Not wanting to let one of their most storied brands fall by the wayside in the wake of the hubbub surrounding the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer, Jeep has just pulled the wraps off the all-new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L. There are a number of changes, but the biggest is probably the fact that the three-row version (hence “L”) – hey! Just like the Grand Wagoneer! – will actually be debuting before the new two-row does.
In addition to that, the ’21 Grand Cherokee will ride on an all-new platform that gets complimented by four-corner air suspension with electronic adaptive dampers as well as independent front and rear suspension. In a move that started with the current generation of the Grand Cherokee, Jeep is continuing to show that the Grand Cherokee will be able to do battle with the best in the luxury game.
A big part of that transition is the styling, which Jeep says is proportionally inspired by the original Wagoneer (but wait – then what is the new Wagoneer inspired by?) and provides a long hood culminating in a forward-tipping 7-slot grille, a tapered roofline, narrow LED headlights and larger lower grille with style elements that help conceal the gear needed for the various on-board autonomous technologies — adaptive cruise control and soon, hands-free driving with lane-centering capabilities – so it doesn’t look like it’s wearing a bib, so often what occurs with these types of sensors. The overall effect falls somewhere between the Grand Cherokee’s Dodge Durango cousin, and the BMW X7.
To compete in the luxury segment, of course, you need a techy interior and the new Grand Cherokee L looks ready to deliver with a 10” display for Uconnect 5, a 10.25” frameless digital gauge cluster (like what’s seen in the current BMW X7) and a 960-watt 19-speaker McIntosh audio system. That’s a pretty good count, but know that there are luxury vehicles in the game that have been around for longer that offer more speakers than that…
Other luxury touches inside include a digital rear-view mirror, a in-car camera that lets you monitor the rear seats, real open-pore waxed walnut wood inserts on the hi-po Summit Reserve version, as well as Absolute Oak inserts on other versions. The all-new Summit Reserve model also adds Palermo leather seating, massage front seats, ventilated front and second-row seats as well as a climate control system that can modify fan speeds for individual passengers in the first and second rows. You might say that they’re going after the likes of the BMW X7 or Mercedes GLS and that’s true, but don’t forget that other luxury SUV brand, especially since it’s one that builds only luxury SUVs: Land Rover and more specifically, the Land Rover Range Rover. That’s important to remember because that brand makes some of the most capable SUVs in the game, and when you consider the various engine and 4WD system choices available to the Grand Cherokee L, you can see how it’s looking to go toe-to-to with the best Landie can offer.
It starts with the Quadra-Trac I single system and its single-speed active transfer case that allows as much as 100 per cent of torque to be sent to the axle that’s getting the most traction. Next up is Quadra-Trac II, that provides – you guessed it – a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range ratio. It also adds an electronic limited-slip differential that can predict what’s going on beneath and pre-emptively adjust to reduce slip. The crawl ratio, meanwhile, is 44:1 and there’s a hill-descent control feature.
Finally, we have the aforementioned Quadra-Lift air suspension system, which allows for almost 610 mm of water fording depth, can lower the car at higher speeds for better fuel economy and can lift the Jeep for a total of 276 mm of ground clearance. There’s also a “Park Mode” that lowers the Grand Cherokee for better entrance and egress.
Power-wise, two engines will be available from the get-go: a 3.6L Pentastar V6 good for 290 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque, and a 5.7L Hemi V8 producing 357 hp and 390 lb-ft. The V8 can run on just four-cylinders to save fuel when under less load, such as while cruising.
A 4xe plug-in hybrid model will also be available later on, but only for the two-row version, likely because fitting both hybrid tech and a third row wasn’t in the cards.
Watch for the all-new 2021 to start arriving in dealers in the Q2 of this year.