Jeep’s new model brings the brand into three-row territory.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is finally getting a three-row version with room for as many as seven passengers. This week, Fiat Chrysler (soon to be Stellantis) revealed the all-new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L, which will go on sale in the second quarter. Because it’s based on an all-new architecture, it is distinctly different from the current two-row Grand Cherokee.
Seven Million Strong
It has been nearly 30 years since Jeep launched the Grand Cherokee nameplate, slotting this model above the renowned Cherokee. Over the course of three decades, Jeep has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide. Its first-ever three-row variant, which carries an “L” signature, will expand this model’s reach accordingly.
The new model will be built at Jeep’s new facility in Detroit and come in four trims: Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit. An all-new two-row Grand Cherokee and a 4xe electrified version of this five-seater will follow.
Sitting on a 121.7-inch wheelbase and measuring 204.9 inches long, the Grand Cherokee L launches Jeep’s initiative into larger and more luxurious vehicles. Indeed, a Grand Wagoneer prototype was unveiled last year and is expected to go into production in 2022. Where Jeep has dominated the four-by-four market from the subcompact Renegade to the burly Wrangler and on through the Grand Cherokee, the brand will target some of the biggest and priciest SUV models with its expanded product line.
Inasmuch as the Grand Cherokee L is a new model, it’ll compete against many existing models that already occupy that space. For example, the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, and Buick Enclave are among its chief domestic rivals. The Dodge Durango, an FCA product, is also present.
Further, the segment features many other competitors including the Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Kia Telluride, Volkswagen Atlas, Mazda CX-9, Subaru Ascent, and the Hyundai Palisade. Most of these models offer standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive (only the Subaru offers standard AWD). As for the new Jeep, it comes in standard rear-wheel drive and has available four-wheel drive (like the Ford Explorer), the latter attribute underscoring its off-road prowess.
Highlights of the Jeep Grand Cherokee L
Besides the features already mentioned, the new model will include the following:
1. Key exterior features.
All models come with automatic headlamps. From there, the differences depend largely on the trim choice and may include front tow hooks, LED fog lamps, puddle lighting, power-controlled and fold-away heated side mirrors, 18-, 20-, or 21-inch aluminum wheels, all-season or all-terrain tires, and a power liftgate, just to name a few of the key features.
2. Key interior features.
Just as the exterior comes with many feature choices, the same can be said for the cabin. Cloth seats on the base model give way to a variety of real hides on the three other trims. Further, some trims include real wood trim, including walnut. Full power accessories, climate control, and tilt-and-telescopic steering column come standard. Other available features include a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated and ventilated second-row bucket seats, and seat-back massage in the first row.
3. Seating for six or seven.
Shoppers have a choice of seating arrangements, with a 2-3-2 layout featuring a middle row bench seat or a 2-2-2 layout with center-row bucket seats. In the latter configuration, the seats feature 7 inches of travel and also tip forward for improved access to the rear seat. Moreover, the bucket seats can also be removed. Importantly, child safety seats installed in the second row can stay put when the seats are tilted forward. Also, the second-row seats recline 18 degrees.
4. Two engine choices.
Jeep’s newest model comes with two very familiar engine choices. Firstly, the standard engine is a 3.6-liter V6 with an output of 290 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque. Models powered by this engine come with standard rear-wheel drive or available four-wheel drive. Secondly, a 5.7-liter V8 engine with 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque is available. This one works with four-wheel drive only. Both engines send power to the wheels by utilizing an 8-speed automatic transmission.
5. Three Jeep four-by-four systems.
Like the Grand Cherokee and certain other Jeep models, this one gives shoppers a choice of three four-by-four systems along with its Selec-Terrain traction management system with five terrain modes. Dubbed Quadra-Trac 1, Quadra-Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II, these systems supply this Jeep with varying levels of off-road capabilities. All three systems come with an active transfer case that’s designed to improve traction as it moves torque to the wheel with the most grip. Notably, the Quadra-Trac 1 system utilizes a single-speed transfer case, the Quadra-Trac 2 system a two-speed transfer case, while the Quadra-Drive II adds a rear electronic limited-slip differential to its two-speed active transfer case. On balance, the new Jeep has a competitive off-road edge to tout.
