India-bound fifth-gen 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L revealed
Jeep has taken the wraps off the fifth generation of its flagship SUV, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L. This new WL generation SUV is the first ground-up change for the Grand Cherokee since 2011 and is available as a three-row model for the first time. Notably, Jeep India has recently confirmed that this generation of the Grand Cherokee will be locally assembled in India by 2022.
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee sits on a new architecture that combines high-strength steel with strategically added aluminium components to improve strength and rigidity. The six or seven-seater is longer and wider than the car it replaces with a 3,091mm wheelbase. The styling is heavily reminiscent of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept from last year with many of the new Jeep styling cues that that SUV debit making its way here. There are much slimmer LED headlamps now, the seven-slat grille has shrunk considerably while becoming deeper set, and there is a much more prominent rectangular air dam. The new dimensions give the car a more squared-off stance while the bodywork along the sides has become flatter with a prominent beltline being added to the lower glasshouse. The glasshouse itself has been treated to a floating effect accentuated by the wide D-pillar. At the rear, the taillamps have been made slimmer and wider with a bulging bottom section. Wheel sizes go up to 21-inches sat in the traditionally square Jeep wheel arches.
As we saw with 2021 Jeep Compass facelift, interiors from the brand have moved significantly upmarket. And with this being the flagship, things look even plusher. The UConnect 5 infotainment system from the Compass debuts here with a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.1-inch central touchscreen. There is a new two-part dash layout with the stepped middle section, slim air vents and a flowing centre section. This houses a rotary dial and toggle switches for the terrain modes and suspension height adjustment. A mix of richer materials and trims have been added, depending on the chosen variant. The new Jeep steering wheel has been added here too, along with 16-way adjustable front seats with ventilation and massaging, optional on the second row. Other feature highlights are the dual-pane sunroof, four-zone climate control, a 19-speaker McIntosh audio system, ambient lighting and 12 charging ports. The Grand Cherokee is available in Laredo, Limited, Overland, Summit and topping-out with the Summit Reserve.
While not as capable off-road as the Wrangler, the Grand Cherokee continues with an extensive set of 4x4 functions many seen for the first time. There are three 4x4 systems to chose from Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II with a rear electronic limited-slip differential. Quadra-Trac I uses a single-speed transfer case that can send 100 per cent of the available torque to the wheel with the most traction. The Quadra-Trac II offers the same functionality with an added low-range gear for more capability. Finally, the Quadra-Drive II adds the LSD to this system for even more serious off-road use.
Another new addition to the Grand Cherokee is the Quadra-Lift air suspension with active damping. This system works automatically or can be controlled through five settings. In Normal mode, there is 212mm of ground clearance. In Off-road 1, ride height increases by 40mm giving clearance over obstacles as tall as 251mm. Then in Off-road II, ride height increases a further 20mm. In this mode, the Grand Cherokee has 277mm of ground clearance(9 per cent more than earlier) and a water wading depth of 604mm(20 per cent more than before). In Park mode, the Grand Cherokee drops by 42mm from its normal height for easier ingress/egress. There's also an Aero mode for on-road driving in Sport mode or highway speeds that reduces height by 21mm from normal for better aerodynamic efficiency. The Grand Cherokee L features a 30.1-degree approach angle, a 23.6-degree departure angle and 22.6-degree breakover angle with this suspension option chosen. As with other Jeeps, the five-mode (Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow, Mud/Sand) SelecTerrain 4x4 management system is also fitted to the Grand Cherokee with hill-descent control. This tailors the SUV's powertrain, suspension, pedals, steering and safety systems for use in different conditions.
In the US market where this car has made its debut, the engine options are a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with 290PS and 348 Nm and a 5.7-litre V8 with 357PS and 529 Nm. Both engines feature start-stop with the V8 adding cylinder deactivation. An eight-speed torque converter is mated to both engines. For the Indian market, however, we expect to see the 3.0-litre V6 diesel from the US-spec Wrangler with 260PS and 600 Nm and a detuned version of the 3.0-litre turbo-petrol from the Levante with around 300PS and 500 Nm.
The Grand Cherokee also offers a full suite of advanced driver assistance systems with Level 2 autonomous capability, which may or may not come to the Indian market. What could make its way here includes a night-vision display in the instrument cluster, a digital rear-view mirror and an in-cabin camera.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee L will go on sale in the USA exclusively in late mid-2021. Later in 2021, the five-seater Grand Cherokee debuts which is most likely the version that comes to India. A 4xe plug-in hybrid will also come alongside it. When launched in India, we expect the Grand Cherokee to be priced between Rs 70-80 lakh ex-showroom and compete with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLE and BMW X5.
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