Jeep is known for its off-road prowess and also for being the original “4×4”. However while the world is increasingly falling in love with the 4×4 luxury SUV, the concept of that kind of car has changed drastically over the years. These days it is less about its ability to crawl over rocks and more about the ability to nonchalantly soak up in the miles in utter luxury, along with a commanding view of the road of course.
Hence the company has shifted its priorities in that direction with the new Jeep Grand Cherokee L. This is the new model that Jeep has been talking about all these years. And this expands the Grand Cherokee range. The three-row luxury SUV is a big draw. So the newest member of the Jeep family sports that, along with an all-new architecture.
However before we dig deeper, the new Grand Cherokee L is still a proper Jeep. By that we mean no less than three 4×4 systems are offered: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive IIs plus air suspension and Selec-Terrain traction management. Off-road enthusiasts will also like the fact that there is an active transfer case available as standard.
The Selec-Terrain system for the Jeep Grand Cherokee meanwhile offers five available terrain modes (Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow, Mud/Sand) while it works with the engine, suspension, steering, braking and more vehicle systems. It’s about optimizing the car to handle any off-road/on-road environment.
Jeep Grand Cherokee: Two engine options
No doubt the aforementioned new architecture reduces weight and also enhances the dynamic behavior with less roll. On offer is also a pair of new engines, including a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, which generates 290 horsepower and 257 lb.-ft. of torque.
However if that doesn’t cut it then there is a V8 to indulge yourself in with displacing 5.7-liters along with 357 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. Jeep has also thrown in cylinder deactivation (helps reduce fuel consumption and emissions) to calm the environmentalists – so fret not about getting the V8!
A more streamlined design
The new Jeep Grand Cherokee L features a more streamlined design with slimmer LED headlamps and “relaxed” surfacing. However Jeep has taken inspiration from its Wagoneer. That was first full-size luxury SUV from Jeep. The original DNA of the rugged Jeep luxury 4×4 is carried over. The new SUV also features a longer hood and a softer iteration of the seven-slot grille. There are 21-inch wheels and tires but the look is less butch and more elegant than other Jeep SUVs in hindsight.
Inside the interior is arguably a bigger triumph over the exterior. There’s a nice amalgamation of open pore wood, leather and metal with a horizontal theme running across the entire cabin. Amidst all there is plenty of gadgetry on offer with a pair of screens occupying the centre and the driver instrument panel.
As is the segment norm, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee L luxury SUV comes equipped with driver-assist technologies. Leading the way: adaptive cruise control, highway assist, night vision, drowsy driver detection and speed limit traffic signs display.
There is also interior LED lighting, heated/ventilated and massage seats, while the third-row offers enough space for actual humans. And this is the first car in the world to have a McIntosh audio sound system with 950 watts and 19 speakers.
Overall the new Grand Cherokee L carves a fine line between new-found luxury while still sporting the original Jeep DNA. There will be more variants in the pipeline, including a plug-in-hybrid, while expect to see the new Cherokee L in the showrooms by the second quarter of this year. Pricing tops out in the $70,000 range.