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The New 12 MPG Jeep: Still More Efficient Than the Batmobile

The New 12 MPG Jeep: Still More Efficient Than the Batmobile

Illustration by Evan Applegate

The 2012 Jeep (F:IM) Grand Cherokee SRT8 gets 12 miles per gallon in city driving. According to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it’s Jeep’s least efficient vehicle in the 2012 lineup.

But the SRT8 has gotten good reviews for performance (it goes from 0 mph to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, for example), and as the above chart shows, awesomeness can come at efficiency’s expense. The new Jeep, which gets 18 mpg on the highway, may be less efficient than an old DeLorean, but on the bright side, it still gets better mileage than a monster truck or Batmobile (built on the frame of a Lincoln Town Car).

It’s also selling quickly. Mercifully, for the planet at least, Chrysler plans on making no more than 3,800 this year, according to Bloomberg News.

Still, we wanted to ask Chrysler what they were thinking. Here’s an excerpt from my conversation with Beth Paretta, Chrysler’s director of SRT marketing:

Paretta: “Like with any manufacturer, you have to look at the aggregate portfolio. Even with these smaller volume cars, with fuel economy in this range, we have to have other cars that offset that. We need to make sure the portfolio meets whatever the government requirements are.

“That said, even with these performance vehicles, we’re always trying to improve the fuel economy of those, too. The previous Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT went out in 2010. This has improved fuel economy compared to the predecessor; it’s up 13 percent on the highway. When it’s on highway, it goes into eco mode and shuts down to four cylinders, vs. eight.

“The Jeep is the hottest SRT model now, and we can’t make enough of them. The market skews more towards the northern states because of the all-wheel drive. People who buy them use them as daily drivers, so when they come out of the office they can still drive them with two inches of slush on the ground. These buyers tend to be in a winter climate, but you still see them in Miami. We are at capacity at the plant. CEOs have called and said, ‘Is there any way I can get one? I can’t buy one at my local dealer’—and we literally can’t shoehorn one in right now.”

Wong is an associate editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow her on Twitter @venessawwong.

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