All-new Jeep Grand Cherokee: posh SUV is no Yank tank

  • Large, family friendly SUV focuses on luxury
  • Plug-in hybrid option could boost popularity
  • Five seats only – for now – reaches UK in 2022

If you placed a bet on the first all-new car of 2021 being an SUV, you won’t have made a massive return on your winnings following the reveal of this box-fresh Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Although strictly speaking, the car you see in the pictures here – the seven-seater, North American market Jeep Grand Cherokee L – isn’t the version that will go on sale in Britain, initially at least.

> Revealed: Best new cars to look forward to in 2021

Grey 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L side elevation driving

What will arrive here will be unveiled later in 2021, but the five-seater Grand Cherokee is likely to look very similar to this, albeit with shorter rear doors and a less bulky tail.

It will be the fifth-generation of Grand Cherokee to be sold in the UK and, like its predecessors, it will be touted as a rival to the European establishment in the forms of the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Range Rover Sport.

All of them are available with seven seats, hence why we think Jeep wouldn’t be wise to rule out the Grand Cherokee L potentially having role to play here in the future. 

What do we know about the new Grand Cherokee so far?

Jeep has ushered in a wealth of fresh technology for its Detroit-built Grand Cherokee, including an all-new structure which employs a greater degree of high-strength steel in its construction. Not only should this improve rigidity, which in turn will benefit how well it drives on-road, it should deliver an impressively high safety score when tested by Euro NCAP.

Being a Jeep, where go-anywhere agility is demanded by buyers, the Grand Cherokee is equipped with three different four-wheel drive systems of varying complexity, although which will be offered to British consumers won’t be confirmed for some time.

Grey 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L front three-quarter driving

Recognising four-wheel drive isn’t always needed, the system can automatically disconnect power to the front wheels for regular on-road driving, improving fuel efficiency as a result, switching it back on the moment additional traction is required.

Adaptive air suspension – Quadra-Lift in Jeepspeak – is claimed to not only improve the Grand Cherokee’s comfort and handling when on the black stuff, being able to increase the ride height to a maximum of 276.8mm when on rough terrain means it will also wade through water up to 609mm deep – a substantial 101mm improvement over its predecessor.

Which engines are available?

So far, both of the confirmed engines in the Grand Cherokee L relate to the North American markets and consist of a 290hp 3.6-litre V6 and a 357hp 5.7-litre V8, both fuelled by petrol.

Whether either of these come to the UK is to be confirmed, but Jeep has sold sporty SRT versions of the Grand Cherokee before with grunty V8 engines.

Grey 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L rear three-quarter

An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard fare regardless of which engine is chosen.

There’s no word yet on diesels – although such a motor is vital for European sales – but Jeep has confirmed that a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version, badged 4xe, will also be revealed later in 2021. No word yet on which engine will be fitted or how far it will be able to travel using battery power alone.

Given the way the market is developing, it’s also likely that a fully electric Jeep Grand Cherokee will become available during this model’s life-cycle, perhaps on sale before the middle of this decade.

New Grand Cherokee is packed with technology

Based on these first official photos, the interior of the seven-seater Grand Cherokee L looks comfy and inviting, but doesn’t break any new ground stylistically.

Dominating the wood-and-leather-trimmed dashboard are a 10.25-inch digital instrument binnacle, plus a 10.1-inch multimedia touchscreen sat in the centre.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L dashboard

Depending on the trim level, features include a glazed panoramic roof, climate control with up to four temperature zones, multicoloured ambient mood lighting, a 19-speaker McIntosh sound system and up to 12 – yes, twelve – USB sockets.

One interesting feature, using the central multimedia screen to display its images, is a roof-mounted camera that allows those in the front to monitor occupants in the rear. Sounds a little Big Brother-ish, but potentially very useful for keeping tabs on small children or pets in the back of the car.

Other tech to make driving safer includes lane-centring adaptive cruise control, a full-colour head-up display (HUD), a 360-degree camera system, a digital rear-view mirror to give an improved view of what’s going on behind the car and a night vision package that can highlight people and large animals up to 200m ahead that might not otherwise be seen with headlamps alone.

What this means for you

We expect prices to be confirmed – and order books to open for British customers – towards the end of this year, with first deliveries of right-hand drive Grand Cherokees in early 2022.

Somewhat speculatively, the new Grand Cherokee’s underpinnings could prove lucrative for the newly formed Stellantis combine, of which Jeep is part, along with Alfa Romeo, Citroen, DS, Fiat, Peugeot and Vauxhall among others.

Given how important large SUVs are in North America and China in particular, rebodied and re-engineered versions of the Grand Cherokee marketed by some of those other marques are a distinct possibility, but it’s unlikely that all would eventually be offered to UK consumers.

Parkers will be among the first to drive the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee, so keep this page bookmarked for the latest news and views.

Further reading:

>> How good is the outgoing Jeep Grand Cherokee? Read our review

>> What are the best seven-seaters currently on sale? Find out here

>> Learn how much your car is worth with a Parkers valuation

Grey 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L side elevation driving