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Rugby Union star and sports commentator Austin Healey picked up 51 caps for England during his professional sports career, but with recent appearances on the UK version of Strictly Come Dancing and a love for a new hobby, cycling, we wanted to find out more about the man who signed up as a Jeep® Ambassador.
“The Jeep® brand suits my lifestyle,” he says. “I have four kids, a wife, two bikes and a dog. I spend all my time on the road, travelling to commentate on matches for BT Sport, and attending events.” As a rugby player, Austin was known for being versatile, having represented his country at scrum half, fly half, full back and wing.
“The Grand Cherokee isn’t just practical. It’s got toys, a massive screen, an incredible sound system - it will make your ears bleed if you want it to - but my current car has the phenomenal SRT 6.4-litre engine, which means it is extremely powerful too.”
These days Austin’s rugby playing days are over – he believes he’s got out at the right time due to the pressure the sport inflicts on the body – but get him on his bike, or look at his schedule, and he’s working just as hard, with the same drive and tenacity. “I guess that’s the main reason I love Jeep® vehicles. Rugby is tough, and so is the Grand Cherokee. So it’s a perfect match for me.”
Austin Healey knows a thing or two about balancing power with versatility.
Which is why he’s the perfect candidate to put the Grand Cherokee SRT – performance and luxury in one – through its paces.
Q. The Jeep® Grand Cherokee SRT offers ultimate performance. Has it been a good match for you given your former life as a high performance sportsman?
A. The SRT just keeps surprising you, it's not just in a straight line either but corners like a much lower sportscar especially in track mode which is just insane.
Q. The SRT is the best-handling Jeep® SRT vehicle ever – how do you find it to drive?
A. I've been in one on a track day with a pro racing driver and you get to a bend and think "ok we're going into that field now." But it holds the road incredibly well no under steer, no body roll and more importantly it doesn't feel like it's on air. It feels like a sports car boot it in the corner and you can slide and control the rear end.
Q. What feature of the SRT do you like the most?
A. The engine!!!
Q. Where is your favourite place to go in the SRT? Where has it already taken you?
It just goes everywhere, sat at the lights next to a boy racer, on the beach, in a field at a point to point and wherever it is people look at it because it's different, it's special.
Q. Which rugby event are you most excited for this year?
Obviously the world cup comes to England and we have a good chance of winning. The best part about it is that I'm not working so I can just enjoy it and pick and choose which games I go to. You'll know which games I'm at because there will be a big Magenta SRT parked in the west car park with some food out the back!!!"