Would You Race a Jeep Grand Cherokee Against a Corvette?
No one is going to contest that the Corvette isn’t a stellar performance vehicle. Built with an aerodynamic design and a standard 7.0 L small block engine that boasts an official output of 505 hp, it’s nothing to waggle a finger at. This is Chevy’s answer to the European racer and going head-to-head on a regulation strip quarter mile track in a mid-sized modded SUV – with the intention to win – is certain grounds for some admiration.
You’ll likely notice that the Chevy 2005-2013 Corvette completes the quarter mile stretch in 12.74 seconds (at a max speed of 110 mph) while the Jeep Grand Cherokee finishes in at a respectable but not altogether impressive 14.29 seconds. It did manage to go from zero to a hundred in 14 seconds which is no small feat for an SUV designed for light off-roading and camping trips. Let’s take a look at the various mod packages for the Grand Cherokee and see where this mid-size starts to become a beast in its own right!
The Grand Cherokee – Where Rubber Meets the Road
The base model of the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee includes an option for the 5.7L V8 engine which boasts a mid-sized capability of 360 hp and 390 lb ft of torque.
However, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was never built for speed.Â It was built to be a mid-sized economy class SUV with customizable options to bring it into the realm of a luxury m
However, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was never built for speed. It was built to be a mid-sized economy class SUV with customizable options to bring it into the realm of a luxury mid-size. Thus, the Grand Cherokee has never been the go-to racer for Jeep brand models. It’s impressive that Jeep allowed the option for a limited edition racing model that incorporates the engine with a 6.4 L V8 SRT engine. The same engine that comes standard in most new model Dodge Challengers, this hearty beast boasts a maximum output of 707 hp and 650 lb ft of torque.
Racing Accessories for the Cherokee
In order to take your Grand Cherokee out on the quarter mile stretch, it’s necessary to take a look at modding the struts, shocks, clutch and fuel injection system. It’s also important to check out the exhaust system because Jeep designed their SRT 8 limited edition with an innovative exhaust designed for fuel economy – not racing. Out of the factory line-up, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 is built for distance. With a rated range of 450 miles on a single tank, it’s designed to take on freeways and highways. To get it up to par, the fuel injection model needs to be retrofitted to maximize combustion. A higher octane is absolutely essential, as well. And more importantly, in order to compete with the big league luxury class racers like the Corvette, every modification that increases aerodynamic flow is required. The most insidious thing about the new Jeep Grand Cherokee design are the computerized speed and rev limiters in the actual software. It will only let you push the engine to approved performance specs, meaning that a car with theoretically less horsepower can and will beat out the better engine. Jeep (and other manufacturers) doesn’t see this at all as a design flaw. And unfortunately, if you’re truly interested in making Corvettes and muscle cars eat dust – newer technology requires more sophisticated understanding of the electronics.
Off the Race Track and Into the Mud
This is why older Jeep Cherokees are the preferred model to mod up for high stakes races. It’s also not a bad chassis to build a great off-roading vehicle. The 4×4 drive has both been the boon and bane of many a mechanic (and driver’s budget), but ultimately the Jeep Grand Cherokee can be said to have withstood the test of time well. Partially due to its solid construction and design over the years and part to the great array of after-market mods that can be added, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has found itself climbing rock faces, flipping through the mud, and even snorkeling.
Yes, they build a snorkel kit to keep the exhaust above board if one decides to go bog hopping.
SIDENOTE: Snorkel mod for the Jeep Grand Cherokee? Apparently, totally worth it. The bottom line is that the Jeep Grand Cherokee is both a fantastic fixer-upper for a variety of purposes and is very accepting of modifications. This makes it the ideal test platform for a variety of on-roading and off-roading excursions.
What are the Limitations of the Jeep Grand Cherokee?
From what can be seen (and witnessed), the Jeep Grand Cherokee is a hard one to get to race track performance standards. Even at its peak, factory default settings, it’s not close to breaking any records in terms of speed or timing. That doesn’t mean it’s not an incredibly impressive vehicle. Quite the contrary; by proving it’s able to handle a variety of different situations well, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has proven itself as an all around “Jack of All Trades”. And as can be seen with other race track quarter mile tests, a properly modified Grand Cherokee can still go toe-to-toe with powerful muscle cars.