2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Long-Term Road Test

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Cruise Control Attitude

April 8, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

I drove our long-term 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 to Sonoma Raceway and back while towing a terrible hoopty. The trailer was a robust steel job, the car formerly a Miata. California caps anything towing a trailer to a speed limit of 55 mph, which I pushed to 65 because, hey, I actually want to arrive at my destination.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Fuel Economy Update for March

April 2, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

We added just over 2,000 miles to our 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 during the month of March. Its last hurrah was a 1,200-mile road trip with Jay Kavanagh towing a 24 Hours of Lemons racecar behind it. We say last hurrah because, sadly, the Cherokee will be sent back to Jeep soon. Our year with the car is nearing its end.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT: Why the SRT8?

March 20, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

I picked up my friend for a Saturday afternoon excursion and as usual we talked about what I was driving. Then he asked, "Why would anyone need a Jeep like this with the SRT8?"

After looking at him like he was daft for a few minutes, I told him to listen to the sweet sound of the SRT8 engine roaring to life. Then I told him to pay attention to how effortlessly the SRT8 climbed a very steep hill. If you were driving to the mountains to go skiing, for example, this would be a perfect vehicle to carry your passengers, your gear, and still have no problem tackling the steep incline.

At the end of the day he asked, "Why would anyone not buy the Jeep Grand Cherokee with the SRT8 engine."

I had converted him.

Then after dropping him off, I filled up the gas tank and was reminded why not everyone would want to have a full-time SRT8.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Fuel Economy Update for February

March 4, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

During the month of February we drove our 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 1,031 miles. During those four weeks the SUV averaged 13.5 miles per gallon of premium 91 octane fuel. That's slightly below the running average of 14.0 mpg it has produced over 21,000 miles, a number which aligns perfectly with the EPA's 14.0 mpg combined rating.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Fuel Economy Update for January

February 4, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

Fresh from a video shoot where we used the SRT8 to haul plenty of gear and crew from the beaches of Santa Monica to the mountains off Angeles Crest Hwy, it's time for the fuel report on the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.

In January we drove our Grand Cherokee SRT8 nearly 2,000 miles. During those four weeks the SUV averaged 14.88 miles per gallon of mostly 91 octane premium (one tank was filled with 87 octane).

That's slightly above the 14.0 mpg we've averaged so far and with the Jeep's 14 mpg combined EPA rating.

David Landsness, Director of Video @ 19,933 miles

Worst Fill MPG: 10.8
Best Fill MPG: 19.0
Average Lifetime MPG: 14.0
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway Combined): 12 city/18 highway/14 combined
Best Range: 393.2
Current Odometer: 19,933 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Would I Buy One?

January 25, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

It has been a month since I took a road trip across the Rockies in our long-term 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. Fitted with all-season tires we bought on the aftermarket, it was a great vehicle to have on a wintertime adventure, since we drove through snow and subfreezing temperatures. Plus, there was the unexpected off-road drive through Monument Valley.

Since my return, I've reflected on the drive and considered whether I'd actually want to own a Grand Cherokee SRT8. You know, really own own it, as in my very own, and not have to share it with the other editors. And the answer is probably not.

The reason is I'm way too practical and way too cheap when it comes to buying my own stuff. And when driving at high elevations in Colorado, the Jeep's ordinarily potent 6.4-liter V8 simply didn't feel that powerful, yet it still consumed just as much if not more 91 octane. I totally expected that (the engine is naturally aspirated after all) and wasn't surprised or disappointed. I just know that if I owned a JGC, I would take it on road trips and I'd want it to feel great all the time.

And that's why I'd get the 2014 Grand Cherokee with the turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Colorado Road Trip Fuel Economy

January 8, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

I went into my road trip in the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee expecting cruising range to be a limitation. Obviously, if I looked more closely at the Jeep's fuel log beforehand, I would have known better. It has plenty of range — not because it gets great gas mileage, but because it has a 24.6-gallon fuel tank.

Range was not an issue at all during the nearly 2,400-mile trip. Our longest tank was 372 miles, and then, I picked up an easy 380-mile tank after returning home to California. We didn't push the range limit at all, usually filling up before the low fuel light illuminated.

Over 2,335 miles, our 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8 averaged 16.3 mpg while consuming 143.525 gallons of 91 octane fuel. Its best tanks were 364 and 372 miles long, as it averaged 17.3 mpg in both cases. Its worst reading was 13.3 mpg over a short 127.3 mile run between Denver and Frisco, Colorado.

I've included a snapshot of the fuel log after the jump. Note that I recorded the average mpg displayed on the Jeep's trip computer for each tank (I reset it at each fuel stop). I've also included a snippet from our Excel file for the Grand Cherokee SRT8's mpg where you can see what the actual average mpg was for each tank.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Towing Impressions

January 2, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

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.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Holiday in Denver

December 21, 2012

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

It's time to put our long-term 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8's all-wheel-drive system (all-wheel drive in that all four wheels are driven all of the time, plus no low-range) and Sumitomo all-season tires to work: I'm driving it to Denver for the holidays. It'll be my first time on Vail Pass, and there's no better time of the year to do it. I've been looking forward to this road trip for weeks.

