2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Long Term Road Test - Audio & Technology

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Long Term Road Test

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Engine Hours

March 7, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

Our Grand Cherokee has 627 hours on its engine. I know this because engine hours are among the data available in the instrument panel's Vehicle Information menu. It's in there with other items like coolant temperature, oil temperature and transmission fluid temperature.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: More Bluetooth Issues

February 8, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

This past Saturday I drove our long-term 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 from Santa Monica to Los Feliz in Los Angeles to attend my first live Internet concert supporting the band The Mots Nouveaux. The band features lead vocals by Emma Fitzpatrick.

Emma is currently enjoying success with a recent viral video where she played the role of Anne Hathaway in For Your Consideration. The video is on target to break 1 million views this week. Congrats, Emma.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Navigation System's Screen Is Too Small

January 24, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

One irritation during my December road trip in our long-term 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 was its navigation system's ridiculously small screen. It's only 6.5 inches measured diagonally. Plus, there are so many touchscreen "buttons" crammed onto it that it's hard to see exactly where you are at a glance.

You can press the orange arrow to clear away a bunch of those buttons to try to get a better view, but the map still just looks small with minimal detail whether you set the scale at 700 feet or 2 miles (or half a mile as I did here). And when you choose the minimalist display, you no longer get the bit of text that shows the street you're currently on, obviously not what I wanted when driving in unfamiliar areas.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Auto High-Beams Work Great

January 10, 2013

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

The adaptive high-beams on our long-term 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 were by far my favorite feature during my holiday road trip to Colorado.

It certainly helps that the Jeep's bi-xenon headlights throw plenty of light on the road to begin with — the low-beams were perfectly adequate to begin with. But when traveling on poorly lit ranch roads near Brighton, Colorado, and on dark stretches of Utah's U.S. 191 and Arizona's I-40 at night, the high-beams were helpful, especially when it started snowing.

I know it's not that hard to click the high-beams on and off, but I enjoyed the convenience of letting the Jeep handle that. Occasionally, on the ranch roads, which were narrow with lots of dips and turns, it would dim the lights a little late when opposing traffic approached. On the highway, though, its timing was generally spot-on. Really, this setup works just as well as the auto high-beam feature available on the current BMWs, and it's one more little thing to help justify our Grand Cherokee SRT8's $62,880 price tag.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Seat Memory Quirk

December 07, 2012


This is the warning our 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 displayed when I tried to press the seat adjustment memory button while in motion. That's strange. It will allow me to adjust the seat manually while moving, no problem. But it doesn't like to call up my preset seat settings if the car is not in park. There you go.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 13,828 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT: Remote Start Video

November 30, 2012


The Jeep's remote start is a feature I used to snicker at, but I've really gotten to like. Fire it up remotely to warm the interior in the winter or cool it off in the summer. Just push the button on the key fob twice. It's so easy, even my six-year old daughter can do it.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: The Steering Wheel Heater

November 26, 2012


Sure the Jeep's heated and cooled front seats are quite nice, as are its heated rear seats, but we've covered that territory before. Its heated steering wheel, however, is new ground. It's also a little luxury solely for the driver that's right in line with the SRT's hedonistic nature.

As you can see the wheel warmer is activated by a button on the vehicle's center stack. Unlike, some heated wheels it warms up quickly, but doesn't become a flame thrower that forces you to shut it down a few miles down the road. Instead, it throws just right amount of BTUs through the truck's leather wrapped wheel. It's warm enough for a truly cold December morning in Detroit, but not too hot for a cool L.A. evening by the beach.

Don't tell my yoga instructor, but I use it all the time.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 13,602 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: 0-60 MPH

October 19, 2012


Found this photo today in a set of early JGC SRT8 shots. Reminded me how cool it is to have an on-board performance computer. Especially in an SUV.

With a 0-60 mph time like that, I doubt Oldham was driving.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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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: Cruise Mode

September 26, 2012


Adaptive cruise control isn't for everyone or every circumstance. Yet many manufacturers do not provide a means by which to switch their adaptive cruise systems to conventional "dumb" ones when the driver so desires.

