2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8 Ultimate Performance SUV

When it comes to going where no vehicle has ever gone before, Jeep wrote the book.

And it keeps adding chapters. Hold on to your hats because the 2012 addition to Jeep legacy will absolutely knock your socks off.

It has been dubbed “The Ultimate Performance SUV.”

When I first read that I thought it was a clever marketing slogan and more or less shrugged it off. After all, over-the-top claims from the auto industry have been going on since the first production vehicle went on sale more than a century ago.

But then I had a chance to spend a week behind the wheel of the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.

My first impression was that Jeep got together a room full of Grand Cherokee enthusiasts and asked if they could design the ultimate Jeep, what would they want?

At the end of the day, they decided to include the entire list.

By the end of the week, my impression was that Jeep is right on the money with its “Ultimate Performance SUV” slogan.

It really is that good.

Powered by a new 470-horsepower HEMI engine, the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is capable of going 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds with a quarter-mile time of 13 seconds with a top speed of 160 mph.

It is also capable of stopping on a dime with a 60-0 mph braking distance of 116 feet.

Its ride and handling characteristics are absolutely outstanding — world class outstanding, to be more precise.

The 2012 model features an advanced new adaptive damping suspension managed by a new Selec-Track system that not only provides a smooth ride on the road, it handles the curves better than any SUV I’ve ever driven.

Ever.

I’m not sure how Jeep made a full-size SUV handle like a sports car, but the engineers hit their goal.

Not bad at all for a Trail Rated Jeep capable of going off road — or capable of towing a trailer up to 5,000 pounds.

Fuel economy has also been improved and even though it is a high-performance, full-size, fully capable SUV, it has a range of 450 miles on a tank of gas.

While the new Grand Cherokee SRT8 is designed for performance, it also includes a heavy dose of luxury.

From the 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system to the SRT heated steering wheel with paddle shifters to the comprehensive Vehicle Entertainment System (VES), this baby has everything you could ever want in a vehicle — although you’re on your own when it comes to the chauffer. Then again, it’s so much fun to drive, why would you want one.

With a base price starting around $46,000, the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is just now starting to roll into Jeep showrooms nationwide.

Without question, it is “The Ultimate Performance Jeep.”

For consumers in the market for an SUV and “want it all,” the 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8 is an absolute must for the test drive list.

There is nothing else like it.

Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.

MODEL:

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

5-seat performance/luxury SUV

Four-wheel drive

PRICE RANGE:

Starting around $46,000

ENGINE:

6.4-L HEMI V-8

(470 hp/465 torque)

TRANSMISSION:

5-speed automatic

EPA: 12 mpg city, 18 mpg highway

FUEL: Premium unleaded

TRACTION CONTROL:

Electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation and brake traction control system

BRAKES: ABS with brake assist, brake override, rain brake support

LENGTH: 191.3 inches

WHEELBASE: 114.8 inches

WIDTH: 77.1 inches

HEIGHT: 69.1 inches

WEIGHT: 5,150 lbs.

TRACK: 63.7/64.3

(front/rear)

FUEL TANK: 24.6 gallons

TIRES: 20-inch

TOWING: 5,000 lbs.

CARGO: 35.1 cubic feet