With a brand new architecture featuring adaptive suspension and air-ride, this 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee finally has space for seven passengers for the first time
This is the pinnacle right here, this is it – seven seats. Think about it, you walk into a dealership, you see the six-seater, there’s the seven-seater right beside it. Which one are you going to pick? Bingo.
Unless of course someone comes up with eight… Like Chevrolet with the eight-seater Traverse. But let’s not spoil Jeep’s parade.
This is the new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and I mean all-new, not like when it’s ‘all-new’. Well, the engine is 20 years old, but the architecture is a clean sheet. There’s loads of tricks, like aluminium and magnesium, latest-generation steel grades, extra welds all over to improve rigidity, and a new front axle design that bolts on directly to the engine to improve noise, vibration and harshness.
Compared to the old five-seater, the 2021 model has a wheelbase increased by 176mm with a second row of seats that tip and slide and an optional electrically-folding third row.
Besides the old 357-horsepower 5.7-litre V8 you can also get started with the new Grand Cherokee powered by a 3.6-litre naturally-aspirated V6 featuring cylinder deactivation and rated at 290 horsepower. Either way you get an eight-speed automatic transmission, with a choice of three all-wheel drive systems (Jeep calls them Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II) depending on how bad your driveway is.
The big deal is the interior, now in a three-row configuration to seat seven passengers in a Grand Cherokee for the first time. A 10-inch dash display is also standard, as is the frameless digital driver’s console. Jeep says the you can have a cabin wrapped in thick, quilted leather and open-pore walnut, with toys such as wireless connectivity, head-up display, night vision camera, digital rearview mirror, 950-watt, 19-speaker sound system and plenty more.
The design comes clearly inspired by classic Wagoneers and Cherokees. It’s not quite Roy Lunn’s XJ, but the new SUV is blocky enough with clean lines to appear fit for purpose.
Jeep will start selling the seven-seater 2021 Grand Cherokee from Q2, with plans for an electrified model later this year as well as a two-row version for those who just don’t get it.