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.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic Once e-mail was adopted by my former employer, we were coached about malice software as early as the 90's. We called it "worms" back then.They were separating the computers that ran the power plants from the rest of the system in the early 00's. One plant supervisor loaded vacation pictures from a thumb drive on his work PC. His PC was immediately isolated and the supervisor in question was made an example of via a disciplinary notice. Word spread quickly!!Last I heard, they still had their own data center!! Cloud Computing, what's that?!?! 🚗🚗🚗
  • 3SpeedAutomatic At this time, GM had a "Me Too" attitude towards engine development:[list][*]the Euro luxury brands have diesels, so can we via an Olds V8[/*][*]variable value timing, welcome to the brave new world of Cadillac V8-6-4[/*][*]an aluminum block V8 engine via the HT4100, the go-go 80's[/*][*]double overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder, no sweat, just like the Asian brands via NorthStar. [/*][/list]When you mindset is iron block and cast iron heads, life if easy. However, each time, GM failed to understand the nuances; intricate differences; and technical difficulty in each new engine program. Each time, GM came away with egg on its face and its reputation in ruin.If you look today, the engines in most Cadillacs are the same as in many Chevrolets. 🚗🚗🚗
  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
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