The Grand Cherokee SRT8 has all the appeal of an American muscle car in a practical, flexible SUV body. It’s not for the shy or retiring and it will cost a lot to run, but it’s fast and handles very well. What’s more, it’s loaded with standard equipment. Sales will be tiny compared to its excellent diesel sister car and models like the Range Rover Sport and Porsche Cayenne, but the SRT8 is sure to put a smile on your face.
With a 470bhp 6.4-litre HEMI V8, the flagship performance SUV has even more muscle than the old 414bhp 6.1-litre model.
It posts remarkable figures, such as 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 158mph.
It looks the part, too, with a deep front chin spoiler, huge 20-inch five-spoke alloy wheels hiding bright red Brembo brake calipers and enormous exhausts.
On the move, it’s no shrinking violet. The V8’s roar is loud and addictive, but the surprise is that the SRT8 handles well, feeling secure with lots of grip. It would benefit from more steering feel and an extra ratio or two in the five-speed automatic gearbox, but despite the very large tyres, the ride is quite comfortable.
Interior quality is better than ever – although still behind BMW and Porsche – and there’s lots of equipment, with carbon-look trim, leather and Alcantara seats, plus a panoramic sunroof and electrically opening tailgate.
We’re fans of the latest Grand Cherokee, and while the SRT8 will have a limited audience, it has a certain appeal if you can afford the enormous fuel bills.