Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven

The Grand Cherokee L features three rows of seats, a lot of tech features, and three different four-wheel-drive systems, amongst other things

At the onset, it seems like the Grand Cherokee L is nothing but a Grand Cherokee with an extra row of seats. Essentially, that’s pretty much true, but, it is much more than just that. The Grand Cherokee L rides on a new platform, comes with a whole lot of new tech features, and is arguably the most off-road capable SUV in the segment. The standard Jeep Grand Cherokee is a big hit, selling over 200,000 examples every year. So, instead of coming up with a completely new model altogether, Jeep decided to build on the Grand Cherokee’s reputation by offering a product with the same ethos, but a lot of distinct differentiation.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Drivetrain, Suspension System, and Fuel Economy

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019762
The two engine options are – a 3.6-liter, V-6 Pentastar that makes 290 HP and 257 lb-ft of torque. The other one is a 5.7-liter, V-8 mill that churns out 357 HP and 390 lb-ft of twist

The Grand Cherokee L comes with two engine options to choose from – a V-6 and a V-8. Of the six trims, three of them can be had with a V-8 (More on the trims later).

The V-6 mill is the 3.6-liter Pentastar that we’ve seen on other Jeep products as well. Here, it makes 290 horses and 257 pound-feet of torque. The other one is a 5.7-liter, V-8 engine that churns out 357 horses and 390 pound-feet of twist.

Both the engines are paired to an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic gearbox. The V-6 can be had with two-wheel- and four-wheel-drive systems, whereas the V-8 is offered only with a four-wheel-drive system. It also comes with Jeep’s Selec-Terrain drive mode system. It comes with five preset modes – Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow, Mud/Sand.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019780
Both the engines are paired to an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic gearbox. The V-6 can be had with 2WD and 4WD systems, whereas the V-8 is offered only with a 4WD system

Jeep decided to take the Grand Cherokee L’s off-roading skills to the next level by offering three different four-wheel-drive systems:

  • Quadra-Trac I
  • Quadra-Trac II
  • Quadra-Drive II

The Quadra-Trac I features a single-speed active transfer case and a set of sensors that adjust torque distribution and make corrections if there’s a tire slip. It can send 100-percent torque to the axle which needs it the most.

The Quadra-Trac II setup comes with a two-speed active transfer case with low-range gear. Jeep has also equipped an Active 4-Low torque control with a 2.72:1 gear ratio that will make life easier off the roads.

The most versatile and capable of the lot is the Quadra-Drive II system. It consists of a two-speed active transfer case and a rear electronic limited-slip differential. Jeep will offer it only on the Summit trims and the Overland four-wheel-drive models when equipped with the Off-Road Group. The Off-Road Group consists of:

  • Skid plates
  • 18-inch off-road wheels
  • All-season tires
  • Up to 24 inches of water fording capability

Jeep has also mentioned that all three drive systems can disconnect the front axle automatically.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019841

As for the suspension setup, the three-row SUV benefits from a multi-link independent suspension all around. Jeep also offers Quadra-Lift on the Grand Cherokee L, which is an air suspension with 4.2 inches of travel range. It can be operated either manually or automatically and comes with five different modes and settings:

  • Normal Ride Height: The default setting wherein the Jeep sits at 8.3 inches off the ground
  • Off-Road 1: Lifts the vehicle by 1.6 inches from Normal Ride Height
  • Off-Road 2: Lifts the SUV by 2.4 inches from Normal Ride Height
  • Aero Mode: Lowers the SUV by 0.8 from Normal Ride Height
  • Park Mode: Lowers the SUV by 1.8 from Normal Ride Height

What Is The Grand Cherokee L’s Fuel Economy?

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019842
The Grand Cherokee L with the V-6 engine and four-wheel-drive system delivers 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined

The Grand Cherokee L with the V-6 engine and four-wheel-drive system delivers 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined.The Explorer returns 18 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined. The Traverse, on the other hand, delivers 17 miles in the city, 25 miles on the highway, and 20 miles combined for every gallon of fuel consumed.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Exterior Design

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019835
It features the signature seven slat grille up front. There are sleek headlights on either side along with LED DRLs. Aluminum is only on body parts to keep the weight in check

The highlight of the SUV is the addition of the third-row over the standard Grand Cherokee.

Jeep offers the Grand Cherokee L in six trims – Laredo, Altitude, Limited, Overland, Summit, and Summit Reserve.

