3 rows of comfort combined with terrain chops

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is the beginning of a new era with three lines for the Grand Cherokee model. Now in its fifth generation, Jeep gives buyers a two- or three-row version of the SUV to choose from that is the right size for their needs. Only the new three-row model is out this summer.

The full-size Grand Cherokee L from 2022 sits between the larger Wagoneer and the smaller, upcoming two-row Grand Cherokee, which offers buyers a true three-row alternative with the fuel efficiency of a medium-sized SUV.

This new Grand Cherokee L is 15 inches longer than today’s Grand Cherokee and has a wheelbase that is seven inches longer. Its design takes the best parts of the Wagoneer’s appearance and reduces them, giving an unmistakable Jeep vibe during the process.

At the forefront is a new version of the brand’s signature grill with seven doors, with active doors that hide behind what works to increase fuel economy. Narrow, standard LED headlights flank the grille while the SUV’s window line draws the gaze backwards in a continuous element through the rear blocks and to the standard LED taillights.

The back of the Jeep Grand Cherokee L has design tips from the upcoming Jeep Wagoneer.

The Grand Cherokee L looks long in the same way as the Dodge Durango does, but it has a robust stance that immediately wins the street cred like a Jeep. The tires are level with the sides of the body, which have a small lining.

Jeep gives the Grand Cherokee L Laredo, Limited, Overland and Summit classes a 3.6-liter V6 engine as standard. It achieves 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Selected versions of the Grand Cherokee L Overland and Summit are available with a 5.7-liter V8 that delivers 357 horsepower and 390 pounds of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard with both power plants.

As tested with the V6 driveline, the Grand Cherokee L Summit is eager to accelerate, but its transmission is not so important during heavy acceleration, hiccups and bumping into an acceptable gear.

The Grand Cherokee L comes standard with rear-wheel drive and is available with four-wheel drive. The model will be sold in Laredo, Limited, Overland and Summit trim levels. Depending on the equipment level, the SUV comes with either a Quadra-Trac 1, Quadra-Trac II or Quadra-Drive II rear electronic differential with limited slip. Quadra-Drive II is the most capable and what the tester was armed with.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L off-road driving
The Jeep Grand Cherokee L is just as capable off the beaten track as on.

The Grand Cherokee L has a maximum towing capacity of 7,200 pounds when properly equipped.

Jeep has equipped 4×4 models with a number of Selec-Terrain towing modes (Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow and Mud / Sand) that change driving dynamics, steering input, throttle response and vehicle height. The sport mode made these changes but only served to make the time in the car a more connected experience rather than a truly sporty driving.

On or off-road, the Grand Cherokee L remains firmly planted and is comfortable to tackle all obstacles from speed bumps and boulders to highways and country roads without passing as much body inclination towards passengers as the old version did thanks to its rigid architecture. The car is more comfortable around corners than its steering wheel lets into Auto mode, with generally too much play in the steering wheel to make driving at speed fun.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L tugboat
The SUV can pull up to 7,200 pounds when properly equipped.

During road tests, there seemed to be a disconnection between the chassis and the cabin. It’s like a mule, except in this case, all the shops are at the bottom while all the company is at the top, in the compartment. The two elements feel as if they are working independently of each other, even though both have the same goal in mind. Despite this, the 2021 Grand Cherokee L is worlds ahead where the latest generation Grand Cherokee and current Durango are in terms of handling and driving dynamics.

The champion of the Grand Cherokee L is the cabin. In the Summit class, the model’s style is as elegant as any premium vehicle on the market today and competes with some of the luxury SUVs in its price range. The design of the dashboard gives the cabin a feeling of spaciousness while the standard 8.4-inch or available 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen was easily within reach.

Jeep has installed the new infotainment system Uconnect 5 in Grand Cherokee L. It provides one of the best user experiences you will find on a dashboard today. What vehicle passengers see on the screen is almost completely customizable and is easy to navigate thanks to touch, swipe and touch commands that make the screen behave in the same way as an iPhone or iPad.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L interior
The interior of the Grand Cherokee L is nicely appointed in its highest equipment levels.

A 10.25-inch digital meter cluster sits in front of the driver with a clean display that is no problem to interpret when you are on the go. The available head-up display works as advertised and does not distract from the task.

Jeep compared the Acura MDX during the creation of the Grand Cherokee L and it is especially visible on the interior. High quality materials fill the cabin. Wood with open pores, leather in rich color schemes, styled frames and just the right amount of trim pieces make the Grand Cherokee L rise to a level of sophistication similar to that of the new Grand Wagoneer. Everything feels as good as it looks. The leather is flexible and the gearbox’s unique design, weight and tension-filled movement increase the level of sophistication.

McIntosh’s high-performance sound system delivers impressive, Volvo-competing sound quality throughout the cabin thanks to its 19 speakers and 950-watt amplifier. A sound system with six speakers is standard and an Alpine sound system with nine speakers is available in mid-range models.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L cargo space
There is more cargo space behind the third row of seats than you might expect.
Eileen Falkenberg-Hull / Stellantis

Jeep’s new SUV has room for six or seven passengers, depending on the trim level and the optional windows that are marked. With captain’s chairs in the second row and similar, joined versions of the seats in the third row, there is plenty of room for six adults. The Grand Cherokee L’s tapered roof is aerodynamically efficient but does not reduce the third row roof height or cargo space, with adults and teenagers over six feet tall who have no problem fitting in the back. Getting there is also easy with the other seats that offer 180 millimeters of travel back and forth.

There is more storage space behind the third row than you will find in many three-row SUVs that the Grand Cherokee L has as competitors. Storage of small items throughout the cabin is also well designed.

Jeep equipped the test model with its latest Level 2 practical advanced driver assistance system (ADAS). This system centers the vehicle in its lane while maintaining the function of the adaptive cruise control on the motorway. It’s very similar to Nissan’s ProPilot Assist.

The system is designed to work seamlessly with features that drivers are already accustomed to while adding a level of technology to help with safety. Jeep has really done its homework here and performed this system well. The vehicle moves easily in and out of the traffic on the highway and resumes speed quickly as it passes a slower vehicle.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L infotainment
The infotainment screen is placed at an angle that makes it easy to read on sunny days.

When you take your hands off the steering wheel, the system quite seamlessly begins a series of counts that are designed to get the driver’s attention and remind them to put their hands back on the steering wheel. The sensors work well and do not require the necessary winding steering maneuver that some German brands’ systems do to detect that the hands are back on the steering wheel.

When the system is disconnected, it does so with an acceptable warning and then quickly reconnects it whenever possible. These operations, even when they take place moments apart on the roadway, are part of a simple technology ballet.

Pricing for the Jeep Grand Cherokee L starts at $ 36,995 for the Laredo class. The Grand Cherokee L Limited costs from $ 43,995 and the Overland version has a starting price of $ 52,995. Choosing the Grand Cherokee L Summit will cost at least $ 56,995. Getting four-wheel drive instead of standard two-wheel drive adds $ 2,000 to each price point. Getting the larger V8 engine gives $ 3,295 available there. Supplements can push the price up to $ 65,290.

The trim levels for the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L that come to dealers first are a solid step into the premium vehicle category. They are competent off-roaders with enough technology to keep them modern with usability that is easily integrated into your lifestyle. With a comfortable and spacious cabin that is nicely furnished and unsurpassed off-road driving ability, the Grand Cherokee L in full size earns its price.

Leave a Comment