2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L first drive review: What the L?

Nancy J. Delong

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one particular of the most common SUVs accessible today, and for great motive. Not only does it glimpse fantastic, this rugged motor vehicle presents immense off-road capacity, a coddling cabin and a lot of refinement. Appropriately, whenever Jeep redesigns this mountain goat, it is really […]

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one particular of the most common SUVs accessible today, and for great motive. Not only does it glimpse fantastic, this rugged motor vehicle presents immense off-road capacity, a coddling cabin and a lot of refinement. Appropriately, whenever Jeep redesigns this mountain goat, it is really big information. And for 2021, that’s specially legitimate, given that the recently minted Grand Cherokee L is pumped up in stature and now arrives with a standard 3rd-row seat.

The addition of that new bench makes it possible for the Grand Cherokee L to seat up to seven individuals (a 6-passenger configuration is offered, far too), drastically expanding its versatility. And this 3rd row isn’t really just some young children-only zone — lifestyle-sized grownups match with a lot of place for knees and noggins, and the bottom cushion is a first rate height earlier mentioned the flooring. Of class, the 2nd-row chairs are even nicer to plunk your backside down on and the outboard kinds tip up and slide for easier obtain to those people rearmost seats.

To accommodate a 3rd row, the L is 15.1 inches longer than the outgoing standard Grand Cherokee and the wheelbase has been stretched by 7 inches, alterations that add to the vehicle’s longroof glimpse. In a natural way, if you don’t will need added seats or choose a far more workable motor vehicle, Jeep will offer a regular two-row variation, but it will not arrive right until afterwards this yr.

It really is debatable regardless of whether the new Grand Cherokee L is far more interesting than its predecessor. The L’s gaping lessen air consumption and curiously angled grille glimpse weird, specially on a entire body that’s if not cleanly styled and handsome. Matching those people contemporary seems, the 2021 Grand Cherokee L is created on a new flexible architecture, a unibody structure comprised of far more than 60% higher-energy metal, which gives this off-roader an pretty much unyielding backbone. To decrease bodyweight, the vehicle’s closures, like the hood and liftgate, are designed of aluminum.

I’m not completely sold on the Grand Cherokee L’s exterior styling, but designers knocked it out of the park with this Jeep’s interior. The layout, materials, consolation and tech are all primo. The range-topping Summit model arrives with pretty Nappa leather or super-top quality Palermo cow hides if you nab the Summit Reserve package deal. You can also get stunning open-pore wooden accents and even Berber flooring mats. A acquainted rotary shifter is standard products, even though its steel construction and artfully milled edges make this dial truly feel like a piece of jewelry. A suede-like headliner is offered, far too, as is a 19-speaker McIntosh audio process. In larger-finish products, this Jeep’s interior is luxury-vehicle awesome, adequate to give automobiles like the Acura MDX and Lincoln Aviator a run for their revenue.

This interior rivals those people of some luxury vehicles.


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The Grand Cherokee L’s symmetrical dashboard arcs from door to door, bringing to mind a bird’s outstretched wings. In the center is either an 8.4- or 10.1-inch touchscreen, equally of which are residence to the Android-run Uconnect 5 infotainment process. With rather graphics and hundreds of performance, this multimedia array is quick to use and supposedly five instances more quickly than its predecessor. A 10.three-inch electronic instrument cluster is bundled at no added demand and you can even get evening eyesight.

Common protection tech contains automated emergency braking, rear cross-visitors notify, lane-preserving guide, blind-location monitoring and adaptive cruise management with halt-and-go capacity. Lively Driving Aid, generally adaptive cruise with lane centering, is accessible on Overland products and standard on the Summit trim. This fingers-on process is effective phenomenally, preserving the Jeep locked in its lane and adeptly different speed dependent on visitors situations. Capacitive sensors in the steering-wheel rim know if you’ve acquired a hand on the wheel or not, popping up an orange warning in the instrument cluster if you don’t have at minimum a couple fingers creating call. Using items a phase even more, Arms-Cost-free Lively Driving Aid will be offered in the 2022 model yr. This really should purpose like GM’s superb Tremendous Cruise process, offering fingers-no cost convenience on permitted motorways.

Along with a two-row variant, an electrified variation of the Grand Cherokee is less than improvement, far too. But for now, the Grand Cherokee L is offered with two pleasant and acquainted engines. If you are very well-versed in the Stellantis powertrain lineup, very little right here will surprise you. The base offering is a three.six-liter Pentastar V6. It provides a respectable 293 horsepower and 260 pound-ft of torque, adequate pork and beans to let this SUV to tow up to six,two hundred lbs. As easy and peaceful as ever, this bent-6 presents adequate oomph for most buyers in ordinary diving, even if it would not make the Grand Cherokee L truly feel specifically vigorous.