Perhaps, Trailhawk, Trackhawk, and the SRT models will be seen in a year or two.

The three-row SUV is underpinned by an extended version of a new platform built for the upcoming Grand Cherokee. It looks similar to the standard Grand Cherokee, but with a few cues from the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. It features the signature seven slat grille up front. There are sleek headlights on either side along with LED DRLs.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019857
The Grand Cherokee L starts at $36,995 and goes up to $65,290. It takes on the Ford Explorer and the Chevy Traverse

Jeep offers 18- to 21-inch wheels on the Grand Cherokee L. The Overland trim can be had with either 18- or 20-inch wheels. There are three different tire options. It comes with BSW 265/50 section all-season tires as standard. You can also opt for 265/60 section BSW all-season or on/off-road tires.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019834
The Grand Cherokee L is underpinned on a new platform. Jeep offers the SUV in six trims – Laredo, Altitude, Limited, Overland, Summit, and Summit Reserve

At the rear, you get a nice pair of LED taillights. The little bump in the middle may draw polarizing opinions, but it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for anyone. This isn’t any supercar, but the automaker has installed vertical-pillar spoilers on the tailgate that help reduce drag. The Grand Cherokee has a drag coefficient of 0.357. Despite the size, it weighs just around 100 pounds more than the standard Grand Cherokee on most trims, which is courtesy of the use of aluminum around the body. Jeep has made use of aluminum for the hood, tailgate, the front sub-frame, and shock towers to keep the weight on the lower side.

The Grand Cherokee L is available in 10 exterior shades on the Overland trim, six of which are single-tone and four dual-tone:

  • Diamond Black Crystal Pearl Coat
  • Baltic Gray Metallic Clear Coat
  • Silver Zynith
  • Velvet Red Pearl Coat (seen in the images here)
  • Rocky Mountain Pearl Coat
  • Bright White Clear Coat
  • Silver Zynith/Black Clear Coat
  • Velvet Red Pearl Coat/Black Clear Coat
  • Rocky Mountain Pearl Coat/Black Clear Coat
  • Bright White Clear Coat/ Black Clear Coat

How Big Is The Grand Cherokee L?

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019840
At the rear, you get a nice pair of LED taillights. Jeep offers 18- to 21-inch wheels on the Grand Cherokee L. The SUV is available in 10 different exterior shades

The Jeep Grand Cherokee L is 15.1 inches longer, 0.8 inches wider, and 2.2 inches taller than the standard Jeep Grand Cherokee.

It measures 204.9 inches in length, 77.3 inches in width, and 71.5 inches in height. The Explorer is 198.9 inches long, 78.9 inches wide, and 69.9 inches tall. The Traverse is more in line with the Grand Cherokee, measuring 204.3 inches in length, 78.6 inches in width, and 70.7 inches in height.

The wheelbase is 121.7 inches long, which makes it seven inches longer than the standard Grand Cherokee’s. The Explorer and Traverse’s wheelbases measure 119.1- and 120.9 inches, respectively. The front and rear tracks are an even 65.4 inches wide on the Grand Cherokee L, 66.9 each on the Explorer, and 67.3- and 67 inches on the Traverse, respectively.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L vs Ford Explorer vs Chevrolet Traverse Exterior Dimensions (inches)
Jeep Grand Cherokee L Ford Explorer Chevrolet Traverse
Length 204.9 198.9 204.3
Width 77.9 78.9 78.6
Height 71.5 69.9 70.7
Wheelbase 121.7 119.1 120.9
Front Track 65.4 66.9 67.3
Rear Track 65.4 66.9 67

How Much Can The Grand Cherokee L Tow And Haul

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019825

The Grand Cherokee L can tow up to 6,200 pounds with the V-6 engine, and up to 7,200 pounds with the 5.7-liter, V-8 mill.

The maximum payload capacity is rated at 1,410 pounds. The Limited trim offers this. The lowest payload is rated on the Summit trim – 1,200 pounds.

How Much Does The Grand Cherokee L Weigh?

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019832

The Grand Cherokee L weighs anywhere between 4,618 and 5,353 pounds, depending on the trim, engine option, and drive layout.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Interior Design

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019799
On the inside, there’s a 10.25-inch frameless digital instrument cluster. A 10.1-inch touchscreen is offered on the higher trims and an 8.4-inch touchscreen on the base trims

You can have your Grand Cherokee L with either a bench seat for the second row or two bucket seats. That said, the SUV is more than just an extra row in the Grand Cherokee. It comes with a whole lot of tech features as well. It features a large 10.25-inch frameless digital instrument cluster that shows a lot of drive-related data.

