The Grand Cherokee is Jeep's high-end off road vehicle, blending creature comforts with years of off-roading expertise. This five passenger mid-sized SUV, now in its third generation was slightly updated in 2008, with more rounded headlights and a lower front bumper that is removable for better ground clearance when off-roading.
The Grand Cherokee has the distinct bar grille of the Jeep lineage, but this is a new approach to four by fouring. While the Laredo, Limited, and Overland trims offer trail-rated off-road capabilities, the Grand Cherokee SRT-8 was conceived with the street in mind. The SRT stands for Street and Racing Technology, and it's apparent from the lower valences and side skirts, large front air dam, and center-mounted exhaust that this Jeep has the looks to fit its name.
The performance theme goes beyond skin-deep, as the SRT-8 has been equipped with high-performance suspension, 20-inch aluminum wheels, Brembo performance brakes, and a massive 6.1-liter big-block HEMI V8 that cranks out 425 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque.
Other Grand Cherokees can be ordered with engines ranging from a 210 horsepower 3.7-liter V8 up to a 330 horsepower 5.7-liter HEMI V8 as well as a 3-liter turbo-diesel that puts out just 215 horsepower but a whopping 376 pound feet of torque. All models send power through a 5-speed automatic transmission to rear wheel drive or four-wheel drive, which comes standard on the SRT-8.
Fuel economy for the Grand Cherokee ranges from 11 miles per gallon city, up to 21 miles per gallon highway.
The roomy interior of our test SRT-8 has standard leather and suede seats with 8-way power adjustable driver's seat, leather wrapped multifunction steering wheel, and 60/40 split fold rear seats.
Optional equipment includes AM/FM Stereo with 6-CD in-dash changer, touch screen GPS navigation, and back seat DVD entertainment system.
For safety equipment, the Grand Cherokee offers a full array of front and side impact airbags, Electronic Stability Control, 4-wheel traction control, and the enhanced accident response system that automatically unlocks doors and shuts off the fuel pump when airbags deploy.
Base MSRP for the 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee is $30,150. The price of a fully loaded SRT-8 can break $50,000. All '09 Jeeps are backed by an impressive unlimited year/unlimited-miles power train warranty.
For 2009, the Grand Cherokee continues as Jeep's top SUV with room enough for family hauling, style enough for the country club...and of course, Jeep's legendary go-anywhere off-road capability.