The all-new Grand Cherokee might be Jeep's most important model to date
Jeep welcomes the new year with a bang with the launch of an all-new model. It's also one of the most significant debuts for the brand following the Fiat Chrysler-Groupe Peugeot merger. Jeep's first of many reveals this year is the fifth-generation Grand Cherokee.
Now, we have to be specific that this is a special kind of Grand Cherokee. Dubbed the Grand Cherokee L, the stretched model brings a first for the Grand Cherokee: an extra row of seats. Jeep decided to launch the long-wheelbase version first before the standard-length body. We will have to wait a little longer for that model. Yes, for the first time, the Grand Cherokee can carry more than five passengers.
The 2021 Grand Cherokee draws a lot of cues from the upcoming Wagoneer full-size SUV. The nose is more upright than the outgoing model, emphasized by a flatter hood and chiseled lines. The grille is much slimmer than before, but it still retains the signature seven slots.
Jeep decided to keep the flanks clean by not adding in jagged and rakish angles. Instead, it's all about flat lines and subtle details. Meanwhile, the fender flares give the Grand Cherokee a wider-looking stance. As for the rear, the slim taillights make the tailgate look sizable, and the curved windshield is a unique touch.
Now, for the interior, and there are two seating arrangements available. Most variants have seven seats with a second row that slides fore and aft. Opt for the top-spec versions, and the second-row bench is replaced by a pair of captain chairs, bringing down total capacity to six passengers. Meanwhile, the third-row seats are available with power operation.
As for the front, it's a departure from the current generation. The dash is expansive and features a flowing center console, which is nothing like the outgoing model. There are also more screens on-board, from its digital instrument cluster to its massive infotainment screen. On higher-spec models, the dashboard is trimmed in leather with wood cappings on the dash, doors, and steering wheel.
Engines, on the other hand, are carried over from before. It starts with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that makes 293 PS and 348 Nm of torque. For those who want more power, a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is available, and it's good for 364 PS and 529 Nm of torque. Both these engines shift with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel-drive is standard, while four-wheel-drive is optional.
Once launched, it's aimed at similarly-sized vehicles like the Ford Explorer, Hyundai Palisade, and Subaru Ascent. The difference here is, the Jeep will be more capable once you're off-road. The automaker claims that it is still Trail-Rated, meaning it can climb rocky hills and slog through mud.