2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee vs 2013 Mercedes Benz G

By Zack Klapman and edited by Christina Selter.

The “high-performance SUV” is an interesting category of automobile. It’s an anomaly of evolution, kind of like an appendix. We don’t need a 5-door truck that can lap a racetrack faster than decade-old sports cars. The SUV was created (originally) to carry people over things and through bad weather, eventually turning into something families used to hide their mundane lives. “I don’t drive a minivan, I drive an SUV! I’m an adventurer! Where’s my Purel…”

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

But the hi-po SUV is a play toy, completely. Sensible? No. Fun? Definitely. Fun is the case of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, at least. With a 6.4-liter Hemi making 470HP, a brand-new 8-speed automatic and the ability to send 70% of its 465ft-lbs to the rear wheels (Track mode. Me like.) This is a truck the would land Newton in a straight jacket. Nothing this heavy (5,250) lbs and this tall should have so much grip. You shouldn’t be able to go around a track this fast, or hit 60 in under 5 seconds, or rotate the damn thing with the throttle. It feels like you’re sitting up on the second row of someone’s home theater system, in comfortable chairs, looking down at the other cars you’re passing. It doesn’t make sense.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT

Yet there you are, flying through your neighborhood or racetrack, launching from stoplights and making plenty of performance car owners shake their heads, hoping to reset and erase the beating they just took. A high seating position, amazing grip, smart looks, and decent driver feedback to boot, all for $63,000. In the “fast truck” segment, that is an unparalleled bargain, yet the Jeep Grand Cherokee hardly skimps on anything.

2013 Mercedes G63AMG

2013 Mercedes Benz G63AMG

I have admired the G wagon from afar for over a decade. It always looked tough, and it should. It started life as a military vehicle. What adolescent doesn’t like something resembling Bane’s transportation on a ski vacation? If the regular SUVs told the world you were an adventurer, this tells them you’re in the mob. The foreign mob.

And who doesn’t want to look tough? It’s why those Herculean bracelets were popular ten years ago, and why Affliction made a billion dollars 2 years ago. This truck oozes bravado. Between the twin-turbo V8 whose soundtrack sets off car alarms to the military look, it oozes toughness like a maple tree. No wonder half of Gs sold in the U.S. are AMGs.

$130,000. That is the base price for a G63AMG. Alright. Well it’s a 2013 Mercedes Benz G63AMG, a brand I love, synonymous with hooliganism, performance, and an exceptional driver’s experience. 544HP, turbos, noise, and an interior the Jeep simply can’t afford to compete with. This should be a great time, no?

2013 Mercedes Benz G63AMG

No, indeed. Have you ever driven an Econoline van filled with molasses? That’s about how it feels to drive this car. The steering has all the feeling of a text message, and requires more turns than a submarine door. I haven’t felt less confident since I was 12. Will this be enough steering angle to enter the parking lot? I genuinely don’t know! Grab a helmet kids, let’s give it a shot! Fast? Sure, although the aero kind of gets in the way over 60MPH. Comfortable? Actually, no. The seating position is odd, and there’s a surprising lack of headroom. AMG must feel about the G63 as Alec Baldwin feels about Stephen.

The Mercedes Benz G63 is for advertising that you’re both rich and incapable of analytical thinking. You live at the mercy of the Joneses. If flammable hair becomes the popular thing, you will do it. If you want an SUV that performs on par with plenty of sports cars, but can also be a nice-riding, easy-to-drive car, that’s half the price of the G, get the Jeep.

(Note: All vehicles provided by manufacturers for comparison test purposes. Photos provided by Jeep and Mercedes Benz.)