2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Highs Serious off-road capability, handsome styling, two models and many trims to choose from.
Lows Most desirable trims carry big price tags, two-row model lacks the modern equipment of the new three-row L, driver-assistance features cost extra.
Verdict The aging two-row Grand Cherokee remains a capable and refined SUV, but the all-new three-row L model offers a more modern and desirable package.
What's New for 2021?
This year marks the beginning of a new generation of Grand Cherokee with the arrival of the three-row L model. It makes its debut alongside the 2021 two-row model, which carries over from 2020 with few changes. The two-row Grand Cherokee is expected to switch over to the all-new platform for the 2022 model year and should feature the same tech and luxury upgrades as the 2021 L model shown here. Jeep hasn't released pricing for the new Grand Cherokee L yet, but we expect a starting price under $40,000.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Laredo L: $38,000 (est)
Limited L: $45,000 (est)
Overland L: $50,000 (est)
High Altitude: $51,155
Summit L: $55,000 (est)
We think it's worth it to put the new generation three-row Grand Cherokee L in your garage this year rather than the outgoing two-row model. Of the four trim levels the new model is offered in, the Limited should best balance features and pricing. Luxuries such as a power-operated rear liftgate, automatic high-beam headlamps, remote start, interior ambient lighting, driver memory settings, leather upholstery, and heated second row seats seem well worth the cost of the upgrade.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Your Grand Cherokee will come with a V-6 unless you opt for the V-8, available only on Limited trims and above. The base engine pulls strongly and transmits very little vibration into the cabin, so it's the powerplant we prefer. Although we haven't yet driven the all-new three-row Grand Cherokee L, the V-6 has proven to be well matched to the two-row Grand Cherokee's heft, and it does an admirable job of motivating this SUV around town and on the highway. No matter the configuration, the Grand Cherokee has brawny towing capacity—6200 pounds for V-6 models, 7200 pounds with the V-8—that kicks its usefulness up another notch. We have driven the older two-row model extensively and can tell you that there's nothing sporty about it. Rough stretches of pockmarked pavement send shivers through the chassis and into the cabin, something we are hoping will be addressed in the all-new L model. For those seeking the ultimate in GC performance, check out the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, which we review separately.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Stepping into the Grand Cherokee's cabin provides either a sense of ruggedness or luxury— depending on the model. In the older two-row model, Jeep designers use soft-touch materials and leather where it counts—armrests, upper door panels, the dashboard—but hard plastic persists elsewhere. In comparison, the newer L model benefits from a much more modern interior design and materials that appear to be a cut above. Behind its second row of seats, the two-row Grand Cherokee has space for 11 carry-on cases. That count expands to 24 when we fold the rear seat, which splits in a 60/40 fashion; the operation is neat and tidy, too, requiring just one action to release the headrest and flop the seat down to its flat position. We haven't had the chance to test out the all-new Grand Cherokee L, but we expect more luggage space in this longer variant with the third row of seats stowed. When we get a Grand Cherokee L in for testing, we'll update this story with results.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Jeep's excellent Uconnect infotainment system is one of our favorites for its ease of use and snappy response times. In the two-row Grand Cherokee, a dinky 5.0-inch display is standard; we'd recommend stepping up to the large 8.4-inch touchscreen in that model. The all-new Grand Cherokee L boasts a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen as standard, which can be upgraded with optional in-dash navigation. Available rear-seat entertainment and in-car Wi-Fi make the Grand Cherokee a movie theater on wheels. While a six-speaker audio system is the base setup on both the two- and three-row models, an array of more advanced options—including a six-speaker Boston Acoustics stereo, a nine-speaker Alpine system, a 19-speaker Harman/Kardon setup, and a 19-speaker McIntosh high-performance arrangement—are all available on certain trims.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
With the V-6 under its hood, the two-row Grand Cherokee is fuel efficient by SUV standards. In our testing, its highway fuel-economy score of 25 mpg held true to its EPA rating.
Read More https://www.caranddriver.com/jeep/grand-cherokee-2021
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