2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L review: GC L FTW – Roadshow

I additionally could not assist however wrinkle my face a bit at this Summit Reserve 4×4’s $65,775 as-tested worth. That is practically $25,000 greater than an entry-level Laredo 4×2 ($40,670 together with $1,795 supply) and considerably greater than you may choice a non-SRT Grand Cherokee as much as simply final 12 months. For sure, my facial muscle groups relaxed considerably when inspecting this 5,000-pound, 205-inch Diamond Black behemoth in particular person. A little bit over every week later, that sense of understanding quickly turned to one in all outright admiration: This can be a fabulous SUV.

I’ve since gone on to drive Jeep’s pricier Grand Wagoneer and the two-row 2022 Grand Cherokee, and if something, my fondness for this middle-child GC L has grown. It is a splendidly satisfying little bit of vehicular alchemy, concurrently fusing a succesful off-road 4×4, a household hauler and a luxurious cruiser all into one sharp-looking bundle. Merely put, this is likely one of the most versatile and competent automobiles on the American street.

Assembled in Detroit atop Jeep’s new WL versatile structure, the Grand Cherokee L’s unibody consists of over 60% high-strength metal, so regardless of its further 15 inches of size to accommodate the aforementioned third row, this platform feels extremely strong happening the street. I put over 1,800 miles on the tester seen right here, blitzing from suburban Detroit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with my household and a great deal of seashore gear. Everybody was impressed with the Jeep’s journey consolation — even driving on large 21-inch wheels. Credit score goes not simply to the GC L’s 6.9-inch-longer wheelbase (useful for smoothing out wavy surfaces and harsh impacts), but additionally to my Summit Reserve tester’s Quadra-Raise air suspension with adaptive dampers. Whereas the path to the OBX options an terrible lot of boring Midwest interstate miles, I blended issues up by venturing onto a variety of meandering state routes to bypass DC visitors and take within the bucolic Southern surroundings.

As it’s possible you’ll recall, again in June, Roadshow critiques editor Craig Cole correctly flogged the Grand Cherokee L off-road at this mannequin’s launch. Cole discovered that regardless of having an extended wheelbase and poorer resultant breakover angle (22.6 levels), this Jeep is not any mere crossover, it is a correct rough-and-tumble SUV. With as much as 10.9 inches of floor clearance and the power to ford 2 ft of water, the GC L can tame 99.97% of the terrain its prospects will ever ask of it (and people different 0.03% are both idiots or just eyeing the incorrect kind of car). Because of its obtainable variable-height adaptive air suspension and Quadra-Drive II 4WD system, this GC L has a large bandwidth of skills. Between its electronically managed limited-slip differentials, bushel of Selec-Terrain drive modes and a slew of underbody bash plates, Cole’s first drive proved that this Jeep can crawl safely and confidently over obstacles. Now, my time demonstrates that this SUV may also really feel correctly hunkered down at greater freeway speeds or when negotiating a decreasing-radius flip that sneaks up on an unfamiliar winding nation street.

That competent on-road demeanor is essential, as a result of relating to its lower-end trims, the GC L will doubtless be in contrast extra typically with car-like household crossovers just like the Ford Explorer, Kia Telluride, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander than with extra conventional, off-road-minded SUVs like Chevrolet’s Tahoe Z71. On this high-end guise, this Jeep is without delay extra succesful, sybaritic and tech-rich than any of these automobiles. After all, that functionality comes at a worth — this Summit Reserve trim’s pricing begins nicely above the place all however the Chevy prime out.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve


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2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

Buddies, it is actually, very nice contained in the Summit Reserve.

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At this finish of the GC L’s mannequin spectrum, this Jeep appears to be like, feels and drives like a correct luxurious car. In truth, on this context, the Summit Reserve is a discount in contrast with a Mercedes-Benz GLS or a BMW X7 — the L’s specs, options and basic aura of luxurious line up surprisingly nicely. Jeep officers might inform you that these European SUVs are a better match for the brand new range-topping Grand Wagoneer, however do not be fooled: at practically a foot shorter than the GW, this still-midsize mannequin’s footprint is sort of precisely the identical as Crew Germany.

Pop the hood on the Grand Cherokee L, and you will find one in all two very acquainted engines: Stellantis’ 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, tuned to ship 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, or a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 (357 hp, 390 lb-ft), each backed by conventional eight-speed automatics. On this period of downsized, turbocharged engines and electrification, these naturally aspirated selections appear decidedly old-school on paper. Certainly, some rivals provide hybrid energy with superior low-end torque and effectivity, however at the least you need not run premium gasoline right here (89 octane is “beneficial” for the V8, however it ought to run high quality on 87).

My take a look at route did not embrace any high-altitude climbs or towing duties, so regardless of the GC L “solely” being fitted with the smaller of the 2 engines, energy was completely ample. Credit score goes partly to the graceful and decisive 850RE TorqueFlite eight-speed computerized, which not often hunts for the suitable gear. And whereas not as refined or as aurally partaking because the Hemi, the Pentastar felt muscular sufficient for this 5,000-plus pound bruiser. After all, in case your plans usually embrace dragging a camper or a trailer filled with toys, or in the event you dwell within the mountains or have a heavy proper foot, the V8’s additional muscle may very well be a worthy funding.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve


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2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

The 15-inch-longer Grand Cherokee L can tow as much as 7,200 kilos.