6. An air suspension system.
The new Grand Cherokee L model offers a quadra-lift air suspension system bundled with electronic adaptive damping for heightened ground clearance and water fording. This SUV’s normal ride height is 8.3 inches, raising it to 9.9 inches when switched to Off-Road 1 mode. Move it to Off-Road 2 mode and its supplies 10.9 inches of ground clearance. The system also features park mode, whereby it lowers the normal ride height by 1.8 inches for ingress and egress improvement. Lastly, an Aero Mode lowers the suspension system by 0.8 inches for improved aerodynamic flow while driving, thereby optimizing fuel efficiency.
7. Uconnect 5 system.
Uconnect is FCA’s infotainment system and is in our estimation one of the better ones available. Jeep’s new model rolls out the latest and most advanced version, called Uconnect 5. This one promises operating speeds that are five times faster than the previous generation. Furthermore, this system features either an 8.4- or 10.1-inch color touch-screen display, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, a fully customizable home screen, dual connectivity for a pair of Bluetooth devices, Alexa services, TomTom navigation, over-the-air updates, and 4G LTE Wi-Fit hotspot connectivity for as many as eight devices. Surprisingly, up to 12 USB ports are available across all three rows.
8. A long list of active driving support features.
The Grand Cherokee L comes with a lengthy roster of driver-assist technologies, including full-speed collision warning with active braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection. Also included is adaptive cruise control with full stop and go, rear cross path detection, active lane management, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, advanced brake assist, blind-spot monitoring, and parking assistance. In addition, other available features include a night vision camera, head-up display, intersection collision assist, drowsy driver detection, a digital rearview camera system, and traffic sign recognition. All in all, the new Jeep brings with it the safety features we expect in today’s new models.
9. Basic maintenance is included.
Like premium automakers, Grand Cherokee L owners have access to the Jeep Wave maintenance program. Specifically, this one supplies three years of maintenance at Jeep dealerships, including oil changes and tire rotations. Also, such features as 24-hour support, trip interruption coverage with complimentary first-day coverage, and VIP access to select Jeep brand events are included.
We’ll have more information about the Grand Cherokee L nearer to its release date. Furthermore, Auto Trends will supply a full review with updated pricing, fuel efficiency, and unique photographs once this vehicle is made available to us.
To sum up, Jeep brings to the market a model it has long needed. That point alone ensures that Jeep faithful will give it a strong look before considering another brand. We think that as one of 14 brands managed by Stellantis, Jeep will continue to thrive. As a result, additional models, including electrified variants, should help grow the brand.
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Specifications
|Jeep||2021 Grand Cherokee L|
|Engine No. 1||3.6-liter, V6|
|Horsepower||290 @ 6,400 rpm|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||257 @ 4,000 rpm|
|Engine No. 2||5.7-liter, V8|
|Horsepower||357 @ 5,150 rpm|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||390 @ 4,250 rpm|
|Curb Weight (pounds)||4,618 to 5,330|
|Headroom (f,m,r…inches)||39.8., 39.9, 37.3|
|Legroom (f,m,r…inches)||41.3, 39.4, 30.3|
|Shoulder room (f,m,r…inches)||59.2, 58.0, 51.9|
|Hip room (f,m,r…inches)||57.4, 58.0, 42.9|
|Storage (cubic feet)||17.2, 46.9, 84.6|
|Gross vehicle weight (pounds)||6,500 to 6,900|
|Towing (pounds)||6,200 (V6); 7,200 (V8)|
|Payload (pounds)||1,200 to 1,410|
|Fuel Tank (gallons)||23.0|
|EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway/combined)||TBD|
|Manufacturing Plant||Detroit Assembly Complex – Mack, Michigan|
See Also — Smart Concept: Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Photos copyright Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Stellantis). All rights reserved.