This is not your typical off-road Jeep. The 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, which wields a big V8 with over 400 thumpin' horsepower is really more of a muscle car masquerading as an SUV than a traditional rock climber. Although equipped with all-wheel drive, the Grand Cherokee SRT is geared specifically for on-road performance, and as such is pretty useless off-road. But when it comes to clawing through paved corners, the Grand Cherokee SRT is incredibly rewarding. It goes, stops and turns in a way that will impress even the most seasoned sports car driver. The trade-off is a stiff ride, but such things come with the territory.
The heart of the SRT is a 6.4-liter V8, the same one found in parent company Fiat-Chrysler's Dodge-branded muscle cars, here tuned for 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. That's more than many of the big-block V8s from the golden era of the 1960s. The last Grand Cherokee SRT we tested made it to 60 mph in a blistering 5.0 seconds, and Jeep has since replaced the five-speed automatic we drove with an eight-speed unit, which should improve acceleration even further. If you're expecting the SRT's fuel economy to be ridiculously low, you won't be disappointed. The EPA estimate is 15 mpg combined (13 city/19 highway), though it turns out the Grand Cherokee SRT isn't a whole lot thirstier than other high-performance SUVs.
Inside, the SRT reminds us that it's still a member of the Jeep Grand Cherokee family. Fit and finish is excellent, though the materials aren't quite as nice as some of its high-lux competitors. We really like the Grand Cherokee's easy-to-use touchscreen infotainment system, and the built-in WiFi hotspot and smartphone app integration are great features to have. The Grand Cherokee offers ample space for four (the driveline "hump" nullifies the middle-rear seating position), and there's plenty of cargo room for hauling antiques home in a hurry.
Jeep offers the 2017 Grand Cherokee SRT in a single, very well-equipped trim level, with advanced safety features and driver aids (such as collision detection with automatic braking), adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring as standard equipment. Should you want more, Jeep provides a short list of very appealing stand-alone options, such as multi-piece slotted brakes and a panoramic roof. How should you equip yours? Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.