There are few things in this world better (and more American) than a road trip with your good friends. I’m sure all of you – as car people – can at least somewhat agree with that opinion.
I’m here to tell you that there are few vehicles that handle a road trip better than the Jeep Grand Cherokee L. There’s only one real problem: you can’t park it anywhere.
I’ll get to that later, but first, let me tell you what I did with this beast of a vehicle over the weekend. I decided to take one of the largest vehicles Stellantis makes on a road trip to the three largest cities on the East Coast.
I started in New York City with my roommate and friend Sarah. We then crossed down the New Jersey Turnpike (the best road in America) to pick up our friend Kelly in Philadelphia. From there we all drove to Washington, DC to visit my girlfriend Kara and her cat Clio. We spent the weekend enjoying ourselves at some of DC’s finest restaurants and checking out the Cherry blossoms. It was an amazing time. I recommend getting a significant other and good friends.
(Full information: Stellantis gave me a fully loaded Jeep Grand Cherokee L and a full tank of gas to use at my discretion over the weekend. Thank god for that tank of gas because otherwise I would have spent a paycheck filling up.)
Here’s the thing about the Grand Cherokee L – it makes you feel like you’re the most important person on the road at any given moment. Maybe it’s because the car exudes Americanness, as we are the most important country according to ourselves. The GC L is American luxury done right, and is honestly the closest thing we have to a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham that we have for sale today – and I mean in a very good way.
The first time I saw my velvet red pearl coat Grand Cherokee L, my first thought was the meme “damn looks badass, doesn’t it.” It actually does. You can say what you want about the size, but the fact is Jeep knows how to design a truck. It really just looks great. It has a slightly masculine flare from the front which really just speaks to me. Although the wheel design is busy, it just looks so exclusive. It has just the right amount of chrome to look distinctly American, but doesn’t screaming.
Distinctly American is certainly a recurring theme on the GC L. It’s luxuriously done the American way – big, comfortable and who cares about fuel economy or where to park it. It’s impressive and has a real road presence that you don’t get in many other cars.
Hitting the road makes you feel like a king – a king with a built-in back massager and three-stage heated and cooled seats covered in the finest leather a cow could hope to die for.
The Americanness continues once you’re inside the Grand Cherokee L, with just the right amount of plastic chrome to make any of us feel right at home in it.
Fine leather and contrast stitching continue all the way – your scruffy kids will love it. And so did my friends. They are a more discreet bunch than I am, but even they could see and feel how nice the Grand Cherokee L is to look at and be inside.
Add to that – there are tons of Inside. Being an American car, it’s made for us big-legged Americans. 6’1″ of my body could sit comfortably behind well, myself, in both the second and third rows. That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how long it is. No – it’s not as long as a Tahoe, but it makes better use of the space.I can’t fit in the third row of one of those, but in this one – it was no problem at all.
The “fuck yeah, America” theme also continues under the hood. However, not in my particular test car.
There are currently two engines available for the Grand Cherokee L – the 290-horsepower Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 and a 375-horsepower Hemi 5.7-liter V8. There’s no reason to get the V8, as the V6 makes more than enough power for whatever you need to do with it, but you should still get the V8. It almost certainly suits the character of this car better.
Sure, you’ll get damn bad gas mileage, but who really cares? It will sound amazing.
Underneath is Jeep’s Quadra-Trac II 4×4 system with multiple modes depending on the terrain. Granted, I didn’t take this truck off-road or really encounter bad weather, but based on my past experiences with Jeeps, I’m sure it will hold its own off the beaten path.
Do you know what many people see when they think of Americans? Laziness. And Jeep clearly felt that way too – because they have just about the best driver assistance and safety suite I’ve ever used. If you want to get really lazy behind the wheel, turn on radar cruise and lane keeping, put one finger on the wheel and let Papa Stellantis do the rest.
As I said before, this is one big girl – and that means finding parking can be a real drag. Luckily, Jeep thought of that. The surround-view 360 camera makes it easy to park even in the most crowded city center. Hell, you can even press a button and it will park for you. God bless America.
There’s not much I don’t like about the Grand Cherokee L, but no car is perfect, so we’ll have to look into some of the issues I have.
I had a few issues with the technology – especially screen lag. A couple of times the center screen remains blank on startup. I have to turn the car off and on again. Eventually it started working. Look, if I’m tired, I can’t really blame the car for being tired too.
I also had a one time issue with the navigation screen showing up in the gauge cluster. This problem—of course—happened once I really didn’t know where I was going in Georgetown. During my entire 30-minute drive, the gauge cluster just read “Navigation Data Loading” or something similar. Like I said, this only happened once – but it really upset me.
I had a couple issues with trim coming loose on the steering wheel…on a truck with less than 4,000 miles. But what can you do? It clearly wanted to manifest destiny away from the wheel.
My last niggle is similar to one I had with the Mazda CX-50. The material where your knee rests is hard plastic. Automakers, I beg you, please just put some soft padding in there. It’s not such a big issue.
So, what have we learned about the Grand Cherokee L?
Well, first of all, this baby was meant to cruise down the highway with as much crap and people as you can fit inside in absolute American comfort.
At over $67,000 as tested, it’s not cheap, but there’s some good American value baked in. Upload one of the Germans like this and you’ll hit 100k. So, should you buy one?
Well, my main problem with the Grand Cherokee L is that it doesn’t do any better than a Chrysler Pacifica. So I’ll leave you with this – if you’re in the market for a Jeep Grand Cherokee L, buy a Chrysler Pacifica instead. I know you probably won’t, and honestly, I don’t think I would either.
And what’s more American than to forego one good idea for the cooler?
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve 4×4 Specifications
Regular unleaded V-6