Bottom line: The Grand Cherokee SRT8 is both appalling and attractive. It will sell to people who are more concerned about the pursuit of happiness behind the wheel than they are about their standing in neighborhood opinion polls.
Ride, acceleration and handling: You really have to drive this one to believe it. It’s super fast and equally smooth and precise in handling — an absolute joy to drive.
Head-turning quotient: The Grand Cherokee SRT8, with inverse nostrils left and right atop its hood, has a powerful, snarling stance. Yet it also looks friendly, thanks to its traditional, vertically slotted Jeep grille.
Body style/layout: The SRT8 is a high-performance mid-size four-wheel-drive sport-utility vehicle of unitized steel construction. It has four side doors and a rear liftgate.
Engine/transmission: It comes standard with a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 with variable valve timing (470 horsepower, 465 foot-pounds of torque). The engine is linked to a five-speed automatic transmission that also can be shifted manually.
Capacities: There are seats for five people. Cargo capacity with rear seats raised is 35.1 cubic feet. That grows to 68.7 cubic feet with rear sets folded. The fuel tank holds 14.6 gallons of gasoline (premium grade is recommended).
Mileage: You get 12 miles per gallon in the city and 18 miles per gallon on the highway — assuming freely flowing traffic and other favorable road conditions.
Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear disc brakes (ventilated front, solid rear); anti-lock brakes with rough-road detection; electronic stability and traction control; electronic roll-mitigation control, which works in tandem with the stability-control system to limit the risk of rollover accidents; and side and head air bags.
Price: Pricing for the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 was not established at this writing. The vehicle is scheduled to go on sale later this summer at a base price of nearly $50,000.