2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
MSRP: $38,635 As Tested: $63,915 (Overland 4×4)
Grand Cherokee is redesigned for 2021 – it’s first, full re-do in ten years. The latest edition makes its debut on a new, three-row, “L” model. A two-row version with the new design will follow in 2022. Grand Cherokee L is offered in six trim levels – Laredo, Altitude, Limited, Overland, Summit, and Summit Reserve. Starting prices range from an MSRP of $38,635 – $63,635. Rear-wheel drive is standard (on all but the Summit Reserve); three versions of Jeep’s Quadra-Drive AWD system are available optionally. My test driver was an Overland 4×4.
Engine choices for Grand Cherokee L carry over from the previous generation, and both are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Standard is a 3.6L V-6 making 293 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Towing capacity for the V-6 is rated at 6,200 lb., and EPA fuel economy estimates are 18/25/21 (4×4). Available is a 5.7L Hemi V-8. Rated at 357 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque, it has a maximum towing capacity of 7,200 lb. The EPA says you can expect an estimated 14/22/17 miles per gallon (4×4). My Overland tester was equipped with the six, and I logged 15 mpg’s during my week behind the wheel. The six feels well suited to the new L. But, the V-8 (which adds $3,295 to the bottom line) makes sense, if you want the added towing capacity, frequently have a full house on board, or just like the luxury of a comfortable excess of power. Looking further down the road, A plug-in hybrid version of Grand Cherokee is under development.
Large, with a long wheelbase, the Grand Cherokee L rides smoothly, as you would expect. The power steering cuts a nice balance, with sufficient heft for a stable feel on the highway, and sufficient boost to negotiate low speed, tight quarters situations. Vehicles this size are rarely called upon to do hardcore off-roading, but winter weather traction woes are something we all deal with, here in the northeast. With the choice of 4×4 systems and available air suspension, it’s safe to say you can equip this Jeep with more capability than you will ever need.
Inside, Grand Cherokee L offers standard, room for six in all six trim levels. Buyers can opt to swap the second-row captain’s chairs for a bench in row two ($695), boosting the cabin capacity to seven passengers. Adults fit in all rows, though youthful nimbleness is helpful when climbing in or out of the third row. Cargo capacity is 17.2 cu.-ft. behind row three, 46.9 cu,-ft. behind row two and 84.6 aft of the first row. Rear, ¾-blind spots are typical in big ‘Utes like this. Blind-spot monitoring is therefore helpful and is standard On Grand Cherokee L. The digital, rearview mirror is an interesting option. Standard on Summit Reserve, available on Summit and Overland), it lets you see what’s directly behind you, even when the rear window is blocked by passengers or cargo. Finally on visibility, the available, Surround View Camera system gives you a top-down view that takes a lot of the guesswork out of backing up. The Uconnect5 infotainment system has an 8.4″ display screen (10.1″ with Nav available). The system is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. For those shopping the Grand Cherokee L, I’d suggest looking at the Limited trim level, for the best balance of price (MSRP $46,340 – 4×4) and desirable features.
|A 40 year resident of the Capital District, Dan Lyons has been reviewing new cars for publications for nearly 30 years. He is the author of six automotive books and photographer of more than 200 calendars.|