The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is a new model adding a third row of seats and 15 more inches of body length to the 2021 Grand Cherokee. Its design and architecture are new, infotainment tech is expanded and updated, and safety and driver-assistance features are more plentiful.
The standard Grand Cherokee will also include these changes when its new 2022 version arrives later this year, though it will remain a two-row SUV without the extended length.
With the third row added, the Grand Cherokee L offers six-passenger seating with two captain’s chairs in the middle row, or seven-passenger seating with an optional bench in the middle.
The two third-row seats in the L model are actual seats, worthy of adults. When upright, the seats shrink cargo space to a restrictive 17.2 cubic feet. When folded, however, they create a generous 46.9 cubic-feet of space with a solid, flat floor. That extra 15 inches of length goes a long way toward increasing Grand Cherokee L’s functionality.
Lest you imagine the new L looking like a seesaw: the wheelbase has also been extended, by 7 inches.
There are four trim levels of the Grand Cherokee L: Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit. Rear-wheel drive is standard and there are four-wheel drive options. The standard engine is a 293-horsepower V6, and a 357-horsepower V8 is available on Overland and Summit models. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Towing capacity for the V6 engine is 6,200 pounds. Its EPA rating is 19/26/21 mpg with 2WD and 18/25/21 mpg with 4WD. The V8, available only with 4WD, can haul up to 7,200 pounds and is rated 14/22/17 mpg.
Pricing starts at $38,690 for the Laredo, $47,385 for Limited, $54,690 for Overland, and $58,690 for Summit. These prices include a $1,695 destination charge, and four-wheel drive is an extra $2,000.
I drove the Overland model with a V6 engine and four-wheel drive. In this case it was the Overland’s standard 4WD system called Quadra-Trac II, which includes a two-speed transfer case and hill descent control. Overland offers the option of a Quadra-Drive II 4WD system that also includes an electronic limited-slip differential for the rear axle. It’s included in an off-road package.
Beyond the multitude of standard features found on Laredo and Limited grades, the Overland includes 20-inch wheels, an air suspension with adaptive dampers and rear load leveling, a hands-free liftgate, panoramic sunroof, cooling for the front seats, a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel column, and front parking sensors.
For an extra $1,795 my Overland test vehicle upgraded the standard Uconnect 5 Navigation infotainment system with a 10.1-inch display (8.4 inches is standard) and a 950-watt McIntosh audio system with 19 speakers.
Three other four-figure option packages on the tester (Luxury Tech, Advanced Pro Tech, Off-road Group) totaling $5,085 added everything else you could think of.
Jeep’s original Wagoneer full-size luxury SUV served as inspiration for the Grand Cherokee L’s design, but its look is thoroughly modern.
The Overland’s comfortable and quiet interior has luxury-level refinement. The fancy upgraded Uconnect system and driver information interface can be as complicated or as simple as you like. I of course opted for simple. No doubt I missed out on a million cool things as a result. But that’s nothing new, and I was happy nonetheless.
In all this talk of luxury and design, let’s don’t forget that the Grand Cherokee L is a full-on Jeep, with every bit of the rugged all-terrain capabilities the name implies.
2021 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE L OVERLAND 4X4
Base price, including destination charge: $54,690
Price as driven: $63,915
Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.
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