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Jeep goes after Prado with all-new Grand Cherokee L

Jeep redesigns the Grand Cherokee large SUV and adds an L, here late Q4

8 Jan 2021

JEEP has debuted its all-new Grand Cherokee L large SUV with the brand holding some high hopes for its biggest family hauler as well as adding a third row of seating to the equation and the future addition of a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) 4xe version.


Due to arrive in Australia at the end of the year, the new model rides on an all-new platform and brandishes a bold new look compared to its predecessor with the overall theme being one of aggression and muscularity thanks to the extensive use of squares and parallel lines.


The front fascia is adorned with the latest version of Jeep’s signature seven-slot grille below which resides a large intake, flanked on either side by two smaller ones also encompassing the foglights.


The slimline LED headlights sit high up directly under the bonnet line, complemented nicely by a matching set of tail-lights at the rear where the parallel theme is continued save for two diagonal lines which carve out the boot release button and numberplate mount.


Viewed from the side, the Grand Cherokee L sports a lower belt-line and bigger glasshouse than its predecessor while the wheelbase is a sizeable 176mm longer at 3091mm.


The overall silhouette closely resembles that of the similarly sized Hyundai Palisade with plenty of rear overhang on account of the new third row – there is even a similar piece of chrome trim running along the roofline and down the back of the D-pillar (C-pillar on the Palisade).


In an interesting move, the Grand Cherokee L will initially be offered in both six and seven-seat guises – the six-seater has pilot seats in the second row – while the more familiar two-row variants will follow Stateside later in the year.


Under the skin is independent suspension on all four corners while an adaptive air-sprung set-up will also be available in North America – unconfirmed for Australia – which can lower the ride height at speed by 21mm to aid on-road dynamics.


As for the engines, the familiar duo of the 3.6-litre V6 and 5.7-litre Hemi V8 petrol mills will be making a return largely unchanged, producing 216kW/348Nm and 266kW/529Nm respectively.


Both powerplants send their power to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission however drive to the front axle can be automatically disconnected if the ECU senses all-wheel drive is not necessary.


In keeping with the brand’s heritage, Jeep claims the new Grand Cherokee L will deliver “improved unrivalled capability” off-road across the range with three different 4x4 systems and combinations available depending on the variant.


The Quadra-Trac I system is the most basic of the lot and goes without low-range or a limited-slip/locking rear differential, the former omission being fixed by Quadra-Trac II.


Quadra-Drive II meanwhile comes with the full suite of low-range paired with an electronic limited slip differential (rear).


Literally upping the ante even further is the previously mentioned optional Quadra-Lift air suspension which can increase the ground clearance (212mm standard) to up to 278mm.


Not only does this increase clearance but wading depth too, which is rated at 610mm.


Other off-road focused features include the six-mode Selec-Terrain traction management system and hill-descent control while the key angles are 30.1 degrees (approach) and 23.6 degrees (departure) with a 22.6-degree breakover angle.


Standard equipment highlights include an 8.4-inch or 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system, five user profiles, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual Bluetooth connectivity, Alexa “Home to Car” functionality, new Uconnect mobile app, TomTom satellite navigation, over-the-air updates for Maps and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.


Range-wide safety technology meanwhile consists of collision warning with active braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection, rear cross-path detection, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, active lane management, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, advanced brake assist, blind-spot monitoring, parkview rear back-up camera, parksense rear park assist sensors, switch-activated electric park brake and tyre-pressure monitoring.


Global Jeep president Christian Meunier said the new Grand Cherokee L was crafted to “exceed expectations and do what no other SUV can do” in blending “legendary Jeep 4x4 off-road capability” with “superior on-road manners”.


“It is built on an all-new architecture and wrapped in a stunning new design that honours its iconic Jeep design heritage, while also extending to accommodate a third row to meet the growing needs of our Jeep customers who have asked for more space and functionality,” he said.


Jeep Australia sold 2870 Grand Cherokees last year, accounting for 3.1 per cent of the sub-$70,000 large SUV segment, a far cry from the 18,034 Prados (19.8%) sold by Toyota, perhaps the Grand Cherokee’s most logical rival.

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