2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Long Term Road Test


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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Summer Tires Installed

March 29, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

It's time to put summer tires back on our 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. For the past several months we've rolled around on all-seasons. But our time with the SRT8 is coming to an end. We need to restore it to original condition before returning the car to Jeep.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Oil Change

February 1, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

At about 18,200 miles, our JGC SRT8 let us know it was due for an oil change via a reminder in the instrument cluster. So we took it to Buerge Jeep located just a few miles down the road. As I went to drop off the car, I steeled myself for the task of fending off a bunch of unnecessary additional "dealer recommended" services.

To my surprise the amiable service guy, assistant manager Jeremy Battat, didn't give me any business when I stated we simply wanted an oil change/filter and tire rotation just like the scheduled maintenance called for. He said "sure" and that he'd call us when it was done.

Two hours later we picked up the Jeep. Total cost for the service was $100.76. No, that's not cheap. But considering that this high-performance SRT8 baby takes seven quarts of synthetic oil and that it included rotating the big donuts, not too bad either.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 18,620 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Seat Wear

January 30, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

We've put nearly 19,000 miles on the SRT8 and the outside driver thigh bolster is starting to show it. Granted, we've had bodies of all shapes and sizes sliding in and out of this seat for 19,000 miles. That's a lot of denim, twill, rough cotton, linen, hemp, silk, satin and bare skin (nothing wrong with driving naked now and then) passing over that patch of leather. Clearly the bolster needs some conditioning. My question is: should it need it by now?

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 18,622 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Oil Change and Spare Change

January 29, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

The SRT8 went in for a routine oil change, but there was nothing routine about the price: $100.76. That's 65 bucks for the oil change ($49 of that to cover seven quarts of 0W-40, the other $15 for filter and labor) and $30 for a tire rotation.

That's Santa Monica prices for ya, but that's also price of ownership for the SRT8. Stomping on the pedal with an open lane makes you believe it's worth it, but fishing a Benjamin out of your pocket for an oil change/rotation still stings.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 18,622 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Needs an Oil Change

January 14, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

With just over 18,000 miles on its odometer, our Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is telling us it needs an oil change. For a few seconds this "Oil Change Due" message appears on the SUV's instrument cluster every time we start up the Jeep's supersized 6.4-liter V8.

Its last oil change took place at 12,000 miles.

We'll hit the local dealer service department in the next few days and let you know how it goes ASAP.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @RealScottOldham

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: 15,000 Miles So Far

December 31, 2012

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

We are nine months into our long-term test of the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 and the SUV just turned 15,000 miles. That puts us right on pace for our goal of 20k in a year.

So far the Jeep is trouble-free. Dealer visits at the prescribed 6,000-mile and 12,000-mile intervals mark the extent of our maintenance history. Fresh oil, tire rotations and routine safety inspections cost us $147.63 and $70.63 for each service, respectively.

Ride quality complaints led us to swap out the stock summer tires for a set of Sumitomo HTR Sport all-season tires. The exchange indeed softened the ride quality. But as we expected, some performance was lost in the shuffle. Still, the Grand Cherokee is mechanically sound and moving along as well as we could hope.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 15,000 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Brake Dust

December 03, 2012


If brake dust covering your front wheels is on your deal breaker list, then a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is not your ride. I took these photos after just one week of normal driving. The Jeep's front wheels are already covered in brake dust, which makes them look darker than the vehicle's rear wheels. To illustrate the problem better I ran my finger through the soot and created a clean line.

Remember, this is after just seven days of driving. After another week, the Jeep's front wheels would be almost black.

This is not an issue for many people. The more aggressive brake pads used on the Jeep, as well as all models from BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Porsche, are notorious for this. But their superior performance is considered to be worth the mess by the buyers of those brands.

I'm not saying the brake dust is a deal breaker for me, but having dirty wheels just a few days after a car wash is frustrating. And I think consumers should consider this issue when choosing a new car or truck.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Second Oil Change

November 06, 2012


With over 12K miles on the clock, our SRT8 was asking for some new oil. No problem, the local Jeep dealer is right down the street, how hard can an oil change be?

Turns out, as simple as it should be. I was skeptical since this dealer has never been very prompt when it comes to repairs, but this time Buerge Jeep got us in and out without much hassle.

I pulled in without an appointment at around 9:30 and told the service writer I wanted an oil change and nothing else since we had just mounted new tires. He asked if I wanted to wait for it or come back later. I had already arranged a ride so I told him to just call when it was ready.

About an hour later he called and said it was ready to go. The total was $70. That's for 7 quarters of synthetic oil, a filter and labor. A little expensive, but for a $65K vehicle, not that bad.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com @ 12,598 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: New Tires

October 23, 2012


We've been living with our long-term Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 for about six months and we've driven it over 11,000 miles. And over that time we've had only one consistent complaint about the high performance crossover, its ride.

For most of us most of the time it's just too stiff. Too uncomfortable. Sure we dig the Jeep's handling capabilities, but the ride is overly compromised. At the recomendation of Ralph Gilles, the CEO of SRT, I've even started running the Jeep's tires at 28 psi (33 psi is spec) to try to smooth things out, but honestly it hasn't really worked.

We're not surprised. The Jeep's stock Pirelli P Zeros are run flats, and we think they are a very large part of the problem.

So we've decided to swap them out. The Jeep's stock tire size is 295/45ZR20. Tirerack.com lists only a few options in that size that are not run flats. We chose a set of the Sumitomo HTR Sport H/P, an all season tire.

We went this way for two reasons, cost and weather. The Sumitomos are cheap ($175 each) and we're curious how they will perform compared to the much more expensive Pirelli's. Also, winter is coming. And we don't want our all-wheel drive Jeep to be unable to navigate the mountains and ski areas of California, which it would be unable to do on its stock summer tires or BFGoodrich KDWs, which were also an option for us.

