£69,900 - £72,900 Price range
The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is a full-size performance SUV that sits at the top of the American brand’s range. Its closest rivals include the Audi SQ7, Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 and the Porsche Cayenne GTS.
A range of wild styling changes separate the SRT8 from the rest of the Grand Cherokee range. At the front, a deep bumper is filled by a huge air dam, and a power bulge in the bonnet hints at the straight-line speed potential. The sides feature flared wheel arches which house a set of 20-inch alloy wheels. The rear is finished off with a lip spoiler and a pair of big bore tailpipes.
Inside, the Grand Cherokee SRT8 gains sporting extras that are a bit more subtle. The leather-trimmed steering wheel gains a flat bottom, and the wood trim is replaced with carbon-effect pieces. The seats are more heavily bolstered and are trimmed in a mix of leather and Alcantara suede. It’s still very practical, though – there’s plenty of space for five and the boot is enormous even if the electrical opening really does take its time.
The driving experience is dominated by the engine. A 6.4-litre V8 sends 461hp to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s enough to slam this 2.5-tonne SUV from 0-62mph in only five seconds, accompanied all the way by a deep rumble coming from the beefy exhaust. Running costs are predictably poor – you’d be happy to get close to the official 20mpg and it spews 315g/km of CO2 emissions.
It’s very much a car for going quickly in straight lines, though – its driving dynamics elsewhere fall short of the performance SUV benchmarks. The handling might be a little on the stodgy side, but at least the Brembo brakes haul the significant mass to a halt reassuringly enough.
The Jeep offers plenty of standard kit for the money, at a price that undercuts the Porsche Cayenne by a reasonable amount, but then again the German car feels more special and better built. Equipment levels are good, though, so in addition to those leather seats, niceties like a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system and adaptive cruise control are included.