2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
It was welcome news in January when Jeep announced that after 10 years, they were finally redesigning their best-selling Grand Cherokee. And that for the very first time, the Grand Cherokee would have a three-row version.
So recently, Jeep invited us out to their home in Detroit to drive the all-new three row Grand Cherokee L, the first of the new WL generation to launch.
But before we actually got to get behind the wheel, we toured Stellantis’ newly minted Detroit Assembly Complex Mack, which is where all new Grand Cherokee models will be built, including the upcoming two row and 4xe models. The company invested $1.6 billion dollars into this complex that once built the Dodge Viper in the early 90s before being turned into an engine plant. The Mack Plant is focused on addressing the quality issues the brand has faced, with plenty of robots and humans checking on progress every step of the way.
But, back to the good stuff. The 5th generation Grand Cherokee is built on an all-new unibody architecture with independent front and rear suspensions. It also gets a cleaner and more aerodynamic look.
While we are still waiting for the details of the two-row, the L has 7 more inches of wheelbase compared to the previous generation. And due to utilizing more aluminum parts, the L isn’t much heavier either but it did feel large when we took it out on the highway. It is still surprisingly nimble though thanks to the Quadra-Lift air suspension, which allows for up to 10.9-inches of ground clearance.
Other goodies include 18-inch wheels with optional 21s, an American flag on the front door badging, and standard LEDs all-around.
Powertrains are familiar with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 that outputs 290-horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque while the optional 5.7-liter V8 ups horsepower to 357 and torque to 390 lb-ft. Both are paired to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. Max towing capacity for the V8 is 7,200 lbs while the V6 can tow 6,200 lbs.
Inside is a pretty big leap into luxury and reminiscent of what we should see in the upcoming Wagoneers. The sloping center stack is elegant and simple while materials certainly feel and look higher in quality. The Uconnect 5 infotainment system is impressive and fast, with the ability to customize widgets on the 10-inch screen.
Navigation, off-road controls, and optional “Night Vision” translate seamlessly into the dash cluster. There are plenty of safety features and driver assistance systems too, including the hands-free Level 2 autonomous system Jeep plans to launch later this year.
There is room for either 6 or 7 passengers as “slide and tilt” bucket seats come standard for the 2nd row making the third row easily accessible and usable for adults. Plus car seats in the 2nd row don’t need to be removed in order access the third row either.
And while this Grand Cherokee is pretty refined inside and out, it’s still a Jeep which means it is packed with tons of off-road capability. Three 4x4 systems are available, each being equipped with an active transfer case to manage torque on and off-road.
We had the chance to test these off-road systems at Stellantis’s Chelsea Proving Grounds. Rock gardens were no match for the rear limited slip differential that easily supplied torque where it was needed.
Base Laredo pricing starts at $38,690 after destination fees and top of the line Summit Reserve can peak at over $65-grand.
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L should start arriving in dealerships at the end of June with the two-row and 4xe versions coming later this year.
We’ll have more on the 5th generation Grand Cherokee coming up soon, right here on MotorWeek!
- Engine: 3.6L V6 | 5.7L V8
- Horsepower: 290 | 357
- Torque: 260 lb-ft | 390 lb-ft
- Starting Price: $38,690