It isn’t everyday that a person has the opportunity to take laps on a racetrack with a vehicle then take the vehicle four-wheeling into the outback. Such was the fortuitous adventure of a large group of automotive journalists recently, courtesy of Chrysler Corp. Did I say it was a Jeep on the racetrack?
The Jeep Grand Cherokee has really had some significant changes made for the 2014 model year, but none quite so expressive as the SRT model. The new SRT Grand Cherokee is equally at home climbing over boulders as it is racing around the COTA track in Austin. The Texas Hill Country and Austin’s Circuit Of The Americas played were the venues for our test-driving experiences. It certainly is exhilarating to put a head sock on, then a racing helmet, and take laps over the COTA's 3.4 mile long track that included 20 turns (11 left and 9 right).
For 2014, the SRT has a new eight-speed automatic transmission. It is quick, smooth, and offers on-the-fly refined shifting. The innovative Eco Mode does its part by optimizing the new transmission’s shift schedule and offers up better fuel economy.
The eight-speed transmission is matched up to the powerful 6.4 liter HEMI V-8. This proven engine delivers 470 horsepower. This 2014 model is the best performing Jeep SRT ever. It can go 0-60 mpg in just 4.8 seconds.
There is a marvelous array of technology inside, much like all the other manufacturers are putting in their vehicles. Buyers are demanding more connectivity, more convenience, and well as more safety and security. The new Jeep SRT delivers on all of this.
Can a Jeep capable of bouncing through the back woods and driving on a race track look good as well? Absolutely, it can. The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT has a very upscale, yet aggressive looking exterior. There is special new signature LED lighting that sets off the appearance. The iconic Jeep grille is larger. There are new five-spoke 20-inch “Goliath” wheels with a polished finish.
Inside, the Grand Cherokee SRT is almost luxurious, but definitely premium. There is a new T-handle shifter designed for the new eight-speed transmission. It allows the driver to switch easily between the Drive and Sport modes. Located behind the shifter is a new “launch control” button with a color graphic similar to a drag-strip “Christmas Tree” display. The steering wheel is leather wrapped and heated. The paddle shifters are efficient and ergonomically designed for faster and easier use.
The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT will be available in late spring of 2013. If you are looking for that special vehicle, loaded with luxury and premium touches, that can perform equally well on a race track or in the outback, visit a Chrysler Corp – Jeep dealership and check it out.