There’s a 10.1-inch touchscreen on the center console on the higher trims. The base trims come with a slightly smaller 8.4-inch touchscreen system.
Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019784

The touchscreen runs on the FCA’s UConnect 5 infotainment system. It supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Alexa “Home to Car” and “Car to Home” features, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot that can connect up to eight wireless devices, etc. It also allows you to set five user profiles plus a valet mode. This way, you won’t have to customize your seat position, mirror angles, climate comfort levels, music preferences, apps, etc. every time someone else chauffer’s the SUV.

If you’re looking for plusher interior, you need to check out the top-spec Summit Reserve. It comes with standard and optional stuff like:

  • Tupelo interior color
  • Ventilated front- and second-row seats
  • Memory and massage front seats
  • Suede-like fabric on A-pillars and headliner
  • Hand-wrapped, quilted Palermo leather upholstery
  • Steering wheel finished in leather and ‘Absolute Oak,
  • Waxed Walnut wood accents for the steering wheel
  • A 10-inch head-up display
  • McIntosh sound system
  • CommandView dual-pane sunroof
  • Four-zone automatic climate control

Is The Grand Cherokee L Spacious?

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019809

The Grand Cherokee L offers 39.8 inches of headroom, 41.3 inches of legroom, 59.2 inches of shoulder room, and 57.4 inches of hip room in the first row. The Explorer trumps it with headroom of 40.7 inches, legroom of 43 inches, shoulder room 61.8 inches, and hip room of 59.2 inches. The Traverse offers 39.6 inches of headroom, 41 inches of legroom, 62.1 inches of shoulder room, and 58.1 inches of hip room in the first row.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019770

In the second row, the Jeep SUV offers 39.9 inches of headroom, 39.4 inches of legroom, 58 inches of shoulder room and, 56.3 inches of hip room. The Explorer offers 40.5 inches of headroom, 39 inches of legroom, 61.9 inches of shoulder room, 59.1 inches of hip room. The Chevy offers 39 inches of headroom, 38.4 inches of legroom, 62.2 inches of shoulder room, and 56.9 inches of hip room.

In the third row, you get 37.3 inches of headroom, 30.3 inches of legroom, 51.9 inches of shoulder room, and 42.9 inches of hip room on the Grand Cherokee L. The Explorer’s headroom in the third-row measures 38.9 inches, legroom measures 32.2 inches, shoulder room 54.6 inches, and hip room 40.9 inches. The Traverse offers headroom of 38.2 inches, legroom of 33.5 inches, shoulder room of 57.5 inches, and hip room of 48.5 inches.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L vs Ford Explorer vs Chevrolet Traverse Interior Dimensions (inches)
Jeep Grand Cherokee L Ford Explorer Chevrolet Traverse
1st Row Headroom 39.8 40.7 39.6
1st Row Legroom 41.3 43 41
1st Row Shoulder room 59.2 61.8 62.1
1st Row Hip room 57.4 59.2 58.1
2nd Row Headroom 39.9 40.5 39
2nd Row Legroom 39.4 39 38.4
2nd Row Shoulder room 58 61.9 62.2
2nd Row Hip room 56.3 59.1 56.9
3rd Row Headroom 37.3 38.9 38.2
3rd Row Legroom 30.3 32.2 33.5
3rd Row Shoulder room 51.9 54.6 57.5
3rd Row Hip room 42.9 40.9 48.5

How Much Cargo Space Does The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Offer?

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019843
The Grand Cherokee L offers a cargo space of 17.2 cubic feet behind the third row, 46.9 cubic feet behind the second row, and 84.6 cubic feet of space behind the first row

The Grand Cherokee L offers a cargo space of 17.2 cubic feet behind the third row. Flip the third row and you have 46.9 cubic feet of space. Fold the second row, too, and you have 84.6 cubic feet of space available at your disposal. This is the lowest of the lot. The Ford Explorer offers 18.2 cubic feet behind the third row, 47.9 cubic feet behind the second row, and 87.8 cubic feet behind the first row. This is despite being smaller than the Jeep in terms of dimensions.

The Traverse offers 23 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 57.8 cubic feet of space behind the second row, and a massive 98.2 cubic feet of space behind the first row.

How Much Does The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Cost?

