Next-generation 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee unveiled
All-new Jeep Grand Cherokee to rival Land Rover Discovery, with bold styling and even more off-road technology
This is the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee L. It’s the US-only, seven-seat variant of the firm’s next-generation Land Rover Discovery rival, which will make its way onto the UK market in 2022 in a standard wheelbase, five-seat guise. UK prices and specifications will be announced closer to the model’s European launch date.
Jeep says that the styling of the new Grand Cherokee L was inspired by the original Jeep Wagoneer. It has a longer bonnet than its predecessor, along with slimmer LED headlights, a lower roof line and the firm’s trademark seven-slat radiator grille.
Jeep also paid particular attention to the new Grand Cherokee’s body and chassis, with the aim of improving the car’s refinement. So, this new model is made mostly from high strength steel and features a new strut tower brace that stiffens up the engine bay by 125 per cent. There’s also a new multi-link rear suspension system; Jeep says that this gives the Grand Cherokee’s ride comfort and handling a more sophisticated feel.
American buyers will be able to spec their Jeep Grand Cherokees with either six or seven seats. The former comes with two individual middle-row seats in place of a bench, which Jeep says will allow easier access to the rear-most row.
The SUV’s cabin comes equipped with a new 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, a head-up display and FCA’s next-generation 10.1-inch infotainment system. This Grand Cherokee is also the first Jeep vehicle to feature a digital rear-view mirror.
The rest of the Grand Cherokee’s cabin features the usual blend of leather upholstery and Piano Black trim, with a new customisable ambient lighting system thrown in for good measure. Four-zone automatic climate control will also be available, with a fresh set of vents mounted in the door pillars for the second and third seating rows. Jeep says these vents better direct the air towards passengers, without compromising on headroom.
Engines and drivetrain
In the US, there are two engines to choose from – although Jeep is yet to confirm whether either of these units will make it to the UK. The entry-level model is powered by the same 3.6-litre V6 petrol unit as the old Grand Cherokee, which develops an identical 286bhp and 348Nm of torque. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard.
Above that sits a 5.7-litre V8 with 352bhp and 528Nm of torque. It’s hitched to the same eight-speed gearbox as the V6 and features a cylinder deactivation system which can shut down four of the engine’s cylinders when cruising, providing a claimed 20 per cent boost in fuel economy.
Another economy-minded introduction for the 2021 Grand Cherokee is a front axle disconnect system, which automatically cuts drive to the front wheels under light-load situations. Jeep has also confirmed that a plug-in hybrid-powered 4xe model is in the pipeline, but is yet to release any specifications.
Buyers will have their choice of three four-wheel-drive systems – one with a single-speed transfer case, one with a two-speed transfer case and one with a two-speed transfer case and an electronic limited-slip rear differential. All three systems also come with torque vectoring, which can automatically send drive to the axle with the most grip.
The chassis is propped up by an adjustable air suspension system which can raise the car’s ride-height by as much as 40mm to make off-roading easier. The system can drop the Grand Cherokee by 21mm when driving on the motorway, which Jeep says improves the SUV’s performance and fuel efficiency.
Like the old model, the new Grand Cherokee also comes with a host of off-road technology, such as hill descent control and a five-stage drive mode system which includes settings for snow, mud and rock-crawling. Buyers can even have an off-road package for the Trail Rated Overland 4x4 model which adds high-strength steel skid plates, 18-inch aluminium wheels and uprated all-season tyres.
The new Grand Cherokee features an arsenal of safety equipment, designed to keep the car wheels-down both on and off the road. On-road technology starts with a level 2 autonomous driving system, which will allow for hands-free driving on certain stretches of motorway. Jeep has also added a night-vision camera for the SUV’s top-spec models which uses infrared sensors to search for pedestrians and animals at a distance of up to 200m.
Buyers can spec active braking assist, traffic sign recognition, a driver drowsiness monitoring system and cross-traffic collision assist. The infotainment system comes with an integrated pitch and roll sensor and there’s a 360-degree camera available, too, which can be used to spot rocks and ditches when off-roading.
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