We have known for some time now that the next generation of the Jeep Grand Cherokee would gain a third row. Last week, Jeep introduced the next generation SUV with three rows and the Trail Rated brand went with the simple name “Grand Cherokee L”.
This is just the first step of the next generation rollout, with the traditional two-row and 4xe hybrid versions scheduled to arrive later this year, but based on what we have seen so far, the most awarded SUV ever is going to add a few more to its resume.
This 2021 Jeep relies on two returning engines and familiar four-wheel-drive systems, but every other aspect of the next generation Grand Cherokee is new and the result is one gorgeous, luxurious SUV. It features a bolder exterior design and an interior that is not only roomier, but it is packed with loads of luxury, making it a worthy competitor for the most expensive SUVs on the market.
When the Grand Cherokee L arrives in dealerships later this year, it will be offered in Laredo, Limited, Overland, Summit and Summit Reserve trim. The gray Jeep shown here is a Summit Reserve model while the red Grand Cherokee L is an Overland model.
Legendary Drivetrain Components
When the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L goes on sale later this year, it will be offered with two engine options. The standard engine for all models is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 290 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission and the buyer’s choice of rear- or four-wheel-drive. Overland and Summit (including Summit Reserve) models can be equipped with the 5.7-liter Hemi with 357 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. The Hemi also comes with an 8-speed automatic, but you can only get the V8 with four-wheel-drive.
The majority of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee L models will be four-wheel-drive and buyers will enjoy one of three advanced drive systems. Laredo and Limited models come with the Quadra-Trac I full-time, single-speed four-wheel-drive system. The Overland comes with the Quadra-Trac II active four-wheel-drive system with a two-speed transfer case and Hill Descent Control.
Finally, the premium four-wheel-drive system in the new Grand Cherokee L is the Quadra-Drive II system, optional on Overland and standard on all Summit models. All of these four-wheel-drive systems come with the Selec-Terrain traction management system and the Quadra-Lift air suspension is optional as well.
The curb weight of the 2021 Grand Cherokee L starts around 4,600 pounds for a rear-drive V6 models while the 4×4 Hemi models tip the scale just above 5,300 pounds. The current Jeep Grand Cherokee with four-wheel-drive and the Hemi weighs around 5,000 pounds, so the extra space and seats add around 300 pounds.
Grand Cherokee’s New Face
The most talked-about aspect of the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is the third row of seats, but that is really one of the least significant aspects of the vehicle. Sure, it is a big deal to be able to comfortably seat seven adults, but this new Jeep doesn’t just carry more people. To accommodate the extra room, the body had to grow and it did so by a pretty significant margin. The Grand Cherokee L has a wheelbase of 121.7 inches and an overall length of 204.9 inches, making it seven inches longer between the axles and roughly 15 inches longer overall when comparted to the current two-row Grand Cherokee.
Rather than just stretching the current body and calling it a day, the Jeep team created an entirely new body, starting with an front end that is very different from the current design. While the seven slot grille is in place, the 2021 Grand Cherokee L front end has far more upright, as is the entire vehicle. Really, it looks a great deal like the body-on-frame Grand Wagoneer Concept that debuted last year, but the Grand Cherokee L is a smaller unibody vehicle.
In addition to the reshaped body, the new Grand Cherokee L features an array of LED lighting front and rear. The headlights couple LED driving lights with LED projection, which presents a very premium look, but with the large openings in the lower front fascia, it has a sporty look as well.
Finally, the 2021 Grand Cherokee L is offered with an array of wheel choices. Laredo and Limited models come with 18-inch wheels, but Limited buyers can opt for 20-inc rollers. The Overland comes with standard 20-inch wheels, but there is also an optional 20-inch wheel in a different color and a unique 18-inch wheel that comes with the off-road package. The Summit models come with 20-inch wheels and the Summit Reserve comes with the 21-inch wheels shown on the gray SUV here.
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L looks great on the outside, but the cabin is where you really get hit hard with the “wow factor”. The cabin is bigger, with a third row of seats leading to space for up to seven people, but the new Grand Cherokee L is substantially more luxurious across the entire model line.
First and foremost, the new 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster is standard on all models, with controls on the steering wheel allowing the driver to make adjustments to the information on display. Next, all of the 2021 Grand Cherokee L models come with a 10.1-inch infotainment system running the new UConnect 5 software.
In Laredo, Limited and Overland models, the standard 10.1-inch display has 8.4-inches of touchscreen while the Summit models comes standard with a full 10.1-inch touchscreen. The biggest touchscreen system is also optional on Limited and Overland models, so the odds are good that many of the new Grand Cherokees will have this big, gorgeous screen system.
That screen controls just about every function of the vehicle, but just below is it a panel of traditional buttons and knobs to control the climate and sound system. As you travel further down the center stack, you run into a panel that has the gear shift knob and switches for the drive modes, adjustable air suspension, Hill Descent and Four-Low. Around the gloss black center stack is a leather-heavy dashboard which includes real wood trim on Summit models. The Summit models have open-pore Absolute Oak trim and the Summit Reserve features open-pore Waxed Walnut.
Speaking of the sound system, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland and Summit models can be equipped with the first-ever application of a McIntosh premium speaking system in a vehicle. With 19 speakers and 950 watts of sound, this Jeep is likely to offer an unrivaled auditory experience.
In addition to having more seats, the 2021 Grand Cherokee L has new, more luxurious seats from front to rear. Overland and Summit models are available with 16-way power adjustability with memory and lumbar support. Massaging seat backs are standard on Summit models and optional on Overland. Heated first- and second-row seats and ventilated front seats are standard on Limited, Overland and Summit models, with Summit Reserve models sporting standard second-row ventilated seats.
Finally, the Summit Reserve package brings in a full spread of luxury goodness. Features of this range-topping layout include hand-wrapped, quilted Palermo leather, ventilated front and second-row seats, massaging front seats, the choice of the new Tupelo interior color, genuine open-pore Waxed Walnut wood and premium, suede-like fabric on the A-pillars and headliner.
We don’t have pricing for any 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L models, but when it goes on sale later this year, it will raise the bar for American SUVs.