Both equally a three.six-liter V6 and 5.7-liter V8 are offered.


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Of class, if you will need far more gusto, a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is on the menu, far too. Easy, spirited and supremely sonorous, it presents a 357-horse stampede and 390 lb-ft of twist, adequate for this SUV to drag 7,two hundred lbs. If you don’t mind the added price tag — equally up entrance and at the fuel pump — this is the powerplant to get.

Rounding out the Grand Cherokee L’s drivetrain is a standard 8-speed automated transmission. Engineers have many years of working experience with this gearbox and its tuning is just about ideal. The transmission shifts immediately and seamlessly, furthermore it is really far more than eager to fall a several gears when you will need to boogie. Torque receives routed through this cog-swapper to either the rear wheels or one particular of a few various four-wheel-travel methods.

A V6-run Grand Cherokee L with rear-wheel travel is EPA-rated at 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. Blended, expect 21 mpg. Opting for four-wheel travel minimizes the first two figures by 1 mpg just about every, even though the put together rating is unchanged. Hemi-run Grand Cherokees, which arrive standard with four-wheel travel, are rated at 14 mpg city, 22 highway and 17 mpg put together.

Uconnect 5 seems fantastic on the optional 10.1-inch touchscreen.


Nick Miotke/Roadshow

This Jeep’s on-road performance is admirable. Acceleration is brisk, specially with the Hemi. And many thanks to a range of NVH improvements — items like acoustic glass, exclusive door seals and enhanced active sound cancellation — the Grand Cherokee L’s interior is generally serene. The accessible air suspension boosts dynamics and improves off-road performance by allowing the entire body to be elevated many inches. The vehicle’s experience high-quality is smooth, even when fitted with 21-inch clodhoppers that arrive in the $three,000 Summit Reserve Group options package deal, however entire body roll is minimal when pushed through corners. The steering is mild but moderately precise, which can make the Grand Cherokee L truly feel scaled-down than it in fact is.

Off road, this a few-row SUV is a Jeep through and through, an amazingly able mountain goat even with its cumbersome proportions. Thoroughly geared up products have up to 10.nine inches of floor clearance and can travel through an spectacular 24 inches of h2o. This SUV’s off-road geometry is praiseworthy, far too. Talking in maximum figures, the strategy angle is 30.1 degrees, breakover angle 22.six and its departure measurement clocks in at 23.six degrees.

Of the a few accessible four-wheel-travel methods, Quadra-Travel II is the most advanced. It contains a two-speed transfer circumstance and an electronically locking rear differential. If slippage is detected, this process can routinely redistribute torque to the wheels with far more traction. Quadra-Travel II is accessible on Overland products and standard on the Summit trim.

Yep, it is really a Jeep alright.


Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Crashing in excess of rocks on a specifically gnarly part of off-road class at Stellantis’ Chelsea, Michigan proving floor can make me recognize the accessible higher-energy metal skid plates, which protect fragile underbody componentry from rough terrain. Bashing into and scraping alongside boulders leads to me to wince in discomfort, even though the spotters under no circumstances bat an eye and neither does the Grand Cherokee L. Aiding tailor this SUV’s behavior to a variety of situations, the Selec-Terrain traction-administration process has five modes: automobile, activity, rock, snow and mud/sand. Hill-descent management routinely checks the Grand Cherokee L’s speed, even in reverse.

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is assembled in Detroit and goes on sale this thirty day period. It will be offered in four trim levels: Laredo, Confined, Overland and Summit. Of class, that’s just the start off right until there is a Trackhawk model or a plug-in hybrid variant or whatever else Jeep’s engineers might be cooking up.

An entry-degree, rear-wheel-travel Grand Cherokee L starts off at $38,690 together with $1,695 in shipping charges. Opt for four-wheel travel and you may be paying an extra $two,000. My V6-run Summit tester checks out for a hefty $66,275, a determine padded by the $1,995 Highly developed ProTech Group, the $245 Luxurious Tech Group, a shimmering Diamond Black Crystal Pearl-Coat paint work for $345 and, of class, the dear Summit Reserve package deal. That is a whole lot of difficult-earned scratch to spend, but many thanks to the Grand Cherokee L’s refinement, capacity and luxurious interior, that determine is not unreasonable, specially when compared to some of its luxury competition.

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