Pushed! The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L 3-row SUV
“Respect the Great and win all seven slots.” That was the task given to the development team for the fifth-generation Grand Cherokee lineup (code name: WL), which includes this 2021 three-row Grand Cherokee L and its two-row sibling arriving for 2022. The directive is Jeep-speak for “keep it comfortable and stylish, but make sure it goes wherever its predecessors ZJ, WJ, and WK could.” We just spent a day driving four variations of the L, cruising interstate highways, crisscrossing winding roads, towing 7,200 pounds, and climbing rocky trails. It’s time for the bulletin.
Does the Grand Cherokee L earn its all-terrain seven-slot grille?
Yes, and frankly, Jeep’s off-road capability is what the three-row midsize class currently lacks. A properly equipped 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland will surely rank as the most capable mainstream mid-size three-row SUV offering, featuring a state-of-the-art low-end 4×4 shooting system, screens that monitor pitch and roll angles, and a surveillance camera to provide a view of what’s just above the hill you are driving over, as well as directions for indicating where the tires are heading.
On paper, the ground clearance is about the same as that of the previous two-row Grand Cherokee, with the new L trailing only slightly in the approach, breakout, and departure angles. With the standard steel suspension, these measurements drop 5.6, 0.8, and 2.5 degrees, but an airy Overland on its toes on tiptoes reduces these angles to +0.3, -0 differences. , 2 and -3.5 degrees.
All three available transfer cases use active front-to-rear torque distribution with front axle disconnect for improved fuel economy. The switch to Limited 4×4 adds the Selec-Terrain system, which has five modes to adapt various functions to different conditions (auto, sport, rock, snow, mud / sand). The Overland gets the Quadra-Trac II as standard, which adds low range and 2.72: 1 hill control and Quadra-Lift air suspension for 4.2-inch height adjustment. More serious brushcutters will add the All-Terrain Package to get 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, skid plates and Quadra-Drive II, which adds an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential (Summit models also get Quadra-Drive II, but with fewer wheel and tire sets optimal for 20- or 21-inch off-roading).
With the help of many observers, we walked through piles of logs and an aggressive rock pile that most civilians would never attempt in a $ 60,000 SUV, using the skid plates extensively. We also went through a frame torsion field that placed diagonally opposed wheels at a height difference of 24 inches. Articulation and traction were impressive, especially considering the unaggressive tread of the Michelin Primacy XC All-Season tires. A future Trailhawk model could do with knottier tires, more skosh ground clearance, and a lower (numerically higher) crawl ratio, as the Overland Off-Road Pack’s 44.2: 1 ratio often required so much action. accelerator in certain situations that when a tire finally overcame an obstacle it was necessary to immediately jump on the brakes.
How big is the newest Cherokee?
The Summit Reserve top shelf aspires to Bentley-level grandeur with diamond stitching on the door panels and bolsters and its perforated Palermo leather seats, waxed walnut wood veneers on the dashboard and panels door, and a 950-over-the-top McIntosh sound system with 17 channels and 19 speakers. And of course it falls short of the Bentley benchmark with middle row seats that have to – sigh – be manually folded down and slid to access the third row and in the quality of some low-grade plastic materials on the board. panel and door panels, but remember that this model tops out at less than $ 70,000.
We spent most of our driving time in the base Laredo model, which opens at $ 38,690 with rear-wheel drive or $ 40,690 with all-wheel drive, having climbed straight up from an example of its three-row sibling. Dodge, the Durango GT ($ 40,795 to start). The much newer Jeep instantly emerged as the quieter, smoother and more refined of the two. Yes, the top surface of the dashboard is a soft-touch molded material, like in the Dodge, and the fabric seats whisper “Emerald upgrade at the rental counter,” but there are cut and sewn trim on the top. instrument panel and armrests, and the content of standard features is quite large: 10.1-inch fully digital and reconfigurable instrument panel, adaptive cruise control with lane assist and crash brake assist with pedestrian detection. The standard 8.4-inch infotainment screen gets a large black frame to remind you of the available 10.1-inch upgrade, and its pixel density is about half that of the larger display, but it has always looks bright and crisp and displays lots of information.
