The Jeep Grand Cherokee is without doubt one of the hottest SUVs out there at present, and for good cause. Not solely does it look nice, this rugged automobile gives immense off-road functionality, a coddling cabin and loads of refinement. Accordingly, at any time when Jeep redesigns this mountain goat, it is huge information. And for 2021, that is very true, because the newly minted Grand Cherokee L is pumped up in stature and now comes with a regular third-row seat.

The addition of that new bench permits the Grand Cherokee L to seat as much as seven folks (a six-passenger configuration is obtainable, too), enormously growing its versatility. And this third row is not just a few kids-only zone — life-sized adults match with loads of house for knees and noggins, and the underside cushion is an honest top above the ground. In fact, the second-row chairs are even nicer to plunk your bottom down on and the outboard ones tip up and slide for simpler entry to these rearmost seats.

To accommodate a 3rd row, the L is 15.1 inches longer than the outgoing commonplace Grand Cherokee and the wheelbase has been stretched by 7 inches, alterations that contribute to the automobile’s longroof look. Naturally, for those who do not want further seats or choose a extra manageable automobile, Jeep will supply a standard two-row model, nevertheless it will not arrive till later this yr.

It is debatable whether or not the brand new Grand Cherokee L is extra engaging than its predecessor. The L’s gaping decrease air consumption and curiously angled grille look unusual, particularly on a physique that is in any other case cleanly styled and good-looking. Matching these contemporary appears to be like, the 2021 Grand Cherokee L is constructed on a brand new versatile structure, a unibody construction comprised of greater than 60% high-strength metal, which supplies this off-roader an nearly unyielding spine. To cut back weight, the automobile’s closures, just like the hood and liftgate, are product of aluminum.

I am not completely offered on the Grand Cherokee L’s exterior styling, however designers knocked it out of the park with this Jeep’s inside. The structure, supplies, consolation and tech are all primo. The range-topping Summit mannequin comes with pretty Nappa leather-based or super-premium Palermo cow hides for those who nab the Summit Reserve bundle. You too can get lovely open-pore wooden accents and even Berber ground mats. A well-known rotary shifter is commonplace gear, although its steel building and artfully milled edges make this dial really feel like a chunk of knickknack. A suede-like headliner is obtainable, too, as is a 19-speaker McIntosh audio system. In higher-end fashions, this Jeep’s inside is luxury-car good, sufficient to provide autos just like the Acura MDX and Lincoln Aviator a run for his or her cash.

This inside rivals these of some luxurious vehicles.

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The Grand Cherokee L’s symmetrical dashboard arcs from door to door, bringing to thoughts a chicken’s outstretched wings. Within the center is both an 8.4- or 10.1-inch touchscreen, each of that are house to the Android-powered Uconnect 5 infotainment system. With fairly graphics and a great deal of performance, this multimedia array is simple to make use of and supposedly 5 instances quicker than its predecessor. A ten.3-inch digital instrument cluster is bundled at no further cost and you may even get evening imaginative and prescient.

Normal security tech consists of automated emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping help, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise management with stop-and-go functionality. Lively Driving Help, mainly adaptive cruise with lane centering, is out there on Overland fashions and commonplace on the Summit trim. This hands-on system works phenomenally, preserving the Jeep locked in its lane and adeptly various velocity primarily based on visitors circumstances. Capacitive sensors within the steering-wheel rim know for those who’ve bought a hand on the wheel or not, popping up an orange warning within the instrument cluster if you do not have a minimum of a pair fingers making contact. Taking issues a step additional, Palms-Free Lively Driving Help shall be supplied within the 2022 mannequin yr. This could perform like GM’s wonderful Tremendous Cruise system, offering hands-free comfort on authorized motorways.

Together with a two-row variant, an electrified model of the Grand Cherokee is beneath growth, too. However for now, the Grand Cherokee L is obtainable with two pleasant and acquainted engines. In case you’re well-versed within the Stellantis powertrain lineup, nothing right here will shock you. The bottom providing is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. It delivers a good 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, sufficient pork and beans to permit this SUV to tow as much as 6,200 kilos. As easy and quiet as ever, this bent-six gives sufficient oomph for many prospects in regular diving, even when it would not make the Grand Cherokee L really feel significantly vigorous.