So I was pleased to learn during my towing trip in our longterm 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 that its adaptive cruise can indeed be switched to conventional cruise. Simply press the 'mode' button on the steering wheel and you can switch from adaptive to dumb.

Other manufacturers, take note.

Now if we could just get Chrysler/Jeep to let people use their nav system without having to pull over first...

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Frustration

September 21, 2012


Few messages in our longterm 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 are as disheartening as this one when you're cruising on an empty freeway in the middle of nowhere, using its nav system to locate a nearby motel to catch some Zs before getting an early start to complete a long towing voyage. And to be clear, it was my passenger using the nav system.


Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Cool Hidden Gauges

August 28, 2012


The analog gauge package on the Jeep SRT8 is very basic. Jeep gives you a tach, a speedo, water temp. (with no numbers), and of course a fuel level indicator.

Some could say it's too basic. After all, if you just bought a 470 hp Hemi-powered muscle ute you might just want some more information, like oil temp and oil pressure. Well, Jeep has supplied such instrumentation, you just need to know where to look. Push the right button and they're displayed on the Jeep's driver information screen, which is located front and center on the Cherokee's instrument cluster.

Jeep even takes it a step further with a transmission temperature gauge and a engine hours readout. Very cool.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Really Like Cross Path Detection

August 26, 2012


There are different names for the safety feature that warns you about cars coming close to you as you're backing up. Jeep calls it "Rear Cross Path Detection," and it's on our JGC SRT8 (as well as most other JGCs). Basically, it's a modified rear parking sensor that beeps at you not only when an object is really close (as it you're going to run into it) but also if it detects a moving object (another vehicle) coming into your path. It's really useful in parking lots, particularly on vehicles with poor rearward visibility.

The JGC's got decent visibility, but I appeciate this feature just the same.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Best Idea

August 08, 2012


Hands down, best idea on the market for audio controls. Hyperbole? Of course. But any time I drive a recent Chrysler, I wonder why more manufacturers don't copy this design and place rocker switches on the backside of the steering wheel. This doesn't force you to move your thumbs or otherwise change your fulcrum on the wheel. You remain in total control of the interface. I dare say it's even safer. NHTSA should create a rating for it.

Important stuff.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Doesn't Play Well With iPhone

July 31, 2012

iphone srt8 5.jpg

Specifically, it doesn't play well with my iPhone. It does this. It doesn't think I have any music tracks and it thinks whatever is playing is stopped.

My iPod works in the Jeep. The girlfriend's iPod works in the Jeep. So does her iPhone. My iPhone-- despite being on the same version as hers -- does not.

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Hidden USB Port

July 19, 2012


Wait, what's that hiding in the upper deck of the JGC SRT8's center console? Why, yes, it's a USB port in the portion of the center console that flips up and locks into the lid. Never seen a USB port here.

Good idea?

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: An Honest IP

July 10, 2012


Under promise and over deliver. It's a safe M.O. no matter what you're doing. In the Grand Cherokee that means adapting to "most" road conditions. Rarely do you see such honesty in a promise, especially from a computer.

Truth is, I'm not sure which conditions this Jeep would have trouble adapting to out in the real world. I suppose some heavy duty rock crawling would give the computer some trouble, or maybe a little mix of mud and snow maybe, but other than that it seems to adapt quite nicely to various road conditions.

I used to put into Sport mode right off the bat, but now I've found that Auto mode feels pretty good most of the time. Having 470-horsepower helps. Then again, the owner's manual says that the Auto mode orders up the most compliant suspension to start, so maybe I just like the cush.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com @ 4,835 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: What Makes It a Great Roadtrip Car?

June 28, 2012

jeepgrandcherokeesrt8 004.jpg

As you can tell from the above photo, I'm not going to say that what makes our 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 a great roadtrip car is its seat heaters, plush seats or anything like that. It's the simple fact that not only does it have a USB port located to the right of the navigation screen but it also has one hidden away in the center console!

