It’s finally here: The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L brings a seven-passenger option
After more than a decade since the last major redesign, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee has finally debuted. More specifically, this is the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L, with that letter signaling this is the three-row version. FCA made good on its earlier plans to introduce a larger, more accommodating version of its iconic SUV. This is an all-new model, taking on fresh styling, a major interior overhaul and a sharp focus toward luxury while aiming to retain its reputation for off-road capability.
To be clear, here’s where the Grand Cherokee lineup currently stands. This three-row model will launch this summer, as a 2021 model. The current two-row model — the outgoing WK2 generation — is also available as a 2021 model. At this point, FCA did not officially announce when production would cease on the decade-long version, but did say a new two-row version (the “WL”, as the Grand Cherokee L is kicking off) will arrive later in 2021. Not only that, but a plug-in hybrid model is on its way as well.
Four trims and two engine options for the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L will be available at launch. The base Laredo starts the lineup off, followed by the Limited, Overland and Summit. A Summit Reserve package offers the most luxurious possible option, with leather, wood and a host of new technology on tap.
A fresh look, overhauled interior styling
The fifth-generation 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is an all-new design, riding on a substantially different platform to the aging WK2 model. At first glance, the design looks largely evolutionary. You’ll definitely recognize this as a Grand Cherokee, but FCA designers incorporated plenty of refinements the closer to look. Up front, the squared off front fascia and forward-tipped seven-slot grille strike a notable resemblance to the Grand Wagoneer Concept shown a few months ago. That follows through to the side profile, with a single strong character line running from each fender to the rear tailgate, as well as the chrome strip running from the mirrors along the roof, and under the tailgate glass.
Speaking of the tailgate, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L distinguishes itself with new, slim LED taillights. If you spec a version with air suspension, it can also lower itself for easier loading and unloading. The car itself also has a lower load height than the previous generation.
Upping the Grand Cherokee’s technology game
The exterior may be a bit underwhelming to some, but the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L has undergone a dramatic transformation with its interior. A new steering wheel, new center layout and nicer materials highlight the changes, but the technology is really where the new car leaps ahead of the old one. Jeep also has a tendency to place thoughtful Easter eggs in every one of their models, and the Grand Cherokee L isn’t an exception. On the sides of the dashboard as you enter the car, you’ll see “Since 1941” embedded into the trim accents — a nod to Jeep’s 80-year heritage.
On the technology front, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L comes with a standard 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster in front of the driver. Gone is the old mixture of analog gauges with a digital information center. In the center, a 10.1-inch infotainment display showcases the company’s new Uconnect 5 system. Bear in mind, though, that the larger screen is only available on the upper trims. Laredo models, for example, still get an 8.4-inch system — the same size as before. A six-speaker audio system comes standard, but a nine-speaker Alpine option is available above the base Laredo, and a 19-speaker McIntosh system is the most premium option on the Overland and Summit models.
Overall, the interior sports more thoughtfully laid out controls over the previous generation. Things like climate controls, heated and ventilated seats and the heated steering wheel are all clustered together. What’s more, they’re all physical buttons, meaning you don’t have to fumble through the infotainment system for those options. Below the climate controls, a rotary dial controls the 8-speed automatic transmission, while rocker switches control the available drive models and air suspension, if it’s equipped.
While the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L will be built at FCA’s recently expanded Mack Plant in Detroit, the car will carry forward familiar powertrains well-known to the Jeep faithful. That is, the ubiquitous 3.6-liter Pentastar will be the base engine. Here, it puts out 290 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque, both slightly less than the current two-row WK2. The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 also makes an appearance, making 357 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. Towing capacity is 6,200 pounds for the V6 Grand Cherokee L, and 7,200 pounds if you spec a V8.
Two four-wheel drive systems are available, depending on the model. Quadra-Trac I, the only option for the Laredo and Limited models, uses a single-speed transfer case with no low-range. These models also don’t get hill descent control, while the Laredo doesn’t get the Selec-Terrain drive modes either.
The Quadra-Trac II system features on the Overland and Summit, offering a low-range option for more off-road capability. On the Summit, you get an electronic limited-slip differential. There’s no full-on locker, as that’s a hallmark of the Trailhawk model (which FCA didn’t mention at this launch).
As before, you can equip the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L with air suspension. Doing that allows up to 10.9 inches of ground clearance, which is slightly better than before. It also allows up to 24 inches of water fording the Off-Road II setting.
No word on pricing yet
While we know the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L will go on sale this summer, FCA did not mention what it will cost yet. The company did mention the two-row version available later this year, as well as a 4xe plug-in hybrid.
Check out more in the video below!