The fifth-generation Grand Cherokee has arrived, and it’s got a few surprises. The first and most obvious is the addition of a third-row for the first time in the debut of the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L. While 2-row and 4xE versions of the new Grand Cherokee are set to debut later this year, we’ll first get the biggest version of this all-new SUV, the “L” version. Let’s dive into what we know so far.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee L offers a new upscale look, feel, and size, while providing the utility and off-road/severe weather capability that this Jeep is known for. It is built on an all-new unibody fully independent suspension vehicle platform that utilizes a lot of aluminum for weight savings. While you might raise an eyebrow, as we did, that Jeep is bringing us the 3-row all-new Grand Wagoneer as well, it will be a body-on-frame construction vehicle, so built on a totally different vehicle platform and probably more off-road focused.
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L By The Numbers
With the fully independent suspension setup comes Quadro-Lift air suspension, for the first time, and Electronic Adaptive Damping, both standard on top-spec Overland and Summit Grand Cherokee L models. This new Jeep will come in 4-trims; Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit.
Power comes from a 3.6L V6 (290 hp and 257 lb.-ft.) or 5.7L V8 (357 hp and 390 lb.-ft.), both backed by an 8-speed automatic transmission. The Overland and Summit are the only trim level options that can get the optional V8. The V6 gets an impressive “estimated class-leading driving range of nearly 500 miles,” but no word on fuel economy numbers on either engine just yet.
You might want to consider the V8, as the power will be appreciated to move the 4,618-5,353-pound curb weight of this SUV. The outgoing Grand Cherokee is 14-inches shorter overall and has a 7-inch shorter wheelbase. The new Grand Cherokee L is nearly 18-feet long! Needless to say, the new “L” can stand or “large” or “long,” as both are appropriate.
On 4WD V8 models you get a 7,200-pound towing capacity, while V6 models have a 6,200-pound capacity. Not bad, but not impressive.
Jeep Off-Road Prowess
While you can get the Grand Cherokee L across all trim levels in 2WD, an optional Quadro-Trac 4WD system is also available across all trims. Laredo and Limited get a full-time single-speed 4WD system, while on Overland and Summit the system has a 2-speed transfer case and optional electronic limited-slip rear differential.
The reality is that this big SUV is sure to be used more around town hauling the family, than on the truly rough terrain than Jeep has been known to conquer. With that said, for such a big vehicle the Grand Cherokee L is sure to have decent off-road chops. It offers up to 10.9-inches of ground clearance and the more off-road focused Overland model offers some very cool integrated front tow hooks.
From the factory, we only get about a 30-inch tall tire, on 18, 20, or 21-inch wheels. The question from people who might off-road this vehicle is how big a tire can they fit without messing with the suspension. We’re guessing around a 32-inch tire, but we’ll have to see once we can inspect one up close.
Clean Jeep Styling
Of course, you get Jeep’s signature seven-slot grille, an aggressive front approach angle, and signature trapezoidal wheel arches. You also get a much-lowered beltline and a massive greenhouse. The slim LED headlights are a new signature that Jeep is working into its entire lineup, and full LED lighting is now standard on the Grand Cherokee. Overall the package is very modern and still very Jeep.
My favorite new styling queue is the wrap-around metal line that starts and ends on the side mirrors. It is just a gorgeous well-executed new design element. Big 21-inch wheels are a first on a Grand Cherokee as well, and available on the Summit model.
Luxury And Tech Inside
A 6-person layout is standard in the 2021 Grand Cherokee L, with second-row captain’s chairs. A 7-passenger layout with a second-row bench is optional. Having a third-row is a first for a Grand Cherokee.
All-important heated seats in the front row are available across all trim levels, while heated second-row seating isn’t an option in the base Laredo model. Ventilated front seats are available on all but the Laredo, with second-row ventilated seats being exclusive to the Summit model. Yes, front massaging seats are also available.
We all have a million gadgets to charge, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee L is ready to keep us all powered up. There are 12 total USB A and C ports across all three rows as standard on all trim levels. Standard 12-volt outlets are also standard, with optional 110-volt outlets (depending on package).
SirusXM Radio is standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You either get an 8.4-inch or 10.1-inch digital touch screen to run the Uconnect 5 infotainment system. The optional premium Macintosh audio system is only available on the Overland and Summit models. If it sounds half as good as it looks then we’re in for a treat!
Where I think the Grand Cherokee is going to fail is with its new rotary shifter. I truly despise the rotary shifter on the dash of the RAM 1500, but have my fingers crossed that FCA has learned from that error how to do it right. At least it’s on the center console and not the dash.
The 2021 Grand Cherokee L is also equipped with all the latest safety and security features, more than 110 are available. Some standouts are the 360-degree surround-view camera system, rear-seat monitoring camera system, and night vision cameras. You also get an L2 driver-assist system with hands-on automated driving, with an advanced hands-free L2 automated driving system coming in late 2021 on the 2022 Grand Cherokee L.
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Pricing and Availablity
Production is starting now, with deliveries expected this Spring. No word on pricing yet, but gauging by the various trim levels and features there will be a very broad range of price points for the new 2021 Grand Cherokee L.
Remember also that there will be 4xE and 2-row versions of the Grand Cherokee available in the not so distant future, with both debuting later in 2021.
To find your local Jeep dealer and virtually build out your own Grand Cherokee L click HERE.