The idea of a super ute has always been a crazy one. Of all the vehicle types on which to base a high-performance machine, one that was originally intended to go off road and later evolved into the towering family wagons we use today would not be our first choice. And yet, time and again we see that auto enthusiasts – even ones calling the shots at major automakers – will make anything go quicker and faster if given the chance. That's how the first Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 was born back in 2006, and Chrysler has again seen fit to apply this extreme treatment to its best-selling SUV – despite the fact that its mere existence seemingly violates every facet of Jeep's rugged off-road image. But the small segment of super utes to which the Grand Cherokee SRT8 belongs has gotten extremely competitive in the past few years while Chrysler clawed its way out of bankruptcy. Sport utility vehicles from BMW, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz have spawned unholy super utes with enough horsepower to embarrass supercars from just a few years ago. The 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 doesn't play by German rules, though. Despite its well-timed redesign that gives SRT guys and gals an opportunity to leapfrog their rivals, they instead practiced restraint, ignored winning the war on paper and upgraded their entry in the areas requested most by their customers. Styling was not a source of complaint from customers of the first-gen Grand Cherokee SRT8. The original model that sold from 2006 through 2010 was brutishly blocky, its design seemingly inspired by the head of a sledgehammer. This new SRT8 is forced to wear the smoother, softer lines of the all-new 2011 Grand Cherokee, so it loses that cast-iron quality of the original. That doesn't mean it's any less intimidating to walk up to in person. It actually might be moreso. The height, width and sheer verticality of its front end is just about the best impression of a brick wall we've ever seen an automobile make. And that deep front chin spoiler means this Jeep won't be Trail Rated for anything other than the freshest asphalt. The two air vents on the hood, however, are our favorite elements. These nostrils, which require tippy toes to even see, perform the real-world function of letting heat escape the engine compartment, but you can just tell people they shoot fire and sometimes claim small animals that get too close. That deep front chin spoiler means this Jeep won't be trail rated for anything other than the freshest asphalt. One thing customers did complain about was the last generation model's center-mounted rear exhaust. Despite being eminently cool to spew your fumes out the middle of the rear bumper, the twin pipes' location was not very practical for loading up the rear cargo area or figuring out a towing solution. In the best-case scenario they would blast your legs with hot exhaust, and in the worst burn them like a branding iron. …
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|MPG||16 City / 23 Hwy|
|Transmission||5-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||290 @ 6400 rpm|
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