The Jeep Grand Cherokee just got grander.
Revealed for the USA, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L gets a new look inspired by the Grand Wagoneer and a seven-seat option for the first time.
It’ll touch down in Australia late this year, although local engines, prices, and specifications haven’t been locked in. The five-seat Grand Cherokee will be revealed late this year, along with an electrified 4xe variant.
“We will provide more information on the timing and specifications of the Grand Cherokee L for Australia closer to the local launch.”
The current Grand Cherokee was initially revealed in 2010 and was built on the bones of the Mercedes-Benz ML/GLE of the time, themselves an evolution of a platform debuted in the 2006 Mercedes-Benz ML.
To say it’s getting long in the tooth is an understatement, then. The new 2021 model is built on an all-new architecture, designed to be stiffer, lighter, and subsequently more efficient and safer than before.
Regardless of model, the cabin packs eight airbags. On the safety front, the following active driver assists will be offered in the new Grand Cherokee L:
- Autonomous emergency braking
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Lane-keeping assist
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Adaptive cruise control with highway steering assist
- Reversing camera
- Surround-view camera
High-spec models will support hands-free driving on the highway thanks to Fiat Chrysler’s latest Level 2 autonomous driver aids, although they won’t be available until late in 2021 or early in 2022.
The Grand Cherokee L rides on an adaptive air suspension that’s constantly adjusting to smooth out the ride. Jeep says it can quickly lower at both axles simultaneously, rather than having to creep down one axle at a time.
Jeep has always pitched the Grand Cherokee as an almost-premium SUV. It’s taken a number of measures to smooth out noise and vibrations, including active engine mounts that soften off at idle for better refinement, but stiffen up at speed to make sure the car feels stiff and the suspension can do its job.
There’s also active noise cancellation, double-sealed body joins and door seals, and acoustic glass to keep the outside, well, on the outside.
Power in the USA will come from a choice of two engines:
- A 3.6-litre petrol V6 with 216kW of power and 350Nm of torque
- A 5.7-litre petrol V8 with 266kW of power and 530Nm of torque
Braked towing capacity for the V6 is 2810kg, while the bigger V8 engine can haul 3265kg.
Both engines are mated to an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission, and both are all-wheel drive. To save fuel, the all-wheel drive system will automatically decouple the front axle when it’s not required.
The V8 also features cylinder deactivation, capable of turning it into a miserly (well, relatively) four-cylinder under light loads and constant throttle.
Inside, the new Grand Cherokee represents a giant leap forward from the current car. Central to the cabin is an 8.4- or 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system built on Google’s latest Android Automotive bones, and the driver is faced with a customisable 10.25-inch gauge cluster.
The system supports over-the-air updates to keep it fresh throughout its life, has 4G capability to create a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices, and packs wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Along with wireless charging up front, there are a total of 12 USB-A and USB-C ports so all five, six, or seven passengers can stay charged on the go.
Jeep will use the Grand Cherokee L to debut its rear-seat monitoring camera, which allows the driver to zoom in through the central touchscreen on each seat and see what’s happening, including checking on rear-facing child seats.
The Grand Cherokee L will also debut a digital rear-view mirror and a head-up display for Jeep.
Like the Grand Wagoneer, the Grand Cherokee will be available with a McIntosh premium sound system packing 19 speakers.
It’s not all about high-end sizzle inside. With wider-opening doors and a 3091mm wheelbase, Jeep says the new car is easier to get into/out of and more spacious once you’re inside.
A six-seat interior with individual rear bucket seats is standard, meaning owners can install two child seats and still walk through to access the third-row. A seven-seat cabin with a three-seat second row is optional.
The Grand Cherokee is comfortably Jeep’s best-selling vehicle in Australia, with 2870 sold in 2020. The brand’s second-best seller, the Wrangler, found 1175 homes.
Local dealers have already had a look at the car in clay model form, highlighting its importance locally.