2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Towing Impressions
January 2, 2013
Our 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is equipped with the $995 Trailer Tow Group IV option. Translation: Tow package. According to the manual, its towing capacity is rated at 5,000 pounds. As it turned out, we recently conducted a test requiring several electric cars to be towed around town. Our Cherokee was the most appropriate long-term car for the job.
The engine was suitable for our needs. Aside from a couple of uphill freeway on-ramps, power was not an issue. With the transmission in tow mode, the SRT8 had enough grunt to keep us in motion. We averaged 14 mpg after 500 miles of car-laden towing. Another 500 miles or so were spent transporting an empty trailer to the next location. Here fuel economy swelled slightly to nearly 16 mpg, thanks largely to a 55 mph speed limit.
Ride quality with a car in tow was one area the Grand Cherokee struggled. Over rough pavement, of which SoCal freeways have no shortage, the Jeep bucked mildly. To a degree this attitude was expected. We didn't necessarily expect the creaking and groaning noises that accompanied the dance. Some originated from the mature rental trailer behind us. The rest can be attributed to the Jeep's unibody construction. It made for a noisy ride.
There was one aspect of the Jeep that was a pain, the driver seat. After an hour or two on the road life was good. Anything longer and the firm seat bottom took its toll. I found myself shifting regularly to find a new groove, but never quite finding the sweet spot again. This isn't my favorite seat for the long haul.
In my opinion, the engine and ride performance were acceptable under the circumstances. The SRT8 satisfied our needs just fine. But I did not care for the long-range seat comfort.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 15,001 miles