Next-Gen Jeep Grand Cherokee Spied!
Given the competition, Jeep needs make sure the 2021 Grand Cherokee hits the bullseye!by Sidd Dhimaan, on
SUVs and crossovers are taking over the auto industry and the biggest beneficiaries of this are the existing players. And, when the existing players come with a rich heritage, things just get better. Jeep has had the mid-size SUV, the Grand Cherokee, in its lineup for around 26 years now and it’s still serving well. To keep up with the competition, Jeep decided to develop the fifth generation of the Grand Cherokee which will be launched as the 2021 model. However, not much is revealed about it, except for the fact that it was recently spied under heavy wraps. Yes, the mighty Jeep Grand Cherokee in its latest iteration was spotted doing test runs on the streets of Southern California. Does it actually feel like a new model?
The Fourth-Gen Also Brought In A Lot Of Changes
The current generation is the fourth iteration of the Grand Cherokee. It has been there too long in the tooth, and the fifth-gen change was desperately needed. The current-gen, also known as WK2, made its debut at the 2009 New York Auto Show as the 2011 Grand Cherokee. Jeep has been selling it since the summer of 2010 - that makes it nine years old. Back then, this generation did ring in a lot of changes compared to the third-gen Grand Cherokee. Jeep went ahead with a fully-independent suspension setup, thus ditching the Quadra-Coil setup from the third generation. In 2014, however, Jeep revamped it to a large extent by introducing a diesel powertrain; something that was unheard of in a Grand Cherokee in the States since 2006.
It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Grand Cherokee!
The first glimpses of the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee came in June. But, it was spotted again, with some better pictures that give us a little more idea as to how it’s going to be.
The biggest change comes underneath the SUV. The next-gen Grand Cherokee is getting a new architecture.
The current Grand Cherokee is based on the same platform as the Mercedes-Benz ML. This is going on from the Daimler-Chrysler days. However, the fifth-gen Grand Cherokee will be underpinned by the rear-wheel-drive platform based on the Alfa-Romeo Stelvio SUV. This means the SUV will still be a tough off-road vehicle while having good on-road driving dynamics. Also, the new Grand Cherokee will nullify the 2020 Ford Explorer’s advantage of sporting a rear-wheel-drive architecture.
The 2021 Grand Cherokee appears to be a tad bigger than the model it replaces. It seems longer and wider, but that does not mean Jeep is plonking in a third row. The result of the better length will be evident in the cargo space behind the second-row and in the legroom in both the rows. And, thanks to the extended width, the base of the seats could get wider, which means passengers will be able to sit more comfortably and there will be a lot more shoulder room as well. In terms of driving dynamics, the Grand Cherokee will be more planted and less prone to body rolls. The alloys look smokin’ hot. Apart from that, it will most likely feature the trademark seven-slat grille and LED headlights and taillights, to name a few.
What Can We Expect On The Inside?
Inside the cabin, we can expect the 2021 Grand Cherokee to be a premium offering. If this SUV will borrow any of the Ram truck’s cabin features, we are in for a treat. Stuff like wood inserts, leather upholstery, heated front and back seats can be expected in here.
For the tech-heads, Jeep will most certainly feature the 8.4-inch UConnect infotainment system from the current Grand Cherokee, albeit a few changes to the interface.
Higher trims could feature bigger screens like the 12-inch units from Ram trucks. Other features could include a power rear tailgate, wireless smartphone charger, USB ports, and a suite of safety features. The highlight will be the introduction of Level 2 self-driving abilities, which also happens to the first time Jeep will be introducing autonomous technology in its vehicles.
Can We Have All The Engines, Please?
Coming to the powertrain options, the base trim is expected to be powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine with a mild hybrid system. If this is the same one used in the Jeep Wrangler, then it will perform well. In the Wrangler, it makes 268 horses and 295 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a 22 horsepower motor that works as a starter for the start-stop system and even offers 71 pound-feet of torque for half-second to fill in the gap before the turbocharger starts spooling. This means the SUV pulls away instantaneously from a halt. This mill can be mated only to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
|Electric motor power||22 horsepower|
|Electric motor torque||71 pound-feet|
The mid-trims are expected to continue with the same 3.6-liter, V-6 Pentastar engine. Although this is a tried and tested engine, it has been there in Jeep’s powertrain options for ages now. This engine delivers around five miles lesser per gallon when compared to the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine. H
owever, Jeep will most likely add the eTorque mild hybrid system from the all-new 2019 RAM 1500, thus producing around 300 horsepower.
This will also create a gap between the power figures of the two engines.
The biggest engine will most likely be the same 5.7-liter, V-8 Hemi mill with Multi-Displacement System and Variable Valve Timing. If carried as it is, the engine will make 360 ponies and 390 pound-feet of twist. It delivers 18 miles per gallon (combined), but thanks to the strict emission norms these days, this engine will benefit from the eTorque mild hybrid system for improved fuel economy. The towing capacity for the V-8 Hemi mill is rated at 7,200 pounds. This engine is available only in the four-wheel-drive form with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
As for the performance-oriented SRT and Trackhawk trims, Jeep could launch them a year or two after the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee hits the roads. The other engines in consideration are the 3.0-liter, six-cylinder mill and the 3.0-liter, EcoDiesel V-6 mill. Should either of them make its way into the lineup, then the 5.7-liter, V-8 engine might be retired. The V-8s could be solely reserved for the SRT and Trackhawk trims.
Then There Are A Few More
In addition to the standard suspension system, the Quadra-Lift air suspension should remain an option for almost all the trims.
To further enhance the fuel economy and towing capabilities, either all or some of the engines could come with stuff such as cylinder deactivation and Electronic Start Stop.
Another engine that could make its way into the 2021 Grand Cherokee’s bay is the VM Motori-sourced 3.0-liter, EcoDiesel Turbocharged Diesel engine, that is seen in the Ram 1500, the current Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the Maserati Ghibli. It is also expected to make its way under the hood of the 2020 Jeep Wrangler JL and the 2020 Jeep Gladiator JT.
Since the downfall of sedans has resulted in a boom in the sales of SUVs, FCA has decided to infuse $4.5 billion in five Michigan plants. The result of this is that Jeep will be debuting two new SUVs shortly. One will be a full-size, body-on-frame vehicle that could go up against the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon, whereas the other one will be a three-row SUV that will go against the likes of the Ford Explorer and the Lincoln Aviator. Although logic dictates that a 2021 model be launched in 2020, Jeep will be tempted to reveal this SUV at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. Even the current-gen made its debut in 2009 as a 2011 model. Perhaps Jeep will follow the same trend this time around, too. What are you expecting from the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
Read our full review on the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit.
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