695 before extras.

Now, about those Trumposities.

– This is a two-ton, gas-devouring, road-hogging, terrain-chewing SUV. It doesn’t get much more politically incorrect than that. The only thing worse would be a Hummer, which was taken off the market in 2010.

– My “Redline Red” SRT was about as subtle as a flash bomb, and as visible as a fire engine. Easy to find in a crowded parking lot, though.

– Yes, the GC-SRT can rocket to 100 km/h in about five seconds, but it corners like a safari elephant. It’s an SUV, for god’s sake, and has no business being a hot rod. That said, under hard acceleration, it makes absolutely glorious noises and has a bound-for-hell momentum about it that is absolutely intoxicating. As for its off-road ability, it may be a Jeep, but with a price tag around 100 large (after taxes), are you going to take it mud-slogging or boulder-hopping?

– Your typical GC-SRT buyer is either someone who has just sold a home in Vancouver, a Tragically Hip ticket scalper, or a hard-core gearhead who’d pimp out his grandma to get behind the wheel of anything that can lay rubber and be the centre of attention.  

– With a combined fuel rating of 15.8 L /100 km, this is a thirsty behemoth, with no regard for economy or thrift. In these days of hybrid and fully electric cars coming out of the woodwork, this kind of extravagance is environmentally insensitive. Not to mention being expensive….count on saying goodbye to at least a hundred bucks with every fill-up….probably more, since it needs premium gas.

– My Redline Red GC-SRT had a starting price of $71,695…. $84,020 after options such as a rear DVD entertainment centre, trailer towing package, pumped-up stereo system, and fancy wheels. Tack on taxes, various levies and duties, and you’re over 100 grand. That definitely puts the “grand” in Grand Cherokee.

– Just as The Donald’s real last name is “Drumpf”, the official name of this one is Grand Cherokee Street Racing Technology.

I rest my case.

AT A GLANCE

Engine: 6.4 litre V8

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Drive: All-wheel drive

Horsepower: 475 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque: 470 ft. lb. @ 4300 rpm 

Base Price: $71,695’; as tested $84,020

Fuel Economy: 18.5 L /100 km (city) & 12.6 (hwy.) Premium fuel.

Alternatives: BMW X5M, Mercedes ML53 AMG, Range Rover Sport Supercharged, Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

 

 

 

  

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