A lasting impression: 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT® features signature lighting.
Signature lighting is a great way to make a vehicle really stand out in a crowd. The design team at SRT® is very familiar with the concept, having developed one of the most easily recognizable lightning systems in the automotive world on the back of the Charger SRT. Continuing the theme, they embarked on creating signature lights for both the front and rear of the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT.
Unique to the creation and development was the fact that designers were working on both the Grand Cherokee SRT and the base version Jeep® Grand Cherokee at the same time, allowing for processes that gave the Grand Cherokee SRT lights distinguishing finishes and a unique look compared to the base vehicle. The process began with designers sketching lines and angles that they knew would make for a unique signature.
"We knew up front that we wanted the SRT and the base car to have a different personality," said Vince Galante, Jeep® Exterior Design Manager. "If you can change the eyes of the car you can change the whole face just like a character in a cartoon or photograph. If you change the eyes on a person you change up their personality."
The sinister "blacked-out" look is the most noticeable difference to the front lights on the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT. In the past, the SRT design team reserved all-black lights for one-off and special occasion vehicles, such as at the annual SEMA show and the Moab Easter Jeep Safari. Now, the look can be had by anyone.
Components used in the lighting system on the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT are some of the most high-tech ever used by the SRT team. Making the most of the real estate available, the front lights have a slimmer designer and sleeker look to them. In addition to the cosmetics of the new lights, SRT engineers worked extensively on the backside of the lighting system to make sure it operated at the proper temperature, especially the LEDs, and that all the pieces fit in the overall design.
"We wanted the car to have this unique look from down the road," said Galante. "We started doing sketches of the front of the car completely darkened down and what would be a cool signature for the car. A simple white line or blue line or whatever. From that we started developing where certain functions went. We started with the signature of the car and worked from there."
Moving to the back of the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT, there were also various upgrades to the lighting system there. The shape of the rear lights is purposely very similar to the front and blacked out as well. Once the complementary appearance was in place, all the technology and hardware used were based on that.
"We really wanted to improve the area on the back of the car," shared Galante. "Our main goal on the back wasn't so much the packaging space like it was on the front, but we wanted that same type of nighttime signature, so that if you were behind one you could see it from a half-a-mile away and know exactly what it was. You can see on a Charger how powerful that can be for a statement."
The most prominent feature of the new exterior lighting on the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT are the LEDs. Previously, the LEDs looked like rope lighting, but have been reconfigured to follow the recent trend of providing an even glow. Clear plastic pieces called light guides, reflect the light around in such a way that it appears to glow evenly. In addition to the headlamps, the turn signals and fog lamps are also powered by LEDs.
"We had people at the auto show looking at the lights, saying, 'You can't do that, it's too small,'" said Galante. "They were saying, 'You can't fit all of that stuff in there.' But we did. We are really, really happy with how the lights came out."