Here you don't have to fight with the passenger/driver over whose iPhone should be plugged in (mine). And not to say that it's the end of the world to be stuck in a car for several hours with an unplugged iPhone, but it's just really nice when that's not the case. Especially when, as I've stated before, I'm always on it and run that battery down like a mofo.

As for offering more music options, that's always a plus on a roadtrip. Not only do you have Sirius Satellite Radio but you can access the music on your iPhone via Bluetooth and, naturally, the USB ports. This all especially sounds good thanks to the SRT High-Performance Audio package ($1,995) which includes a 825-watt Harman Kardon 19-speaker system.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 3,952 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Rudimentary Navigation System

June 05, 2012


Our long-term Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 doesn't have the newer, larger navigation unit you get in the Charger, Challenger and 300 -- I'd guess packaging constraints precluded it.

I can deal with the smaller screen just fine. What I don't care for is the system's rudimentary software. It doesn't automatically zoom in or bring up any kind of inset map to show you exactly where you need to turn. Most other factory systems do this for you now. There may be a setting in the menus for this convenience that I haven't found yet, but it's not the kind of thing you want to dig for when you're driving around in unfamiliar neighborhoods looking at houses and realize that you've missed your turn. Manually zooming in is another option, but I find the small touchscreen a little chaotic and it's not clear to me exactly where to press -- an external dial or toggle switch usually works better for zoom.

I did notice that the system provides auxiliary visual prompts for upcoming turns in the trip computer, but depending on which display you're looking at, they don't always come up when I'd expect. And the voice prompts seem to be a little inconsistent in their timing as well.

This nav system offers basic functionality, but since it's in a $60K vehicle, it really should offer more than that.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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2012 Jeep GC SRT8: Great Adaptive Cruise Control

May 25, 2012

ACC Jeep Grand Cherokee.jpg

Adaptive cruise control is usually crap. Any time I get into a test car equipped with it, I reach for the button that can drop the adaptive bit from regular-old cruise control. Sadly, that button rarely exists.

I certainly couldn't find it in our Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, but I discovered that it doesn't actually need it. The ACC in the JGC SRT8 is in fact A-OK.

To illustrate, let's compare the Jeep's ACC system to those found in the Hyundai Equus and Acura MDX I drove recently. One key feature of any ACC is the ability to grow and shrink the distance the car can get to the vehicle ahead. Usually there are three different increments. The Equus' smallest was absolutely enormous and I can only guess that it's greatest distance was something akin to a U.N. nuclear exclusion zone. This gap provides ample opportunity for other cars to dash in front of you, in which case the Hyundai either cuts throttle completely or slams on the brakes. This all-or-nothing approach is annoying to say the least. Even when driven with no one remotely in front, the Equus just felt nervous as if it was gingerly tapping the throttle and brake rather than driving smoothly like a non-crap driver.

The Acura was barely better. It didn't have that nervous feel, but its smallest range was too large and when it locked onto another car, the throttle cut-off or brakes were far too aggressive.

The Jeep's system, on the other hand, behaves like a normal human. In fact, I was using it for about a half hour in fairly heavy highway traffic and my wife had no idea the car was essentially driving itself. She noticed in the Acura. When you come up to a car ahead, the Jeep is more prudent when letting off the throttle as you might be. It still responds if traffic rapidly slows, but it seems to have a better concept of nuance and the speed at which the object ahead is moving.

Now, I still think ACC would be a waste of money for myself, but if this is a feature that appeals to you, Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge/Ram's is one of the very best I've experienced.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 1,503 miles

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2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8: Nailed It

May 24, 2012


While I won't let the cat (entirely) out of the bag with this post, we have tested our new Grand Cherokee SRT8 to see if we got "a good one." We did. Watch this space for the actual track results. While testing the Jeep, I decided to check the on-board performance data acquisition against our mega-buck VBox on the first default run. Hey, lookie there... They match! This is a first in my experience as most on-board systems like this have been historically wildly optimistic. The quarter-mile is very close too, and perhaps the 0.2-sec difference is due to the Jeep automatically subtracting the infamous "1-foot rollout" where our VBox raw data does not. Along with accommodating the ambient conditions, we do that it "post."

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 1,857 miles

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