We plan to get the Sumitomos mounted on the Jeep this week. We'll let you know soon after if this was a great idea or a complete waste of time and money.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Oil Change Time

October 12, 2012


Our long-term Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 has begun to bark for its next oil change. The SRT's last oil change was done at 6,000 miles. Jeep says the next one should occur at 12,000 miles, but the Cherokee's computer has begun to ask for the service a bit early.

No big deal. We'll take care of it in the next week or two and update you on the dealer experience and the cost.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 11,205 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: FCW Warning Light

October 11, 2012


Yesterday I was driving our 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 when the FCW display lit up. My first thought was WTF is FCW? Our Cherokee has a Forward Collision Warning (FCW) that emits a chime if the car suspects the driver is approaching an obstacle too quickly.

What caused the FCW light? This warning can be the result of dirt on the radar sensors. In my case, it only happened traveling in one direction with the sun low in the sky. And I was in an empty parking lot. So I'm going with the explanation that it was merely the sun reflecting across the sensor and creating interference. The light went off when I pointed the Jeep in another direction and didn't return.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 10,958 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: This Is Why...

September 27, 2012

GC SRT8 tire pressure.jpg

This is why it's best to set pressures when the tires are cold, not hot. Not sure exactly how/why this happened, but I'll fix it.

Recommended cold pressures for the GC SRT8 are 33 front/33 rear.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 10,491 miles.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Oil Change Alert

September 18, 2012


Wouldn't you know it -- very early in a long-distance towing trip in our longterm 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, the oil change alert sounded. Right upon startup there was a chime and the display above that flashed up in the instrument cluster. It was also stored as a message, if you are so inclined as to scroll through them.

We'll get right on that, then. More on the towing trip later.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 10,299 miles.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: 6,000 Mile Service

July 31, 2012

SRT8 service.jpg

We caught some flak after getting our 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8's oil changed after only 3,000 miles, so we're expecting an equal amount here when you find out that we went ahead and did it again at 6,000 miles.

The first oil change was done early in part because of our driving habits over those first few thousand miles and with the full intention of getting it done again at 6,000. We've tested this Jeep, towed with it, driven it hard and otherwise exploited every one of its 470 horsepower. We're generally against pointless oil changes, but without a "heavy duty" use maintenance schedule (other manufacturers give guidelines for heavy use), we're on our own here.

Like the first, this service was done at Buerge Jeep (by far the closest dealer to us now that LaBrea Chrysler Jeep moved out of my neighborhood) and cost us $147.63. $54.10 in parts, $88.75 in labor and about $5 in tax.

We will likely return to the normal schedule after this. Look for the next oil change at the 12,000 mile mark.

Mike Magrath, Features Editor, Edmunds.com @ 6,945 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Rough Patch

July 11, 2012


I've now scratched my hand a couple times getting stuff out of the backseat of our 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 on the driver side. The culprit? A sloppily molded piece of black plastic that caps the strip of brightwork running along the bottom of the driver-side rear window.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: First Service

June 29, 2012


The HEMI in our 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 turned 3,000 miles recently. That equaled half of the first recommended service interval of 6,000 miles. For us, this meant it was time to think about scheduling an oil change.

We drove to Buerge Chrysler Jeep without an appointment and asked for an oil change and tire rotation. The advisor offered some resistance, "Ok, but we don't usually rotate the tires this early." We asked him to rotate them anyway. About 3 hours later he called to inform us that the car was ready.

This marks the best service experience we've had at Buerge here in Santa Monica. Maybe the service department is pulling its act together. Or maybe, when our advisor typed the VIN into his computer, it came up as being owned by Chrysler. I'm going with the latter. Still, the service was completed promptly and without drama.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 3,729 miles

Total Cost: $125.00

Days out of Service: None

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Bad Ambulance

June 21, 2012


If there's one thing our JGCSRT8 is good at, it's going really freaking fast. But there are plenty of other things it does poorly. I found out last night that it makes for a very poor ambulance.

At the end of another night of indoor rock climbing, my girlfriend slipped and twisted her ankle. It was bad enough that I thought it might have been broken. There was no way she was going to be able to drive her car home (manual transmission Genesis Coupe), so I enlisted the help of Kurt Niebuhr to get her car back to Edmunds HQ while I drove the gimped redhead home in the Jeep.

With every dip, rut, pothole and intersection, the stiff SRT8 suspension transmitted the jolts right into the cabin, and, right into her ankle. It's really not all that stiff when you're just driving around, but when you have to drive like there's a bomb on a mercury switch in the back seat, it feels like a skateboard.

In this rare instance, the Explorer, Audi A8, Jag XF and Infiniti JX would have been better, but it was too late to switch cars. I suppose it could have been much worse if I had the Miata or NSX, though.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 3,727 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Jump Start?

June 12, 2012


Yesterday's centralized mass entry has some of you concerned about jump starting. Rest assured, Chrysler doesn't have you digging around under the passenger seat should your Jeep need a jump. These underhood terminals ensure conventional jump starting.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Centralized Mass

June 11, 2012


The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 might weigh 5,150 or so pounds, but you'll be glad to know it packages its heavy battery low and toward the middle of the vehicle. In fact, it's in the floor under the front passenger seat.

Seems like an odd place for a vehicle which puts a priority on ground clearance -- at least in base trim.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Engine Break-in

May 22, 2012


Our 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 takes a different approach to engine break-in than our Subaru Impreza. There are two obvious differences. One, the Subie wants us moderate on the pedal for the first 1,000 miles. The Jeep asks for half that time. And two, Subaru warns us to "avoid rapid acceleration" while the Jeep recommends "brief full-throttle acceleration" during the break-in.

There you go.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

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