2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee: L is for Large

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is full-sized luxo SUVing at its best, loaded with as many features as this class will allow, plus for the first time, three-row seating.

Not over the limit for its weight class but big-boned like your grandmother, three 4X4 systems and Select-Terrain traction management mean the Grand Cherokee L will clear most obstacles and ford streams better than its predecessors.

Independent front and rear suspensions are nothing new, but for the first time on the Grand Cherokee L, the front axle is bolted directly to either the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, rated at 290 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque, or the optional 5.7 liter V8, rated at 357 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. Better management of noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) and superior driving dynamics are achieved with this setup, along with engine mounts that absorb more vibration and motion when at idle but stiffen at higher speeds to optimize ride glide.

A 36mm increase gives the Grand Cherokee L a wider, more confident stance. The wheel flares are tightened around the tire to strengthen the designers’ vision, something that might need to be replaced if you actually wheel this rig. The tires are flush with the body side to showcase its wheel arches and, for the first time on a Grand Cherokee, 21-inch wheels come standard with the Summit Reserve Package, a fine way to achieve mall crawler status but questionable off-road.

In case you were wondering, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L’s new unibody design received a plethora of upgrades to optimize ride and handling while reducing road noise, improving fuel economy, and cutting weight.

You have to shed tonnage somewhere if you want to use wood, leather, and metal to achieve what their designers are calling a visual masterpiece. The center stack, which was a console for most of its life, is now reconfigured to be more accessible to the driver. I’m guessing it’s the size of the stack that counts, and here the Grand Cherokee L doesn’t disappoint, with plenty of room for a next-gen 10.1-inch display for the Uconnect 5 system. Also new is a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster with two dozen different menus from which the user can select, none of which should be selectable while driving, even though the Grand Cherokee L’s multifunction steering wheel with paddle shifters.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L arrives in Jeep dealerships in the second quarter of 2021. A new Jeep Grand Cherokee two-row and its 4xe-electrified version are scheduled to debut later in 2021. No idea where this luxury liner will pencil out at, but be sure to bring plenty of cryptocurrency.

[Images: FCA]

Jason R. Sakurai
Jason R. Sakurai

With a father who owned a dealership, I literally grew up in the business. After college, I worked for GM, Nissan and Mazda, writing articles for automotive enthusiast magazines as a side gig. I discovered you could make a living selling ad space at Four Wheeler magazine, before I moved on to selling TV for the National Hot Rod Association. After that, I started Roadhouse, a marketing, advertising and PR firm dedicated to the automotive, outdoor/apparel, and entertainment industries. Through the years, I continued writing, shooting, and editing. It keep things interesting.

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  • USluxuryman USluxuryman on Jan 11, 2021

    The 5.7L Hemi V-8 gets 375 HP, not 357! Get an Editor.

  • NoID NoID on Jan 11, 2021

    I wonder if this platform will underpin the next-gen Durango, same as the current-gen is built off the WK platform. It's been a long time coming for Jeep. Chrysler/FCA has always been a little bit weird about not filling obvious holes in its lineup (they went forever without a proper crew cab pickup) and this plugs an obvious one for an SUV brand such as Jeep.

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