Even when it’s been stuffed with the 707-horsepower Hellcat motor, it’s hard to believe the current Jeep Grand Cherokee has been around since 2011. That feels like 1,000 years ago, instead of just 10. But Jeep aims to fix that with an all-new fifth-generation Grand Cherokee for 2021, and the model kicks off with the luxurious three-row Grand Cherokee L.
As you can probably tell, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L’s design language builds heavily on the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept, all while being expected to start at just under the $40,000 mark when it goes on sale this spring.
With room for up to seven passengers, the Grand Cherokee L’s second row seats fold and slide forward to allow easier access to the third row, which has available power-folding seats and 30.3 inches of legroom. And at 47 cubic feet, you get 11 cubic feet of extra storage behind the second row in the L, while with all the seats folded flat, the long-wheelbase SUV’s hauling capacity grows to 85 cubic feet.
Customers will also be able to choose between two engines and three drive systems, with air suspension and a bucket of now technologies landing on the options lists.
Following the three-row Grand Cherokee L that’s 6.9-inches longer than the current model, expect the classic two-row variant to follow at the end of this year, along with the electrified 4xe. 2022 model year Cherokees will add hands-free driving capability, while all fifth-generation Grand Cherokees come with an independent front and multi-link rear suspension.
The car is new but the engines are very familiar. With both connected to Jeep’s eight-speed automatic, the 2021 Grand Cherokee keeps the 3.6-liter Penstar V6 with start-stop as standard, offering 290 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque with either rear-, all-, or four-wheel drive. On the Overland and Summit models, the 5.7-liter V8 will also be available, pairing 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque with cylinder deactivation and four-wheel drive.
Slightly less powerful than the current two-row, the 2021 Grand Cherokee retains the current tow rating of up to 6,200 pounds with the V6, and 7,200 pounds with the V8.
The three drive systems are the Quadra-Trac I and II, with single- and two-speed transfer cases, or the Quadra-Drive II, which includes the two-speed transfer case and a rear electronic limited-slip differential. Optional on the Overlands and standard on the Summits, these more expensive models also come with adaptive dampers and the five-stage air suspension offering up to 10.9-inches of ground clearance. The Grand Cherokee L is also equipped with automatic front axle disconnect for maximum efficiency.
Five terrain modes should help drivers out over any terrain, yet where auto, sport, rock, snow, mud/sand, plus the paddle-controlled hill-descent wouldn’t be enough, the Overland trim can be upgraded with Jeep’s off-road package, which includes skid plates, 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Primacy all-seasons, an electronic limited-slip differential at the rear, and the all-important “Trail Rated” badges.
Inside, the Grand Cherokee takes a grand step into the world of premium SUVs, with a standard 8.4-inch touchscreen featuring FCA’s new Uconnect 5 infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, and a 10.1-inch screen that’s available on the Limited and Overland Cherokees and standard on the Summit. The 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster also comes standard, while the center console gets a gloss black finish and a backlit rotary shift knob first teased in the Grand Wagooneer show car.
Overland and Summit Cherokees get 16-way massage power seats, a night vision camera and head-up display as well, while the Summit Reserve package includes cooled front- and second-row seats, some extra fancy trim pieces and a banging McIntosh audio system.
All Grand Cherokee Ls have colorful interior LED lighting and 12 USB Type A and Type C outlets. As for the other gadgets and safety features, also standard equipment are the collision warning with active braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist with lane departure warning, brake assist, and blind-spot monitoring. Jeep will add more advanced semi-autonomous driving aids for the 2022 model year.
According to Car and Driver, this spring, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L will go on sale at just under $40,000 for the Laredo, roughly $45,000 for the Limited, $50,000 for the Overland, and $55,000 for the Summit. If that’s premium enough for you, just keep your checkbook ready for the upcoming Grand Wagooner, which should start at the $60,000 line.
Expect to see it at a trail, and a mall, near you in the coming months.
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