Torque And Trans - 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Long Term Road Test

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Long Term Road Test

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Torque And Trans

February 20, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee will be available later this year. New headlights align it with the Chrysler family look and it gets a new eight-speed transmission. But the biggest buzz is a new 3.0-liter diesel V6 option. The new Italian-built diesel makes 420 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm and Jeep says the Grand Cherokee diesel can travel 730 miles and tow up to 7,400 pounds.

Our SRT8 makes 465 lb-ft at 4,300 rpm, tows up to 5,000 pounds and we're averaging 14 mpg combined in our travels. Jeep hasn't announced an EPA-estimated combined MPG spec yet, but the marketing department is pretty happy with the 4x2 diesel's 30 mpg highway mpg.

For 2014, the JCG SRT has dropped the "8" from its name but ironically adds an eight-speed transmission, an optional 8-inch touchscreen display and increased towing capacity (now 7,200 pounds).

Obviously not apples to apples, but is 420 lb-ft of early twist enough to sway you away from 470 V8 horsepower? Not to mention the extra $20,000 in your pocket? The SRT8 is a thrill, no question, no debate. But a more mortal Cherokee with loads of torque is also an exciting prospect.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 20,080 miles


  • seppoboy seppoboy Posts:

    4x2 Grand Cherokee diesel? What exactly is the point of a Jeep without 4wd? Crazy stuff

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    The point is you live where it never or very very rarely snows (Phoenix, Miami, Dallas, etc) and you never go off road more than the occassional meadow when hunting or camping. You do however tow a boat or other trailer and have need for an SUV type vehicle. In that case why spend a couple grand more for a capability you don't need that will also suck more gas?

  • seppoboy seppoboy Posts:

    bankerdanny, why would this sunbelt person need an SUV? Wouldn't a pickup make more sense if towing was a priority? If not, a station wagon or van makes more sense than a Jeep engineered with weight and bulk for 4wd service but lacking the capabilities. Plus, 4x2 pollutes the Jeep brand, are the few incremental sales worth that long term damage?

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    First, the vast majority of SUV buyers never even drive on a dirt road, much less a trail, and would be better served by minivans and station wagons, so what makes the most sense for the buyer really doesn't factor in. Second, pollutes the brand? Really? You know that Jeep has sold 2WD vehicles for decades right? And how could a diesel 2WD Grand Cherokee pollute a brand that offers the Patriot and Compass?

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    A 4x2 Jeep meets the needs of many and it a necessity because of CAFE. @seppoboy "...pollutes the brand..." do you work in advertising by any chance? Just writing that phrase made me throw up a little in my mouth. This modern pigeon-holing everything and image nonsense is getting out of hand. On the subject of image, sunbelt folk drive SUVs for the same reason that nearly everybody else does; they don't want to be seen in a van or station wagon.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    I would take a diesel Jeep in 4x4 for my off-roading because of the torque and they are so much more efficient at part load than a gas motor.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @seppoboy: Not sure where you get the idea that 4X2 "pollutes" the brand. It's not like the Wrangler went to independent suspension and 2WD all of a sudden. Not everyone wants a pickup either, particularly if they have family hauling duties. Th

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    I would consider a Grand Cherokee for family hauling duty (3 and a dog, and growing), for climate controlled cargo transport (tarping in a pickup bed is more of a hassle or undesirable), and for occasional cross-country towing. 4x4 is not necessary but certainly helpful in snow. And this SUV is one of the best looking on the market. Would I get the diesel or the SRT? Probably neither. The pentastar V6 is plenty strong, so that'd be my engine choice.

Leave a Comment

Past Long-Term Road Tests

Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat online with us
Email us at
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Call us at 855-782-4711
Text us at ED411