40 years ago, the idea of a performance SUV seemed completely unfathomable. SUVs were completely different back then, often using body-on-frame constructions, and designed to go off-road and not do a whole lot else. You could use them on the road, but they were most at home off the pavement. Then, in the late ’80s and early ’90s, SUVs experienced a major transition, from off-road workhorses to suburban family transportation devices.
With a bigger focus on the road and with straying away from the dirt tracks, GMC decided to experiment with a performance SUV, resulting in the Typhoon. This opened the floodgates, and soon, everyone started putting together performance SUVs of their own. In the 2000s, if you wanted your performance SUV to be cheap, you got a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.
- 6.1-liter HEMI V8
- Model: Grand Cherokee SRT8
- Engine/Motor: 6.1-liter V8
- Horsepower: 425 hp
- Torque: 420 lb-ft
- Drivetrain: Longitudinal front-engine, AWD
- Transmission: 5-speed automatic
- Cheap speed
- As practical as any Grand Cherokee
- It looks awesome
- Poor interior quality
- Outdated technology
2006-2010 Grand Cherokee SRT8 Overview
The first iteration of the Grand Cherokee SRT8 used the WK Grand Cherokee as a starting point. Jeep sold the WK Grand Cherokee from 2004 to 2010, and the Grand Cherokee SRT8 debuted in 2005 for model year 2006. Although this was the first time the SRT8 badge appeared on a Grand Cherokee, it wasn’t the first performance-oriented version of the SUV. That honor goes to the ZJ Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited. That car was fast by 1990s standards, but this was something totally different.
Jeep did their due diligence to ensure that the SRT8 Grand Cherokee differs significantly from the standard model. At the front end, there’s a unique front bumper that goes quite low, with foglights and an air intake in the middle. The SRT8 also featured unique five-spoke alloy wheels, which were available in chrome. The side also featured some pretty substantial rocker panels, once again stretching quite low down. The rear featured a unique rear bumper, with two large polished exhaust outlets right in the center. It’s almost hard to believe that at one point, high-performance cars had just two exhausts. The Grand Cherokee SRT8 was also substantially lower than the regular Grand Cherokee, so it’s probably not the best idea to take it off-road. Even though it was “just” a Grand Cherokee, the SRT8 competed with the likes of the Porsche Cayenne, Porsche’s lifesaver, the Mercedes ML 55 AMG, and to an extent, the BMW X5 M.
2006-2010 Grand Cherokee SRT8 Powertrain And Drivetrain
Being the flagship in the Grand Cherokee lineup at the time, the SRT8 was the most powerful version. The SRT8 itself came only one way. Under the hood is a 6.1-liter naturally-aspirated HEMI V8 developing 425 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. Those may not seem like extreme numbers in today’s world, but when you put it into perspective with other cars from the time, it was definitely substantial. For reference, the Porsche Cayenne S from the same time period had 380 hp.
The SRT8 was just 19 hp shy from the first run of the Cayenne Turbo. That’s pretty impressive, considering the Grand Cherokee was significantly cheaper. 0-60 happened in just 5 seconds, and the top speed is a cool 152 mph. A five-speed automatic transmission took care of transferring the power to all four wheels. Independent suspension double wishbone suspension, thick tires as well as strengthened front and rear sway bars rounded off the drivetrain package. Not exactly the most sophisticated drivetrain setup, but the Grand Cherokee SRT8’s intent was to provide old-fashioned thrills in an SUV package.
2006-2010 Grand Cherokee SRT8 Comfort And Quality
The interior of the Grand Cherokee SRT8 makes it abundantly clear how Jeep could make such a powerful SUV and sell it for a relatively low price. There are some nice creature comforts, like cruise control, climate control, and a full navigation system, along with heated leather seats, and a sunroof but there are cheap plastics just about everywhere. It’s clear that Jeep spent most of the development budget on the powertrain and making the GC go fast, and they didn’t care too much about the interior. For the SRT8 buyers, that was absolutely fine. However, by modern standards, the technology is a little outdated, especially the infotainment system.
owners say that these are pretty bulletproof, which is no surprise, as the 6.1 HEMI, and all other HEMIs, are pretty robust powertrains. Just remember, gas mileage is not a strong suit for these things. The Grand Cherokee seats five passengers, and the cargo area boasts 34.5 cubic-feet of space with the rear seats up. Fold them down, and it increases to 67.4 cubic-feet.In terms of reliability,
2006-2010 Grand Cherokee SRT8 Prices
One of the main hallmarks of the GC SRT8 back in the day was its relatively affordable pricing, considering what you got for the money. Even today, this is still very much the case. Classic.com estimates that the average value for a used Grand Cherokee SRT8 comes in at around $23,500. That’s not a huge amount of money for a relatively modern SUV with a 6.1-liter, 425 hp V8 and bundles of old-fashioned fun. As we fast approach the electric future, we will always look back on gas guzzlers like the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.