Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New Jeep Cherokee could get SRT treatment

To some, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT has always seemed like a misfit in the rugged, off-road oriented SUV family, but when you grip the thick-rimmed steering wheel and fire up the bellowing high-output Hemi, it all makes sense. And the Grand Cherokee may not be the only SRT-massaged Jeep in the lineup for long. Chrysler Group enthusiast website Allpar, which correctly predicted the 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 in the Ram HD trucks for 2014, is claiming an SRT-tuned version of the new Jeep Cherokee is in the works.

On the surface, the claim seems far-fetched, but upon more careful consideration, the picture comes together. Based on the CUSW platform which underpins the Dodge Dart, the Cherokee's unibody, car-based platform would naturally lend itself to a street-performance oriented package.

Unlike the Grand Cherokee SRT, which relies on good old-fashioned American cubic inches, the engine and powertrain reportedly under consideration for the Cherokee SRT is a turbocharged V-6. Two versions are reportedly in development, a 375-hp 3.0-liter single-turbo and a 410-hp twin-turbo. Both would represent a more than 100-hp gain over the Cherokee's current top engine offering, a 3.2-liter naturally aspirated Pentastar V-6. Manual fans likely need not apply, as the transmission is expected to be a nine-speed automatic like the rest of the Cherokee line.

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