Taking full advantage of the enhancement efforts wrought upon its less-intense siblings, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT amps up its performance persona in similar ways and with a similarly positive outcome. Bolder looks, improved overall dynamics and even more-appealing features -- all infused with distinctive Street and Racing Technology character -- endow the latest version of this enthusiast-grade SUV with a full measure of practicality and an equal portion of high-velocity fun.
The 2014 SRT puts its own harder-edged spin on the cosmetic changes introduced on the other Grand Cherokee models. It starts up front where black mesh replaces bright inserts in the grille and adaptive bi-xenon headlamps are standard issue -- here too, complemented by LED daytime running lights. Out back, the SRT's redrawn LED taillamps are framed by sporty black surrounds and its revamped single-piece power liftgate is now topped by a new and more aerodynamically efficient spoiler. Buyers looking for more than the Grand Cherokee SRT's standard 20-inch polished forged-aluminum wheels wrapped in 295/45 Pirelli Scorpion Verde all-season run-flat tires can step up to like-sized Pirelli P-Zero three-season rubber on forged alloys with either a Satin Carbon or Black Vapor Chrome finish.
Inside, SRT-spec Grand Cherokee brings a unique set of enhancements from leather- and suede-clad heated/ventilated power sport front buckets, real carbon fiber accents, a flat-bottom multifunction steering wheel, redesigned 7.0-inch customizable main instrument display and a T-handle shift lever to a 9-speaker/506-watt audio/navigation package and a unique Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen setup that includes SRT Performance Pages with data logger capability. It also can accommodate the new optional Uconnect Access Via Mobile feature that that allows direct music streaming using Aha, iHeart, Pandora and Slacker apps.
All other enhancements aside, performance remains the undisputed focus of the Grand Cherokee SRT and the 2014 changes make it even more rewarding to drive under all conditions. While the 6.4-liter/470-horsepower Hemi V8 carries over as sole motivator, it's now backed by Chrysler's 8-speed automatic transmission that's been specifically optimized for this application in place of the old 5-speed unit. In addition to Drive and Sport settings, this new transmission features an enhanced Eco Mode that extends the operational range of cylinder-deactivating Fuel Saver Technology. In addition to helping lower acceleration times, it also contributes to a 44-percent increase in the SRT's maximum towing capability, raising it from 5,000 to 7,200 pounds.
Dynamically, the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT complements its full sport-spec chassis and Brembo braking systems with a retuned version of the standard Selec-Track on-demand all-wheel-drive system. Now capable of sending up to 70 percent of the engine torque to the rear wheels in Track Mode, it improves at-the-limit responsiveness and control. The 2014 SRT upgrade also brings new rev-matching functionality on downshifts as well as a new Launch Control feature that helps promote quicker and more consistent full-throttle acceleration.
Like other 2014 Grand Cherokee models, the new SRT version augments its extensive roster of safety features with new Forward Collision Warning, Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection. It also offers optional Uconnect Access that allow one-touch contact with various emergency and service support personnel as well as Uconnect Access Via Mobile that provides an easy way use your smartphone to control various apps via the touchscreen or steering-wheel buttons.
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is expected to go on sale sometime late in the first quarter. Pricing will be released closer to its arrival in showrooms.
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