Each a 3.6-liter V6 and 5.7-liter V8 are supplied.

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In fact, for those who want extra gusto, a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is on the menu, too. Clean, spirited and supremely sonorous, it gives a 357-horse stampede and 390 lb-ft of twist, sufficient for this SUV to pull 7,200 kilos. In case you do not thoughts the added value — each up entrance and on the fuel pump — that is the powerplant to get.

Rounding out the Grand Cherokee L’s drivetrain is a regular eight-speed automated transmission. Engineers have years of expertise with this gearbox and its tuning is nearly good. The transmission shifts rapidly and seamlessly, plus it is greater than prepared to drop a number of gears when you should boogie. Torque will get routed via this cog-swapper to both the rear wheels or one in every of three completely different four-wheel-drive methods.

A V6-powered Grand Cherokee L with rear-wheel drive is EPA-rated at 19 mpg metropolis and 26 mpg freeway. Mixed, count on 21 mpg. Choosing four-wheel drive reduces the primary two figures by 1 mpg every, although the mixed ranking is unchanged. Hemi-powered Grand Cherokees, which come commonplace with four-wheel drive, are rated at 14 mpg metropolis, 22 freeway and 17 mpg mixed.

Uconnect 5 appears to be like nice on the optionally available 10.1-inch touchscreen.

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This Jeep’s on-road efficiency is admirable. Acceleration is brisk, particularly with the Hemi. And due to a spread of NVH enhancements — issues like acoustic glass, particular door seals and enhanced energetic noise cancellation — the Grand Cherokee L’s inside is all the time serene. The out there air suspension enhances dynamics and improves off-road efficiency by permitting the physique to be raised a number of inches. The automobile’s experience high quality is delicate, even when fitted with 21-inch clodhoppers that come within the $3,000 Summit Reserve Group choices bundle, but physique roll is minimal when pushed via corners. The steering is gentle however fairly exact, which makes the Grand Cherokee L really feel smaller than it really is.

Off highway, this three-row SUV is a Jeep via and thru, an extremely succesful mountain goat regardless of its cumbersome dimensions. Correctly outfitted fashions have as much as 10.9 inches of floor clearance and might drive via a formidable 24 inches of water. This SUV’s off-road geometry is praiseworthy, too. Talking in most figures, the method angle is 30.1 levels, breakover angle 22.6 and its departure measurement clocks in at 23.6 levels.

Of the three out there four-wheel-drive methods, Quadra-Drive II is probably the most superior. It features a two-speed switch case and an electronically locking rear differential. If slippage is detected, this method can routinely redistribute torque to the wheels with extra traction. Quadra-Drive II is out there on Overland fashions and commonplace on the Summit trim.

Yep, it is a Jeep alright.

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Crashing over rocks on a very gnarly part of off-road course at Stellantis’ Chelsea, Michigan proving floor makes me recognize the out there high-strength metal skid plates, which defend delicate underbody componentry from tough terrain. Bashing into and scraping alongside boulders causes me to wince in ache, although the spotters by no means bat a watch and neither does the Grand Cherokee L. Serving to tailor this SUV’s conduct to numerous circumstances, the Selec-Terrain traction-management system has 5 modes: auto, sport, rock, snow and dust/sand. Hill-descent management routinely checks the Grand Cherokee L’s velocity, even in reverse.

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is assembled in Detroit and goes on sale this month. Will probably be supplied in 4 trim ranges: Laredo, Restricted, Overland and Summit. In fact, that is simply the beginning till there is a Trackhawk mannequin or a plug-in hybrid variant or no matter else Jeep’s engineers could also be cooking up.

An entry-level, rear-wheel-drive Grand Cherokee L begins at $38,690 together with $1,695 in supply charges. Go for four-wheel drive and you will be spending an extra $2,000. My V6-powered Summit tester checks out for a hefty $66,275, a determine padded by the $1,995 Superior ProTech Group, the $245 Luxurious Tech Group, a shimmering Diamond Black Crystal Pearl-Coat paint job for $345 and, in fact, the expensive Summit Reserve bundle. That is lots of hard-earned scratch to spend, however because of the Grand Cherokee L’s refinement, functionality and luxurious inside, that determine shouldn’t be unreasonable, particularly in comparison with a few of its luxurious competitors.

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