For 2021, Jeep made two distinct Grand Cherokees. The venerable Jeep Grand Cherokee takes a victory lap this year, pretty much changed from last year’s version, and that’s a good thing. The big news is the debut of the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L three-row crossover SUV on a distinct platform from the Jeep Grand Cherokee. We review them both here.
What kind of car is the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L? What does it compare to?
The Grand Cherokee L is a three-row mid-size SUV designed and sized to compete with other three-row SUVs such as the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, and Ford Explorer.
Review continues below
Is the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L a good car?
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L fills a large hole in the Jeep lineup as its only three-row SUV. Though the features look promising and Jeep asserts it will have off-road capability, we’ll have to drive it first before rendering judgment. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is not a stretched version of the two-row Grand Cherokee. Unlike the forthcoming Wagoneer that rides on a Ram 1500 platform, the Grand Cherokee L instead uses a unibody platform with independent front and rear suspensions.
Though what’s under the skin is different, the Grand Cherokee L bears a strong stylistic resemblance to the timeless Grand Cherokee. The Grand Cherokee L looks fantastic with a strong, upright stance and the right amount of ruggedness for an SUV. Jeep’s familiar seven-slot grille leads the way, though in this application it’s pitched slightly forward to add some length to the hood and keep the Grand Cherokee L’s proportions balanced.
At launch, two engines will be offered in the L: a 290-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 comes standard, while a 357-hp 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 is optional for all trims except the base Laredo. Both engines pair to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive comes standard in three available systems, with the most robust system optional on Overland and standard on Summit models. The Grand Cherokee L features a front-axle disconnect system that sends power to the front only when the situation calls for it to improve fuel economy. MPG estimates are not yet available as of this writing.
Both Overland and Summit models come with a standard air suspension system with five different height settings, ranging from 6.5-inches when parked for easier ingress/egress to 10.9-inches while off-roading to maximize approach, departure, and breakover angles (30.1/23.6/22.6 degrees). Those numbers don’t quite match what the shorter Grand Cherokee can offer.
Though it doesn’t have the Wagoneer’s quad screen setup, the Grand Cherokee L features a standard 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster and an 8.4-inch or 10.1-inch multimedia touchscreen. The Android-based UConnect 5 system powers both screens and the Grand Cherokee L comes with standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility and the ability for over-the-air updates. There’s no excuse for anyone to run out of power either, with 12 total USB-A and USB-C charge ports spread throughout the cabin. A 10-inch head-up display is available, as is a rear in-vehicle camera system that displays a top-down view of the backseat area to check in on rambunctious third-seat passengers.
The interior has 17.2 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third-row, which expands to 46.9 cubic feet with the third-row lowered and 84.6 cubic feet with both rows down. That’s about one cubic foot less than in the Ford Explorer. The Grand Cherokee L’s third-row legroom is even tighter; at 30.3 inches, it’s nearly two inches shorter than the Explorer and its cramped third row.
Thankfully, the Grand Cherokee L’s standard safety features list has expanded widely over previous Jeep vehicles. All-speed automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and rear parking sensors all come standard. A night vision and surround-view camera system, digital rearview mirror, and parking assist are optional. The most innovative safety feature, a hands-free highway driving system, will be available for the 2022 model year that arrives later in 2021.
How much does the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L cost?
Pricing information will be available this summer when the Grand Cherokee L goes on sale.
Where is the Jeep Grand Cherokee L made?
The Jeep Grand Cherokee L will be made in Detroit, alongside the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango.
What kind of car is the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee? What does it compare to?
The Grand Cherokee is a five-seat crossover SUV. Its main rivals are the Ford Explorer, Honda Passport, Kia Telluride, and Dodge Durango.
Is the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee a good car?
We give the Grand Cherokee a 6.7 TCC Rating thanks to superlative comfort and capability, iconic style and good features. Safety scores and gas mileage are a drag, though.
What’s new for the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee?
Like last year, the Grand Cherokee is available in Laredo, Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, SRT, and Trackhawk trims. Laredo versions will start around $35,000 for rear-wheel drive and a V-6; fire-breathing Trackhawks tempt six figures, which is a silly price for silly speed.
The turbodiesel’s a distant memory by now, but the four gas engines more than make up the difference. Every Grand Cherokee without an SRT badge starts life with a 295-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 that’s refined and smooth. All Grand Cherokees lean on a great 8-speed automatic transmission for shifting detail—it’s more than up to the task. A 5.7-liter V-8 makes 360 hp and tows a little more but it’s there for traditional V-8 power, mostly. Untraditional V-8 power is there, if you’re into that: A 6.4-liter V-8 spins out 475 hp, or a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 runs the table with 707 hp. Four-wheel drive is more common, and standard on performance versions.
Every Grand Cherokee comfortably holds up to five adults with plenty of space in the back for gear. For families looking for three rows: consider the three-row Dodge Durango that’s mechanically related or just wait longer: a three-row Jeep may be in the mail soon.
Crash-test scores are a mixed bag, but standard automatic emergency braking is available on most models or standard.
How much is the Jeep Grand Cherokee?
Base versions start at more than $35,000. Every Jeep gets a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 18-inch wheels, and cloth upholstery. Top trims upgrade to an 8.4-inch touchscreen, up to 20-inch wheels, performance upgrades, off-road gear, and leather.
Where is the Jeep Grand Cherokee made?
The Grand Cherokee is assembled in Detroit, Michigan.