Jeep's popular mid-sized sport utility vehicle, the Grand Cherokee, gets a high-performance version called the SRT8 for the 2006 model year. The SRT8 features a 6.1L Hemi V-8 engine with 420 hp, enough to sprint from a standing start to 60 miles per hour in less than five seconds, the territory of pure sports cars. Also new is the Grand Cherokee Overland edition, the most luxurious version of Jeep's mid-size SUV.
Jeep launched its mid-size Grand Cherokee as a 1993 model. An all-new and updated version was introduced as a 1999 model and last year, the 2005 model marked the latest evolution in this model's development. The Grand Cherokee still only features two rows of seating, but for 2006 Jeep has introduced a new Grand Cherokee-based Commander model that offers three rows of seating for passengers. Jeep claims that the Grand Cherokee offers best-in-class tractive capability and power, which has increased significantly for 2006 with the introduction of the high performance Grand Cherokee SRT8 model. The SRT8 comes with a large and powerful engine (6.1L Hemi V-8 with 420 hp), special four-wheel-drive hardware, strengthened and lowered suspension components, 20-inch wheels, large Brembo brand brakes (as seen on many expensive sports cars), and special aerodynamic body fascia.
For those who don't need a mid-size SUV that performs like a sports car, Jeep offers the Grand Cherokee in Overland, Limited, and Laredo models. The Laredo comes with a 210-hp, 3.7L V-6 engine, Quadra-Track I four-wheel drive, and 17-inch wheels. The interior has cloth seats with eight-way power adjustment for the driver, a single-disc CD player, and metallic-look interior trim. The Limited has a 235-hp, 4.7L V-8, Quadra-Track II four-wheel drive, and 17-inch wheels. The interior gets Royale leather seating, a six-CD changer, and leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Overland is the most luxurious of all Grand Cherokees. It comes with a host of comfort/convenience/performance features, including a 330-hp, 5.7L Hemi V-8, Quadra Drive II four-wheel drive, and 17-inch wheels. The interior features platinum-colored accents, real wood interior trim, two-tone ultra-suede and leather seats, as well as side air bags, ParkSense parking assist, tire-pressure monitors, a DVD navigation system, and Sirius satellite radio. An electronic stability program is standard on all Grand Cherokees.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee competes in the large and highly competitive Midsize Utility segment, where room for a family and four-wheel-drive are the cost of entry.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the 18 vehicles in this category account for more than 1.8 million sales each year, or more than 10 percent of the entire U.S. light-vehicle fleet. As such, the race for sales is extremely tight. For calendar year 2005, Chevrolet sold 244,150 TrailBlazers to just edge out the Ford Explorer (241,849 units in 2005). The Jeep Grand Cherokee was a solid third (213,584 units in 2005). Other vehicles in the category include the Honda Pilot, Toyota 4Runner, Dodge Durango, GMC Envoy and Envoy XL, Hummer H3, Nissan Pathfinder, and Jeep's new Commander.
|Laredo||5 speed automatic||$27,415||210-hp / 3.7L 6-cyl||17/22|
|Limited||multi-speed automatic||$33,615||230-hp / 4.7L 8-cyl||15/20|
|Overland||multi-speed automatic||$39,440||330-hp / 5.7L 8-cyl||15/20|
|SRT8||5 speed automatic||$39,700||420-hp / 6.1L 8-cyl||14/20|