There will only be two of us traveling, plus luggage, Christmas presents and trail mix (lots of trail mix), so there's little doubt the Grand Cherokee SRT8 will accommodate us with room to spare. Will those new tires improve the ride quality enough that we won't mind all that time at the wheel, or will the Jeep's limited fuel range drive us nuts... I've already proposed a first-night detour in Monument Valley, Utah.

Surely, you have suggestions for places we should stop along the way or questions about our SRT8 Jeep that only a road trip can answer. Write me at eriches (@) edmunds.com, and I'll tackle your questions in my road trip reports after New Year's.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 15,397 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Fuel Cost

October 22, 2012

JCG_fuel_1600.jpg

After driving 285 miles, our JGC SRT8 took 21.6 gallons of 91 octane fuel. At $4.72 a gallon in Santa Monica, that shot us over the $100 fill-up.

My weekly work commute is 370 miles.

As much as I dig the Grand Cherokee SRT8, a 13-mpg vehicle would kill my monthly budget.

How much are you currently spending per month on gas?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 11,654 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Towing Economy

September 24, 2012

jeep_gcsrt8_fuelnozzle.jpg

After towing a crapcan with our longterm 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 over a distance of 1200.4 miles in the summer heat of California's central valley, I expected some pretty dismal fuel economy.

The result -- after the jump -- might surprise you.

13.4 mpg

Hey, that's not bad. Not bad at all. That's with the a/c working the whole time, with the cruise set to about 65 mph (gasp).

Eco mode, baby.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Eco Mode

September 24, 2012

jeep_gcsrt8_eco.jpg

Drive our longterm 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee a few times and you might notice this small 'Eco" indicator appear in the instrument cluster display from time to time.

Tow with it and you won't need to look for the indicator. You can hear when it goes into Eco mode.

Eco mode in this vehicle signifies when the big V8 goes into four-cylinder mode. It works like this -- the lifters of half of its cylinders are deactivated (oil pressure is re-routed away from them via a solenoid, so the lifters essentially 'collapse' when the cam lobes act on them). This keeps their valves closed, turning those four cylinders into air springs. Basically the same approach to cylinder deactivation taken by Mercedes-Benz and, later, GM.

Cylinder deactivation works best during light-load operation because there's a lot of pumping losses when you try to draw air in against a tightly-closed throttle. By knocking out half the cylinders, the throttle is opened for the four active cylinders, reducing pumping loss and hence improving fuel efficiency.

As you might imagine, four cylinders operating at high load have a very different sound signature than eight cylinders at light load. Chrysler engineers had to fit a doohickey to the exhaust, an electronically actuated flap, in order to manage the sound situation.

And that takes us, full circle, back to my earlier observation: when towing on the freeway, the switch to four-cylinder mode in the GC is much more prominent than when not towing, onaccounta the higher load on the engine. It makes a somewhat boomy sound in four-cyl mode, and you can easily pick out the transition even when the radio's on.

Anyway, the point is, don't be alarmed if your GC occassionally gets boomy when towing. All it means is you're saving some fuel. Which leads us nicely to: what was the observed fuel economy during this ~1000-mile towing trip? Good question. Stay tuned.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee: 19 MPG, Best So Far

August 24, 2012

JGC_SRT_fuel2.jpg

You know those countries during the Olympics that padded their metal tallies by going for wins in sports that nobody pays attention to? Well, similarly, I figured I could earn another fleet-wide fuel economy record by going for gold in our Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. Folly, you say? Well, who else is going to go through the effort to drive the SRT8 like a grandma for an extended duration? Nobody. Well, maybe Magrath or Montoya, but there's a very slim chance of that happening.

Anyway, I subjected our JGC SRT8 to same 230-mile highway route and fuel-economy minded driving style that I've most recently used on the Chevrolet Sonic and VW Beetle to get top fuel economy. The result in the SRT8 was 19.0 mpg, easily our best result so far. That's still one fewer than EPA-estimated highway, but I did have a little city driving mixed in on this fill-up, and I had the air-conditioning almost the whole time.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Shell's Best Friend

August 17, 2012

JGC_SRT_gas1.jpg To the surpise of nobody who follows our monthly fuel updates, our JGC SRT8 gets pretty crappy fuel mileage. Right now it's averaging just 13.8 mpg, last place in the fleet. Granted, you could argue that 13.8 is actually pretty good considering EPA combined is 14 mpg. Our Jeep's right on target!

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: 1 Highway, 0 City

May 21, 2012

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 at a curb.jpg

This weekend I got 13.5 mpg over 216 miles in our new Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. There was 18 miles of gridlock in there and a few SRT8-worthy blasts of acceleration around town, but it was otherwise overwhelmingly highway driving usually on cruise control.

Given that I'm one of the more economical drivers around here, it's a safe bet that our JGC might be hitting single digits on occasion this year. It's also bound to challenge the Raptor's 12.7-mpg lifetime average and title of fuel economy anti-champ.

But then, what were you really expecting from a 470-horsepower, 5,100-pound Jeep? And hey, could be worse ...

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 1,503 miles

We could have McBane's SUV

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU1iEZnP1m4

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee in VA is:

$144 per month*
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