2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Review +VIDEO By Larry Nutson
Now with more seats
By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
THE AUTO CHANNEL
Jeep has not been a player for quite some time in offering a 3-row utility vehicle. Yes, this is somewhat curious considering that 70-percent of sales in the midsize utility vehicle segment are 3-row models. However, that just changed!
The Jeep brand is celebrating 80 years of technological innovation and 4x4 leadership and has recently introduced the all-new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L – a premium utility vehicle, which for the first time in the vehicle’s history, now offers three rows of seats.
At a recent in-person product presentation hosted by the Midwest Automotive Media Association, Scott Tallon, Director, Jeep Brand Product Marketing – North America provide a complete overview of the all-new 2021 Grand Cherokee L. Not long thereafter I spent a week enjoying this new model from Jeep.
The Grand Cherokee L rides on all-new unibody architecture that is stiffer through the use of more high strength steel and uses more aluminum components for weight saving. The new “L” is 15 inches longer than the 2-row Grand Cherokee that’s been around for a while and will continue. Both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive are offered.
Three all-wheel drive systems are offered, depending on model: the Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II with rear electronic limited-slip differential. Independent front and rear suspension with available Quadra-Lift air suspension that raises the vehicle about 4.2 inches along with adaptive damping provide a nice balance in on-road driving comfort and off-road capability.
The front end design features a new, forward-tipped seven-slot grille and an aggressive front approach angle. The side profile is very traditional Jeep with somewhat squared, trapezoidal wheel arches. A bright trim piece begins at the A-pillar, runs along the top of the greenhouse, wraps across the rear hatch and returns to the opposite A-pillar. Sleek and narrow taillights bring up the rear.
The Grand Cherokee L follows the same trim offerings as the Grand Cherokee, namely Laredo, Limited, Overland and Summit. Similarly, standard is a 283-hp 3.6-L V-6 with a torque rating of 260 lb-ft. Optional on the Overland 4X4 and Summit 4X4 is a 357-hp 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 with 390 lbs.-ft. of torque. Both engines are coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
EPA fuel economy ratings are 19 city mpg and 26 highway mpg for V6 4X2 models. The V6 4X4 models are rated one mpg less in each. V8 powered models are rated 14 city mpg and 22 highway mpg.
For my drive experience I drove a V6 powered Summit Reserve 4X4.
The Laredo model has a starting U.S. MSRP of $36,995. Limited is priced at $43,995, Overland at $52,995 and Summit at $56,995. Destination charge is an additional $1,695. Add $2,000 for 4X4.
All trims come standard with six-passenger seating equipped with manual-folding “tip and slide” second-row bucket seats and a 50/50 split-folding third row seat. An optional second-row bench is available for $695 for seating for seven.
The Summit Reserve I drove really wowed me especially when I opened the door to climb in behind the wheel. With a starting U.S. MSRP of $61,995, it sets the benchmark for luxury with its hand-wrapped, quilted Palermo leather, open-pore Waxed Walnut wood, ventilated second-row seats, 21-inch wheels and standard premium amenities, including a premium 950-watt, 19-speaker McIntosh audio sound system.
The center console curves graciously around the driver and front passenger. There’s easy access to knobs and switches and the well positioned touch screen.
The Grand Cherokee L is equipped with more than 110 advanced safety and security features, including L2 driver-assist systems with hands-on automated driving, along with 360-degree surround view and night vision cameras. Jeep says advanced hands-free L2 automated driving system will be available in late 2021 on the 2022 Grand Cherokee L.
Technologies include the most advanced Uconnect system ever with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, windshield Head-up Display (HUD), digital rearview mirror, frameless digital cluster, rear seat monitoring camera and an exclusive and premium 950-watt, 19-speaker McIntosh audio system.
This is McIntosh Labs’ debut appearance in a vehicle. Favored by the ultimate in audiophiles for home audio systems McIntosh Laboratories luxury reference audio system is now making themselves better known. The sound from the nineteen speakers is wonderful.
The Summit Reserve I drove delivered a good overall balance of refined performance and premium comfort. Although 204.9 inches long it drives as if smaller. The V6 worked well around the relatively flat Chicago terrain. Routine mountainous driving or trailer towing might call for V8 power. Trailer tow rating is 6,200 lbs. for the V6 and 7,200 lbs. for the V8.
There’s 17.2 cu.ft. of cargo space behind the third row. Fold it down and you get 46.9 cu.ft. Fold both seat rows and 84.6 cu.ft. are yours to fill.
More information and details on the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L can be found at www.jeep.com.
The Jeep Wave customer service program is available to the entire Jeep brand lineup, including all trims on the all-new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L. The premium owner loyalty program is filled with benefits and exclusive perks, including: Three years of worry-free maintenance at Jeep dealerships; 24/7 support via phone or online chat; Vehicle protection including 24/7 roadside assistance and first-day loaner coverage; and, VIP access to select, exclusive Jeep brand events.