Jeep is introducing the fifth-generation Grand Cherokee with an all-new L model with three rows of seats. You can still get a standard-wheelbase Grand Cherokee with two rows for 2021, but the new L version, which can seat seven, will be the first of the Grand Cherokee family to arrive this spring. At first glance, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L bears a striking resemblance to the original Wagoneer SJ (a luxury 4×4 station wagon and successor to the Willy’s Jeep Station Wagon) first sold in 1964.
In our eyes, the new Grand Cherokee has the styling cues of Jeep’s Grand Wagoneer concept with its slanting seven-slot grille design. Here’s an overview of what to expect from Jeep’s newest family SUV.
All Jeep Grand Cherokees are riding on a unibody platform, and the newest fifth-gen model is no different. However, the 2021 Grand Cherokee has its front axle mounted directly to the engine to lower the center of gravity, while the hood, tailgate, engine mounts, and shock towers are now aluminum to save more weight. Meanwhile, 60 percent of the Grand Cherokee’s body is composed of high-strength Generation 3 steel.
“When you set out to reimagine an SUV as beloved as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, building on its nearly 30-year legacy as an overachiever is paramount to every decision that is made,” said Christian Meunier, Global President of Jeep Brand – FCA. “It is built on an all-new architecture and wrapped in a stunning new design that honors its iconic Jeep design heritage.”
Unibody SUVs have a clear advantage over traditional body-on-frame models in terms of on-road refinement and ride comfort. The 2021 Grand Cherokee has a front and rear independent suspension with optional variable-rate air springs and electronic semi-active shock absorbers to ensure a smoother ride, sharper handling, and capable off-road manners.
Engines & Towing Capacity
The 2021 Grand Cherokee is riding on an all-new platform, so it’s only natural to expect a slew of new engine options. But as fate would have it, the fifth-gen Grand Cherokee inherits the V6 and V8 motors of the previous model.
The new Grand Cherokee is available in four trim levels: Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit (which has a Summit Reserve Package for added luxury). Standard fare is FCA’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 290 horsepower and 257 lb-ft. of torque, while both Overland and Summit trims can upgrade to a 5.7-liter V8 with 357 horsepower and 390 lb-ft. of torque. Both engines are slightly down in power versus the outgoing Grand Cherokee, and we have no idea why.
Then again, we do know both engines will have a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, and the V8 model can tow up to 7,200 lbs. On the other hand, the V6 is rated to tow up to 6,200 lbs. It would be great to have a fresh set of motors, but Jeep is promising to debut a Grand Cherokee 4xe hybrid model within the year.
Three Drivetrain Choices
Instead of choosing an engine, you’ll need to focus more on which of the three available 4×4 drivetrains is perfect for your new Grand Cherokee. At launch, you’ll have a choice between Quadra Trac I, Quadra Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II.
The first option is Quadra Trac I with a single-speed active transfer case, capable of sending up to 100 percent of the engine’s torque to either the front or rear axle. Next is Quadra Trac II with a two-speed active transfer case and low-range gear reduction. It also has active 4-Low torque control with a 2.72:1 gear ratio.
Last but not least is Quadra-Drive II, standard in the Grand Cherokee Summit and optional in the Overland with the 4×4 Off-Road Group. It has a two-speed active transfer case and an electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD) to offer torque vectoring between the left and right rear wheels. Both Summit and Overland models have a standard air suspension with five height settings and Quadra-Lift to vary the ground clearance from 1.8 inches (for easier entry and egress) to 10.9 inches for hardcore off-roading.
Jeep’s newest Grand Cherokee L has five Selec-Terrain driving modes: Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow, and Mud/Sand. Hill-descent control is standard on Overland and Summit trims.
Luxurious & Tech-Filled Interior
Without a doubt, the most desirable aspect of the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is the interior, now featuring open-pore wood, genuine metal, premium leather, and lots of new tech. The driver gets to work with a 10.25-inch digital instrument panel. Simultaneously, there’s a standard 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system (a larger 10.1-inch unit is optional) with Uconnect 5 and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity.
Standard in the new Grand Cherokee is 12 USB ports (for both Type-A and Type-C charging), multi-device Bluetooth connectivity, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Sirius XM, and interior ambient lighting. The Overland and Summit models get length adjustable front seat cushions, ventilated front seats, and remote second-row folding seats, while a four-zone automatic climate control system is standard for the Summit trim.
Also standard in the Grand Cherokee L Overland and Summit is a 950-watt McIntosh audio system with a 10-inch subwoofer and 19 speakers. The Laredo has an optional single-pane sunroof, while Overland and Summit have a dual-pane sunroof.
Seating Configurations & Cargo Space
The fifth-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee L offers seating for six or seven adults. Summit models come with standard second-row captain’s chairs and a new center console, while a bench seat and a power-folding third-row seat is optional. Both second and third-row seats can fold flat to offer up to 84.6 cubic feet of cargo room. With the second-row up, you still have 46.9 cubic feet of storage space.
Abundant Safety Features
As expected from a modern SUV, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is overflowing with innovative safety and security features. It has LED headlights, a surround-view camera, parallel and perpendicular park assist, a rear seat monitoring camera, full-speed collision warning with active braking, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, active lane management, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, a night vision camera, and Level 2 active driving assist technology, among many others.
Jeep Grand Cherokee L Warranty
The Grand Cherokee L comes with a factory bumper-to-bumper warranty of three years or 36,000 miles and a powertrain warranty lasting five years or 60,000 miles. Depending on how much you drive, extending your Jeep warranty might be a good idea. This free and comprehensive guide on Jeep’s factory warranty will help you better make that decision.
All Grand Cherokee L models come with the Jeep Wave owner loyalty program. Complimentary membership benefits include three free oil changes and tire rotations during the first 36 months of ownership.
Jeep Grand Cherokee L: Pricing & Availability
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L will go on sale this coming spring. The chart below shows pricing by trim level. Tack on an additional $1,695 for the destination charge to any of the MSRP figures below. This free and easy search tool* will help you see which Jeep dealers in your area are giving you the best price.
All fifth-gen Grand Cherokees will be built at the new Detroit Assembly Complex (Mack Plant) in Michigan.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Gallery
Summit Reserve Interior
Rear Seating & Cargo Area
Photos & Source: FCA US LLC.
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