2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
The history of high-performance SUVs isn’t very long, but the successful ones have been triumphs of engineering over the SUV’s unpromising dynamics. Of all that have made it past the drawing board into production, few are as good as the Grand Cherokee SRT8. Perhaps that’s not surprising—the original Grand Cherokee was a seriously fast vehicle, and not just for an SUV. So when the SRT team set to work on the third generation vehicle, the groundwork was already there. In addition, they had access to the 6.1-liter Hemi, one of the greatest modern performance engines around and a staple of the SRT lineup. Now, it’s easy to imagine the Grand Cherokee SRT8 as a one-trick pony, quick in a straight line but bumbling in a corner. While the speed is certainly there (60 mph flashes by in less than five seconds), the Jeep’s likely to surprise you when the going gets twisty, because their engineers massaged the suspension, fitted much larger brakes, and stuffed massive rubber under the already arched fenders. And with the revised front air dam and the rear bumper (sporting massive center-exit exhaust pipes), no one’s going to mistake this for a normal SUV.