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That is true even relating to gasoline effectivity. EPA estimates name for the V6 to internet 18 mpg metropolis, 25 mpg freeway and 21 mpg mixed. That is undoubtedly higher than the Hemi’s unimpressive 14 metropolis, 22 freeway and 17 mixed rankings, however previous expertise means that the Pentastar’s gasoline effectivity plunges extra precipitously than the V8’s below heavy masses. Even with a completely loaded cabin and cargo maintain, I noticed durations on the open freeway above EPA estimates, however in combination, my freeway-heavy complete noticed gasoline financial system was 23.2 mpg — a high quality if unremarkable determine. It is price noting that Jeep confirmed a Grand Cherokee 4xe plug-in hybrid mannequin will arrive quickly, however it’s not clear if these plans additionally embrace the long-wheelbase L.

The Grand Cherokee’s legendary off-road repute and appears are what is going on to get consumers within the door, however it’s the inside that can make shoppers desperate to signal on the dotted line. Even low-end fashions like the bottom Laredo 4×2 ($39,375 delivered) and Altitude ($42,575) have good cabins, however top-shelf fashions like this Summit Reserve are each shockingly posh and tech-rich. Sure, I may grumble concerning the fingerprint-happy display and piano-black trim, however I will not, as a result of from the finely stitched Palermo leather-based on the massaging entrance seats to the huge, artfully sculpted expanses of open-pore waxed walnut and precise-feeling switchgear, this can be a cabin to envy.

On the tech entrance, the Summit Reserve’s Uconnect 5 infotainment suite runs on a ten.1-inch touchscreen that impresses with its snappy responses and crisp graphics, in addition to wi-fi Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration (lower-end trims make do with 8.4-inch shows). Music buffs will admire not simply the excellent constancy of the 19-speaker, 950-watt McIntosh audio system, but additionally the digital illustration of the audiophile model’s iconic blue swept needles. With dual-source Bluetooth, a passenger may even play DJ whereas the driving force maintains cellphone entry.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

Uconnect 5 is snappy and key local weather management and car features have accompanying bodily switchgear to maintain issues intuitive.

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Different niceties embrace a reconfigurable 10.3-inch digital infotainment cluster, a strong head-up show and obtainable night time imaginative and prescient. The perfect a part of all of this tech could also be that Jeep’s designers have had the self-discipline to protect a considerate quantity of buttons and knobs, resisting the trade’s pattern towards streamlining bodily switchgear on the expense of usability. You do not have to fish via a collection of menus to vary the local weather management’s fan velocity or redirect air stream, and you may simply prod the button for the heated steering wheel or crank the amount knob when your favourite guitar solo comes on.

My tester was a 2021 mannequin, however for 2022, you’ll be able to even get the widescreen front-seat passenger exercise show borrowed from the brand new Grand Wagoneer. This 10.3-inch touchscreen permits front-seat passengers to curate their very own media, plot navigation routes and watch movies (Don’t be concerned, you’ll be able to’t see the display from the driving force’s seat). The passenger may even management a pair of non-obligatory 10.1-inch rear-seatback shows, so with native Amazon Fireplace TV help, second-row occupants will be anesthetized by streaming Peppa Pig by way of onboard Wi-Fi or a cellphone’s cell hotspot.

With the L’s extra family-focused mission, it is smart that it comes with a bunch of superior driver-assistance options. Adaptive cruise management, blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors with cross-path detection, lane-keeping help and collision warning with computerized emergency braking are all commonplace throughout the board. My Summit tester additionally included birds-eye 360-degree digicam protection, drowsy driver monitor and intersection collision mitigation tech, amongst different options. I am completely satisfied to report that I did not have the event to take a look at all of my tester’s lively security options, however people who I did labored nicely except lane-keep help, which ping-ponged between the painted strains greater than anticipated.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve


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2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

With its obtainable air suspension dialed to its highest setting, the Grand Cherokee L can ford 2 ft of water.

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Now that the standard-length Grand Cherokee is hitting the marketplace for 2022, you could be tempted to go together with the shorty, and I definitely would not blame you. It is higher proportioned, extra succesful off-road and barely cheaper. That mentioned, there is a huge cause to contemplate taking the L: area. The 2-seat third row in all fairness sized for adults taking quick journeys, and small youngsters might be high quality again there for longer hauls. However even when you find yourself driving round with the rearmost row stowed more often than not, the added cargo area may simply be price the additional cash it takes to get an L in your tailgate. 

With all three rows upright, there’s 17.2 cubic ft of area within the cargo maintain. Fold the second row, and also you’re taking a look at 46.9 cubes. Drop all of the seats behind the primary row and there is a huge 84.6 cubic ft. Unsurprisingly, these numbers evaluate favorably with the two-row Grand Cherokee (37.7 cubic ft behind the rear seats or 70.8 with them folded). That is like getting an entire ‘nother trunk.

Over time, I’ve pushed lots of of two- and three-row SUVs, and I’ve discovered that even when two-row fashions provide loads of room for passengers, they typically aren’t as much as the job of transporting 4 or 5 individuals’s price of stuff for a weeklong street journey with out including a rooftop field. That is the overall good thing about going with a three-row SUV even in the event you do not want the additional seats — the added cargo area actually makes these automobiles extra helpful.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve


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2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

Even in the event you do not want a 3rd row, the L’s additional cargo capability could be price contemplating.

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After all, Jeep’s new Wagoneer is bigger nonetheless, and it has a roomier third row and extra cargo area, as you’d anticipate. However the Huge W is considerably costlier than a loaded Grand Cherokee L, beginning at practically $71,000 for a Sequence II with two fewer pushed wheels and fewer tools. Simply as importantly, Jeep’s full-sizer does not really really feel considerably extra luxurious than this Summit Reserve L till you get to greater trims that price tens of 1000’s extra. Even then, the distinction is not as big as you may assume. Plus, to my eyes, the Wagoneer’s oversquare rump and hinky windowline lend it an ungainly, minivanlike look in profile and from any rearward facet.

Like I mentioned, GC L for the win.

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