The 32.6 cubic feet of third row space in the third row sits near the bottom of the three-row midsize class, below the Nissan Pathfinder (33.7) and above the GMC Acadia (32, 6), Toyota Highlander (30.4) and Mazda CX-9 (29.9), but this measurement is taken with the sliding seats in the middle row aft of their 7 inches of travel. The seat feels very spacious when the middle row is moved to give a few inches back.
The mid-trim levels Limited, Overland and Summit each increase the swell, upgrading the Laredo’s cloth seats with first Capri leather, then Nappa leather and finally Palermo leather, and troweling luxury elements such as as motors to operate the tailgate and third row, an Alpine mid-size nine-speaker 506-watt audio system, and more. Suffice it to say that this Jeep, like most Ram pickups, continues to rank Stellantis as the Audi of mainstream vehicle interior design.
How is the ride and handling at-Road?
All grown up. Compared to the old two-row model, the L is 15.1 inches longer and about 13% taller on the outside, and yet Jeep has managed to keep the curb weights at one percent of each other. while increasing torsional stiffness by 13%. and bending stiffness of 18 percent. This rigid chainstay supports a new three-link virtual steering axle front suspension, as well as a re-tuned multi-link rear setup. The package feels more sophisticated and delivers on Jeep’s promise of “glide” through the corners with remarkably flat balance and minimal tire squeal, even on the 18-inch Michelin Primacy XC shoes optimized for all-terrain on the models. Laredo.
Ride quality is excellent on steel springs and 18-inch tires. Standard air suspension on Overland and Summit models adds adaptive damping this year, further improving control of body movement when performing left-right maneuvers or transitioning dips and climbs. But the movement control on the base suspension is also pretty darn good, and some slab type bumps that hit both tires at the same time seemed to “ring” the suspension more noticeably in the Summit Reserve variant. This could be attributed to the shorter sidewalls of its 275 / 45R21 tires, a striking natural frequency of tire turns, or both.
What about straight-line performance?
We expect the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L with the Pentastar V-6 to perform identically to the 2020 two-row model, given that they share virtually identical horsepower, weight, tires, and gearing. With the V-8 models going from a 3.09: 1 axle ratio to the 3.45: 1 configuration of the V-6, the new model could potentially cut its predecessor’s time by a tenth or two. . Naturally, that means the upcoming 2022 double-row Grand Cherokee will likely be even faster, not to mention potential SRT models to come. The current V-6 drives an empty Grand Cherokee with more than enough verve, and the 5.7-liter V-8 allowed a 7,200-pound boat to pick up speed with relative ease.
Slightly larger front and rear discs and calipers increase the pad sweep area by 8% at the front and 14% at the rear. This should improve stopping distances, but the real win is the feel of the brake pedal. The brakes engage very close to the top of the stroke and their bite is linear throughout, which quickly builds confidence.
Note for towing buyers: Jeep provides trailer sway attenuation, but no integrated trailer brake controller and no automatic adjustment of the blind spot monitoring system to account for the length of the trailer, so if you are towing a long or heavy trailer, make sure it is equipped with inertia brakes and carefully check these mirrors when changing lanes.
Should you buy a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L?
If you are serious about getting off groomed gravel roads and exploring truly undefeated trails, absolutely. If you have to tow over 6,000 pounds, probably. And if you don’t regularly carry the JV basketball starter lineup, sure. What about this brief given to his development team? Based on this first experience, the new Grand Cherokee can consider its seven-slot grille deserved and its badge respected.
|Specs of the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L|
|STARTING PRICE||$ 38,690 to $ 66,985|
|DISPOSITION||Front-engine SUV, RWD / AWD / 4WD, 6-7 pass, 4-door|
|ENGINE||3.6L / 293 hp / 260 lb-ft 24-valve DOHC V6; 5.7 L / 357 hp / 390 lb-ft 16-valve OHV V8|
|SIGHT WEIGHT||4,550 to 5,300 lb (mfr)|
|L x W x H||204.9 x 77.9 x 69.7-73.9 inch|
|0-60 MPH||6.5-7.7 s (east)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||14-19 / 22-26 / 17-21 mpg|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY / HIGHWAY||177-241 / 130-153 kWh / 100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.90-1.16 lb / mile|