2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L adds third row, attempts to go upscale
Since its inception in 1993, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been a successful player in the mainstream mid-size SUV segment, even though their original pitch about chasing Range Rovers was absolute nonsense. It’s gone through four generations since then (we owned a second-gen model). For 2021, Jeep has taken the covers off an all-new 2021 Grand Cherokee L three-row model, that will be sold alongside the existing 5-seater Grand Cherokee that will get the replacement later in the year.
Drawing from the lines of the two-row model, the Grand Cherokee L’s design takes inspiration from the recent near-production “concept” of the Grand Wagoneer. The nose looks like that of the decade-old Dodge Durango, with just the seven-slot grille added, flanked by slimmer LED headlights. From the sides, the Grand Cherokee L is unmistakably longer. The large 21-inch wheels give it a strong stance. At the rear, slim taillights creep into the hatch door but does not form a light bar like on the Durango.
The biggest change is of course the additional third row. To accommodate this bench, the Grand Cherokee L has grown quite a bit over the two-row model. The wheelbase is now 3091 mm, longer by 175 mm. The track is also longer by 35.6 mm.
The third row is not the only change side. The Grand Cherokee L gets a completely new interior, with more wood and metal that’s probably is reserved for the top trims only. There is a new 10.1-inch touchscreen for the latest Uconnect 5 infotainment system. It also gets wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is hooked up to an optional high-performance audio system with no less than 19-speakers. Another large screen, a 10.3-inch unit, acts as the driver information system. The front seats are 16-way power-adjustable, heated, ventilated, and also get a massage function. In a new-for-2021 top trim, Summit Reserve, even the second row can be had with heating and ventilation.
Though the body has completely changed, the 2021 Grand Cherokee L has the same heart as the two-row model. The aging 3.6-litre V6 gets carried over from last year, with 290 hp and 348 Nm. The ancient 5.7-litre Hemi V8 also makes an appearance, producing 357 hp and 528 Nm. Both the mills are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel-drive is standard while three different 4X4 systems are offered. Indeed, Jeep claims the fancy new limo can still off-road.
The Grand Cherokee L gets three different 4X4 systems: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, with single and two-speed transfer cases respectively, and Quadra-Drive II with an electronic limited-slip differential at the rear as well as a two-speed transfer case. The Quadra-Lift adaptive air suspension is also carried over from 2020, allowing the SUV to choose between five different firmness settings as per the conditions. Through these settings, the ground clearance varies from 165 mm to 277 mm. To increase its off-road skills even more there are five terrain modes, including auto, sport, rock, snow, and mud/sand. If even these don’t get you satisfied, you can opt for an off-road package on the Overland trim, earning the Grand Cherokee Jeep’s coveted Trail Rated” badge. This package adds skid plates, electronic limited-slip differential, and 18-inch aluminium wheels shod with all-season tyres.
Jeep has not spoken about the official prices of the Jeep Grand Cherokee L yet. The extended-wheelbase mid-size SUV is expected to hit showroom floors by late 2021 in the UAE, KSA and other GCC countries.