The SRT8 is a high-performance version of the Grand Cherokee, outfitted with a 420-horsepower V-8 Hemi engine as standard equipment.
With this engine, the SRT-8 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds - outperforming the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and BMW X5 despite weighing 4,819 pounds.
Of course, the SRT-8 pays a price in fuel economy for all of that power. The EPA rates the model at just 11 mpg/city and 14 mpg/ highway.
On the outside, the SRT-8 features special front and rear fascias, including a center cutout in the rear to accommodate broad, chrome-tipped twin tailpipes.
The model also comes standard with 20-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels, run-flat tires, an independent front suspension and a rear live axle.
Standard safety features include antilock brakes, electronic stability control and roll mitigation and front and side-curtain airbags.
Inside, the SRT-8 reflects a racing heritage, with added seat bolstering and a speedometer that runs up to 180 mph.
Other standard SRT-8 features include a power sun roof, a parking assistant/backup camera and rain-sensitive wipers.
As for pricing, the SRT-8's $42,965 base sticker runs a bit above that of the Ford Explorer Limited AWD ($39,180) and Toyota 4Runner Limited 4WD ($39,360).
Of course, rebates play a big role in large vehicles' prices these days.
The SRT-8 currently carries $3,500 in basic cash back, while certain customers can qualify for an extra $1,500.
By contrast, the Explorer Limited AWD offers as much as $4,000 cash back, while the 4Runner Limited 4WD doesn't currently carry any broad-based incentives.
Part of the reason the SRT-8 has a higher sticker is that the model -designed by Chrysler's Street and Racing Team - has only limited availability.
A bank teller saw me drive up in a 2009 Grand Cherokee SRT8 and asked some fairly well-informed questions about changes since she bought her 2008 model. Turns out, she had to order her SRT8 from out of state because local dealers were out of them. That’s the kind of banker you want to talk to when you’re looking for a car loan.
People who recognize the special qualities of the SRT8 are the cognoscenti of cars, the influencers and purveyors of the most powerful form of advertising — word of mouth.
As a high-performance version of the Grand Cherokee, the SRT8 is the type of SUV that can get people talking.
Powered by a 6.1-liter, 420-horsepower Hemi V8, the SRT8 accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in under 5 seconds, outperforming the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and BMW X5.
Of course, you pay a price in fuel economy of 11 miles per gallon in the city and 14 on the highway for an annual bill of $5,373.
But don’t worry, this vehicle won’t drain Saudi Arabia. Designed by Chrysler’s Street and Racing Team, the SRT8 has very limited availability. It is reflected in its base sticker price of $42,500, which rose to $50,670 with options.
SRT8 reveals its special credentials through styling features such as special front and rear fascias, including a center cutout in the rear to accommodate broad, chrome-tipped twin tailpipes.
The interior is also designed to reflect the racing heritage, with added bolstering for the seats, accent stitching on the slate-gray seats and a speedometer that rises to 180 mph.
Clearly, this vehicle has a great history. Let’s hope it has a great future.