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Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 2006 Review

Jeep has shoe-horned the 6.1-litre, 313kW/570Nm V8 from Chrysler's 300C SRT8 under the 4x4's bonnet, with startling results. All pretence to going off-road has been jettisoned in a quest to produce one of the quickest 4x4s on the planet.

It has massive 20-inch lowprofile tyres, has been lowered by 25mm, runs Bilstein suspension and large diameter Brembo brakes – all straight out of the go fast parts bin.

Street and Racing Technology is Chrysler/Jeep's performance wing and is responsible for development of this vehicle.

The team has gone deeply into engineering tweaking mode, and the same could be said for the design team, on both the inside and out.

The Hemi 6.1 V8 is a hugely updated version of the 5.7 V8 used in other Chrysler/Jeep products. It's been stripped down and souped upwith most internal components changed – right down to the forged steel crankshaft and reinforced cylinder block.

It runs at a comparatively high 10.3:1 compression ratio, which demands 98 octane fuel.

Though an overhead valve design with only two valves a cylinder, the goodies inside more than make up for technical simplicity. The redline has moved up 1000rpm to 6000rpm and it breathes through a large diameter dual exhaust system.

Power gets to all four wheels by a sophisticated electronic fourwheel- drive system that can vary drive to the front or rear axle as needed: up to 100 per cent each way, and everything in between.

Transmission is a five-speed auto with sequential change mode. It is similar to the transmission in Jeep's V6 turbo diesel.

The exterior has extroverted body enhancements that scream ‘‘muscle''. It is not the most subtle styling makeover you will see but sends a clear massage.

The massive front skirt is necessary to prevent air from getting under the vehicle at high speed. The rear treatment is stunning, highlighted by twin large diameter tail pipes clustered in the centre of the rear skirt.

Inside scores the full street and racing technology treatment, with race-style leather/suede seats, monumental Boston Acoustics audio, electric everything and goodies like climate air and splashes of carbon fibre.

On the road it's fabulous, offering sensational performance and sporty handling.

The SRT8 handles like a sports sedan cornering flat and maintaining grip with neutral attitude.

The steering is quick and the brakes are superb.

It offers a firm ride, as expected, and there's an ever present rumble from the exhaust.

Few vehicles are as quick out of the blocks. It rips away from a standstill in near neck-snapping fashion.

On the other side of the coin is a brace of safety equipment that includes an electronic stability program, multiple airbags, rear park assist and rain sensing wipers.

With a 77-litre tank it can be thirsty but driven normally the SRT8 drinks about 14.0-litres/ 100km.

Only small numbers are being imported – 60 this year and a similar number next year.

Pricing Guides

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Range and Specs

Laredo (4x4) 3.0L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO $6,800 – 11,999 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2006 Laredo (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Limited (4x4) 5.7L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $6,999 – 10,990 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2006 Limited (4x4) Pricing and Specs
SRT 8 6.1L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $12,980 – 17,380 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2006 SRT 8 Pricing and Specs