Is the Jeep Grand Cherokee L still as dirt-worthy as its two-row sibling?
The brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee L pushes the 28-year-old nameplate to new physical limits — literally. This WL generation brings in the first three-row variant of what is often the brand’s second best-selling model. As the family crossover market heats up, dominated by the likes of the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and so many others, Jeep made the calculated decision to get in on the ferocious action in a bit to expand the Grand Cherokee’s appeal. In this video, Tommy takes the a well-equipped version of the latest three-row WL out onto the trails to see whether the L functions not just as a family SUV, but as a faithful representation of the brand’s off-road reputation.
To that end, this Grand Cherokee L does have a few helpful bits to aid in that endeavor. You can get air suspension, and the Off-Road Group which adds in beefier tires, as well as an electronic limited-slip rear differential and more skid plates.
In the air suspension’s highest off-road position, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L packs an impressive 10.9 inches of ground clearance, while the low-range available as part of the Quadra-Trac II (standard on Overland) or Quadra-Drive II (part of the Off-Road Group on Overland, standard on Summit models) 4WD systems helps low-speed off-road capability. If you do spring for the Overland with air suspension, you’ll get 30.1 degrees of approach angle in the most appropriate off-road setting. Couple that with a 22.6 degree breakover angle and 23.6 degree departure angle, and the numbers at least make it a solid contender should you need a three-row SUV that can handle the dirt.
Engine options and pricing
While the styling, features and interior materials are new to the Jeep Grand Cherokee WL, the two familiar engines carry over from the previous generation. That includes the ubiquitous 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 293 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, as well as the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 pumping out 357 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. As before, both models mate up to the TorqueFlite 8HP70 8-speed automatic transmission.
Pricing for the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L kicks off at $38,690 for the rear-wheel drive model. Make your way up through the Altitude, Limited and Overland models, and you’ll eventually arrive at the higher-end Summit trims. The fully-loaded Summit Reserve tops out the three-row Grand Cherokee’s range. If you are shopping at this end of the lineup, you’ll ultimately pay $25,000 more than the base Laredo, as pricing stops at $63,690, at least before you add on even more options.
Check out the video below to see how the long-wheelbase Grand Cherokee L actually handles the dirt: