2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Senior Editor
June 19, 2021

Buying tip

The air suspension delivers better handling, but it requires moving up to the Overland model.

features & specs

80th Anniversary 4x2
80th Anniversary 4x4
Freedom 4x2
MPG
19 city / 26 hwy
MPG
18 city / 25 hwy
MPG
19 city / 26 hwy
MSRP
$41,150
MSRP
$43,150
MSRP
$33,275

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L performs on road and off, has lots of space, and competes with luxury brands in its top models.

What kind of car is the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L? What does it compare to?

The Grand Cherokee is a mid-size SUV offered in two- and three-row body styles, the latter designated L. The L model is new for 2021, while the standard version continues with a design that dates back to 2010 until it’s replaced later this year. Competitors include the Ford Explorer, Kia Telluride, GMC Acadia, Dodge Durango, and even body-on-frame vehicles like the Chevrolet Tahoe.

Is the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L a good car?

Review continues below

This report covers the new Grand Cherokee L model. For a review of the outgoing two-row model, click here

The Grand Cherokee L is a spacious, comfortable SUV that’s at home both on and off the road. It has strong engines and an iconic style, and it now comes with a full range of safety features. It earns a 7.2 TCC rating. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L?

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L marks the debut of the fifth-generation Grand Cherokee. It has a new design, a new structure, more safety equipment, and now offers a third-row seat, a first for the Grand Cherokee. The model lineup consists of Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit models, all with rear-wheel drive or a choice of three four-wheel-drive systems. 

The forthcoming two-row Grand Cherokee will share its engines, design, and platform with the L model, but the L is 15 inches longer and rides a wheelbase that is 7.0 inches longer. 

A new design evolves that of the outgoing model. The most notable change is a longer hood and a grille that’s canted forward to offset the extra length in the rear. The Jeep seven-slot grille returns, but it’s wider and has active shutters to improve fuel economy. The slim headlights and taillights are LEDs, and trapezoidal wheel cutouts recall the last model.

Inside, the dash is wing-shaped with a 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a piano black surround for an 8.4-inch or 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen. Both versions run Uconnect 5, which is five times more powerful and has several programmable screens. The gauge cluster is also programmable. 

Soft-touch surfaces cover most of the touchpoints, but there are some hard plastics that get covered on high-line models. The diamond-quilted leather, open-pore wood trim, and McIntosh audio display create a luxurious environment at the top of the lineup. The Grand Cherokee L has plenty of space, too, with an improved second-row seat that slides back and forth, a usable third row, and lots of cargo room.

Jeep gives the Grand Cherokee L and soon the Grand Cherokee a stiffer new rear-wheel-drive-based platform for 2021. A steel suspension is standard, and Overland and Summit models get an air suspension that can raise or lower the ground clearance by 4.2 inches. The air suspension comes with adaptive dampers. 

A 3.6-liter V-6 with 290 hp comes standard, and buyers of higher-line models can choose a 357-hp 5.7-liter V-8. 

Jeep also outfits the Grand Cherokee L with a full suite of safety features, including automatic emergency braking, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors. Night vision and a surround-view camera system are also available. Crash-test scores aren’t in yet.

How much does the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L cost?

The Grand Cherokee L offers a diverse lineup with a model for each taste. The Laredo starts at $38,690, and comes standard with cloth upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat, 12 USB ports (Type A and C), satellite radio, a 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster, an 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED headlights and taillights, and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Summit model tops the lineup at $63,690. All-wheel drive adds $2,000 on all models and the optional V-8 costs $3,295.

Where is the Jeep Grand Cherokee L made?

The Grand Cherokee L is built in Detroit, Michigan.

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2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Styling

Iconic design plus an opulent interior equal one handsome Grand Cherokee L.

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L sports a new take on an iconic design. It’s recognizable and attractive on the outside and functional and inviting on the inside, earning it an 8 out of 10 for styling.

Is the Jeep Grand Cherokee L a good-looking SUV?

The fifth-generation model is instantly recognizable as a Grand Cherokee, with its seven-slot grille, trapezoidal wheel openings, and distinctive sloping greenhouse. The new grille is wider and tilted forward, an effect that helps to offset the greater length. A longer hood does the same. The slim headlights and taillights are now all LEDs, the grille has active shutters to improve fuel efficiency, and the lower fascia has a larger opening that is set higher than the last model. Window moldings that start at the hood and angle all the way to the rear spoiler help visually separate the roof from the rest of the body and make the available gloss-black roof appear well integrated. 

Tire sizes range from 18 to 21 inches. While all are alloy wheels, the design of the base 18s lack flair, which would prompt us to opt for the optional five-spoke wheels. The larger wheel designs are good looking and the available 21s remind us of the honeycomb wheels on a 1970s Pontiac Trans Am.

Inside, the look can come off as merely functional and range up to opulent. The dash rises like a wing from the center console, and some chrome trim helps define its shape. Both the 8.4- and 10.1-inch center touchscreens are set within the same surround that is finished in piano black, which also appears on the center console. A black interior is standard on the base model, while other models are available in tan or brown. 

The real visual interest is reserved for the Summit model, which gets diamond-quilted leather and open-pore wood trim, available either in Absolute Oak or Waxed Wood. Other fun details of note are the knurled shift dial, the stitched dash on higher-line models, and the McIntosh sound system with a display that looks like the needles on a home system on the center screen.

Review continues below
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2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Performance

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L performs on road and off, with strong engines and a comfortable ride.

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L balances competent on-road dynamics with billy goat off-road capability. Team those dynamics with strong engines and the people mover earns a 7 out of 10 for performance. 

Is the Jeep Grand Cherokee L 4WD?

Jeep offers three all-wheel-drive/four-wheel-drive systems for the Grand Cherokee L, all with front-axle disconnect. The Laredo and Limited get the Quadra-Trac I system that works full time. The Overland comes with the Quadra-Trac II four-wheel-drive system that adds a 2-speed transfer case. Standard for the Summit and optional for the Overland is the Quadra-Drive II system that has a 2-speed transfer case and an electronic limited-slip rear differential.

How fast is the Jeep Grand Cherokee L?

Jeep launches the Grand Cherokee L with two engines, a 3.6-liter V-6 and a 5.7-liter V-8. The V-6 makes 293 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque and can launch the SUV from 0-60 mph in a competent but unremarkable 7.5 seconds. Moving up to the 5.7-liter V-8, which churns out 357 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque, cuts the 0-60 mph time to 6.7 seconds. Both deliver good power from a stop, but the V-8 is stronger in the mid-range and on the highway, and it increases the max towing capacity from 6,200 to 7,200 lb.

Grand Cherokee L buyers have a choice between a standard steel suspension on Laredo and Limited models and an air suspension on the Overland and Summit. The steel suspension has 8.5 inches of ground clearance, a tenth of an inch less than the outgoing two-row Grand Cherokee, but it isn’t as tied down to the road. It floats on the freeway and leans more in turns than is best for comfort. The 18-inch wheels provide a smooth ride and the steering is reasonably direct, though without much feel. 

The air suspension, which comes with adaptive dampers, provides greater stability. The steering feels more direct, and body lean isn’t as pronounced, especially in the Sport mode, which lowers ground clearance from a standard height of 8.5 inches to 7.7 inches. A Park mode lowers the ground clearance to 6.7 inches for easier entry and exit, and a pair off-road modes increase it to 10.1 and 10.9 inches for better off-roading angles. 

The Grand Cherokee, especially the Overland model, also boasts traditional Jeep off-road capability. The Overland has revised front and rear bumpers for improved approach and departure angles, all four-wheel-drive models except for the Laredo have traction modes tailored to different types of terrain, and the Overland and Summit have a 2-speed transfer case that enables a 44:1 crawl ratio.

An optional Off-Road package adds skid plates for the fuel tank, transfer case, underbody, and front suspension. All of that equipment allows the Grand Cherokee L to crawl over rocks, ford through 24 inches of water (4.0 inches more than the outgoing Grand Cherokee), churn through sand and mud, and ascend and descend steep hills. We took a Laredo model up treacherous rock hills, up and down hills with 30-degree ascents and descents, through almost 2 feet of water, and over sharp off-camber obstacles, and the big SUV conquered it all. Its approach, breakover, and departure angles of 30.1, 22.6, and 23.6 degrees, respectively, aren’t quite a match for the outgoing two-row model, but the L’s four-wheel-drive systems and available off-road equipment give it almost as much off-road capability.

Review continues below
9

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Comfort & Quality

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L accommodates up to seven passengers comfortably, and offers an ambience that ranges from basic to luxurious.

The Grand Cherokee L’s cabin can be outfitted for luxury, and all models have good space for people and cargo. We rate it a 9 for comfort and quality for its comfortable first row, roomy second and third rows, generous cargo space, and overall high build quality. 

The Grand Cherokee L’s extended length is a boon to interior space for up to seven passengers. The 7 inches of extra wheelbase add 0.8 inch to second-row leg room and room for a usable third row. The second-row seats tilt and slide to provide access to that third row, which will actually accommodate adults. It has head room and leg room for a pair of 6-footers, though the seat bottom is still too low to provide thigh support. The second row also moves forward and back 7.1 inches to better balance second- and third-row leg room. Buyers have a choice of a second-row bench or a pair of captain’s chairs.

The added length gives the Grand Cherokee L a modest 17.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. Fold down the third and second rows, though, and cargo space expands to a roomy 46.2 cubic or an even better 84.6 cubic feet. 

Front seat occupants sit on comfortable seats with lots of room. Those seats vary from base cloth upholstery with eight-way power adjustments to quilted Palermo leather with 12-way adjustments, power lumbar adjustments, massaging, heating, and cooling. Base interiors have soft-touch surfaces on the door tops, dashtop, and center console, but there are some cost-cutting hard plastics, including the trim. Those plastics are wrapped and stitched on top models and the trim becomes open-pore wood. 

Review continues below
4

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Safety

Jeep equips the Grand Cherokee L with a wide range of safety features.

How safe is the Jeep Grand Cherokee L?

That is yet to be determined by crash tests, but the Grand Cherokee L comes standard with a full spate of safety features, including active lane control, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, blind-spot monitors, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear parking sensors, and rear cross-path detection. Also available are front parking sensors, a driver-attention monitor, intersection collision assist, automatic parking, a surround-view camera system, traffic-sign recognition, night vision, and a highway assist system that can control the brakes and throttle and center the vehicle in its lane.

Increased use of high-strength allows Jeep to use thinner roof pillars, which means outward vision isn’t the sticking point it was on the fourth-generation Grand Cherokee.

We’ll update this report when crash-test ratings become available.

Review continues below
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2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Features

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L comes well equipped in a sharply delineated model lineup.

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L comes in four models: Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit, each with a distinct reason for purchase. It’s well equipped in base trim and each model adds features that will appeal to various buyers. We rate it an 8 here for the healthy lists of standard and optional features, and a great warranty.

The base Laredo is the cheapest option at $38,690. It comes standard with three-zone automatic climate control, a 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster, cloth upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat, paddle shifters, 12 USB ports (Type A and C), satellite radio, a six-speaker audio system, an 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED headlights and taillights, a roof rack, and 18-inch alloy wheels. All-wheel drive, which Jeep calls Quada-Trac I in the Grand Cherokee L, adds $2,000.

Which 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L should I buy?

We recommend either the additional equipment of the $45,690 Limited or the added off-road prowess and luxury features of the $54,690 Overland. These are Jeeps, so we also prefer four-wheel drive, which adds $2,000 to either model.

The Limited comes with leather upholstery, power lumbar adjustment for the driver seat, a power front passenger seat, memory for the driver’s seat and exterior mirrors, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, a 115-volt power outlet, a power liftgate, automatic high beams, LED fog lamps, and remote starting. Choosing four-wheel drive also adds the Selec-Terrain system with five traction settings.

The Overland gets an air suspension with adaptive dampers and rear load leveling, hill descent control, a unique front fascia for a better approach angle, front tow hooks, a hands-free liftgate, a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, 20-inch wheels, power-folding second- and third-row seats, perforated nappa leather upholstery, cooled front seats, a power tilt-telescoping steering column, a nine-speaker Alpine audio system with 506 watts, a 10.1-inch touchscreen, navigation, and front parking sensors.

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L?

The $63,690 Summit model with the Reserve package is luxurious with quilted Palermo leather upholstery, 12-way power front seats, seat massagers, a leather-wrapped armrest and door trim, open-pore wood trim, suede pillars and headliner, cooled first- and second-row seats, a 19-speaker McIntosh audio system, four-zone automatic climate control, and a second-row console. It also adds 21-inch wheels, standard four-wheel drive, and Jeep’s full list of safety features except for night vision.

Add $3,295 for the V-8, which also requires $245 for second-row sunshades and a wireless smartphone charging pad and $1,995 for the Advanced ProTech Group IV with a head-up display, night vision, an interior camera, and a rear camera mirror, and the Grand Cherokee L tops out at $69,225.

The Grand Cherokee L comes with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and 5-years/60,000 miles for the powertrain, plus three years of maintenance, including oil changes and tire rotations.

Grand Cherokee L infotainment

The Grand Cherokee L comes standard with a programmable 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster and an 8.4-inch infotainment screen. A 10.1-inch version is standard on the Overland and Summit models and it sits within the same frame. The Android-based Uconnect 5 infotainment system is customizable in numerous ways. Users can program several hot keys that run along the top of the screen, and also program up to five screens with two, three, or four widgets. One of those widgets can also include shortcuts for up to six functions. We’ve only had limited exposure to this system, but it appears to be a thoughtful evolution of what has been one of the better infotainment systems.

Review continues below
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2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Fuel Economy

If you want decent fuel economy in the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L choose the V-6.

Is the Jeep Grand Cherokee L good on gas?

The V-6 will make up the bulk of Grand Cherokee L sales, as will four-wheel drive. We rate the three-row SUV a 4 for fuel economy based on the 18 mpg city, 25 highway, 21 combined rating it gets with the V-6 and four-wheel drive. 

Opt for rear-wheel drive, and the V-6 ratings rise slightly to 19/26/21 mpg.  

The V-8 comes only with four-wheel drive and gets a rather poor 14/22/17 mpg.

Review continues below
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$33,275
MSRP based on Freedom 4x2
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6.7
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 4
Features 8
Fuel Economy 4
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2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Pricing Insights

  • 2021 Grand Cherokee L arriving; best deals on 2-row
  • Lease: From $249 for 36 months
  • Rebates: Up to $4,000 off MSRP
  • Finance: From 0% APR for 48 months + up to $3,250 bonus
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