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019839

This is how the Jeep Grand Cherokee L is priced:

  • Laredo (4x2)- $36,995
  • Altitude (4x2) - $40,195
  • Limited (4x2) - $43,995
  • Overland (4x2) - $52,995
  • Overland V-8 (4x4) - $58,290
  • Summit (4x2) - $56,995
  • Summit V-8 (4x4) - $62,290
  • Summit Reserve (4x4) - $61,995
  • Summit Reserve V-8 (4x4) - $65,290

The four-wheel-drive options cost $2,000 extra on every trim. Also, these prices don’t include the $1,695 destination charge.

Our example was the Overland 4x4 that has a base price of $54,995. And, with all the optional equipment, it had a sticker price of $63,515.

How Is The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Compared To The Ford Explorer?

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 973289

The Ford Explorer is one of the safest bets in this segment. It isn’t as plush and luxurious as mid-size SUVs like the Hyundai Palisade, the Kia Telluride, or even the Grand Cherokee L. While it may not have the finesse of some of its rivals, you still can’t go wrong with it. The base trims come with an eight-inch touchscreen and the higher trim with a 10.1-inch touchscreen system. For the 2021 model, the company has tweaked the lineup to offer more standard and optional stuff on the lower-end trim.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 973298

It comes with three engines in four different configurations. The standard engine option on the Explorer is a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder EcoBoost engine that puts out 300 horses and 310 pound-feet of torque. 365 horses and 380 pound-feet of torque. The same engine in the ST Trim makes 400 horses and 415 pound-feet of oomph. If you want something more efficient, there’s also a 3.3-liter, V-6 engine hybrid engine paired with an electric motor. It puts out 318 horses as standard. Power is routed to the wheels via a 10-speed automatic gearbox with all the engines. You can opt for either the rear-wheel-drive configuration, or a four-wheel-drive layout.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 973292

If you need something off-road friendly, Ford introduced the Timberline trim on the Explorer. It comes with stuff like a four-wheel-drive system, 3.58 Torsen limited-slip rear axle, Trailer Sway Control, Terrain Management system, etc. The 2021 Explorer starts at $32,925 and goes all the way up to $52,730.

How Is The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Compared To The Chevrolet Traverse?

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven Exterior High Resolution
- image 966239

If you’re looking for a mid-size three-row SUV that’s mighty spacious, the Traverse should make it to the top of your list. It is offered in seven trims in total. The lower trims don’t offer much in terms of specs, but the higher trims are well-loaded. Starting from mid-trims, you get stuff like leather upholstery, 20-inch wheels, etc. Unlike the big touchscreens that the rivals offer, the Traverse comes with an eight-inch touchscreen system even in its top spec.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven Interior High Resolution
- image 966233

Unlike the Ford Explorer that comes with multiple engine options, the Chevy Traverse comes with just one - a 3.6-liter, V-6 engine that produces 310 ponies and 266 pound-feet of twist. Power is sent to the wheels via a nine-speed automatic gearbox. On paper, the engine doesn’t seem too powerful. But, it offers enough punch and grunt for you to be able to pull effortlessly in almost all conditions.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven Exterior High Resolution
- image 966237

If you think some things aren’t in line with the rival models (the touchscreen, for instance), that’s because Chevy carried over the Traverse as it is for the 2021 model. All the changes expected on the 2021 model will be made to the 2022 model, and probably some more. The 2021 Chevrolet Traverse starts at $36,395 and stretches all the way up to $52,395.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Jeep Grand Cherokee L - Driven High Resolution
- image 1019861
Swipe up to read about the Jeep Grand Cherokee L in detail

The Grand Cherokee L comes with features like:

  • Active Lane Management
  • Adaptive Cruise with Stop-and-Go
  • Advanced Braking Assist
  • Blind-Spot Monitoring
  • Full-Speed Collision Warning with Automatic Emergency Braking System
  • Lane-Keep Assist and Lane-Departure Warning
  • Rear Cross-Path Detection
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System

The driver-assistance features include:

  • 360-degree Camera
  • Active Driving Assist
  • Drowsy Driver Detection
  • Intersection Collision Alert
  • Night Vision Camera
  • Traffic-sign Recognition

Source: Photo Credit: Phil Daix

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
About the author

Related Articles

The Fifth-Gen 2022 Grand Cherokee Looks Fresh, Comes With A Ton Of Tech, And Features A New Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain!

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: