Can new 7-seat Grand Cherokee save Jeep in Oz?

ByDean MellorJanuary 8, 2021
Can new 7-seat Grand Cherokee save Jeep in Oz?

The all-new seven-seat 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee has just been revealed in the US and it’s scheduled to go on sale in Australia later this year. Can it be a saviour for the struggling 4X4 brand Down Under?

The all-new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee can’t arrive here soon enough for Jeep with the brand selling only 5748 new vehicles in Australia in 2020. For reference, market leader Toyota sold over 200,000 vehicles in Australia last year, and even Land Rover managed more with 6000+ sales, while Chinese upstarts MG and LDV did even better with 15,000+ and 9000+ sales respectively.

The Grand Cherokee is easily Jeep’s best-selling 4X4 nameplate in Australia and the company no doubt hopes this new model will give the brand a much-needed boost.

What is it?

The new fifth-generation Grand Cherokee is built on an all-new platform and it’s grown from the previous five-seat wagon into a three-row seven-seat wagon. While the previous generation Grand Cherokee was built on a Mercedes-Benz platform, this new one features all-new architecture with new independent suspension front and rear, while top-spec models will get electronic adaptive damping.

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Three rows and seven seats.

Initially, Jeep says Grand Cherokee will be offered in the US with a 3.6L V6 engine (216kW/348Nm) or a 5.7L V8 (266kW/529Nm), with a 4xe electrified version scheduled to debut later in 2021. The V6 has a 2800kg towing capacity while the V8 has a 3200kg towing capacity. Both petrol engines are mated exclusively to an eight-speed auto transmission.

There’s no mention of a diesel offering in the new Grand Cherokee line-up, which would no doubt be a concern for Jeep’s Australian arm.

All New 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland

All-new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland

Next-generation technologies on the new Grand Cherokee include a revised Uconnect system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, windshield Head-up Display (HUD), digital rearview mirror, frameless digital cluster, rear-seat monitoring camera and an exclusive and premium 960-watt, 19-speaker McIntosh audio sound system.

The Grand Cherokee will also be equipped with advanced safety and security features including L2 driver-assist systems with hands-on automated driving, along with 360-degree surround view and night vision cameras. Jeep adds that an advanced hands-free L2 automated driving system will be available in late 2021.

All New 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland

The new Jeep Grand Cherokee has a longer wheelbase than its predecessor.

Off-road kit

The US-market Grand Cherokee L will be available with a choice of 4X4 systems: Quadra-Trac I (single-range), Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II with rear electronic limited slip-differential (eLSD). All three systems have an active transfer case to improve traction by delivering torque to the wheel with the most grip.

Ride-height adjustable Quadra-Lift air suspension now features electronic adaptive damping that automatically adjusts the shock tuning to changing road conditions for enhanced comfort, stability and control. In its highest setting, Jeep says the Grand Cherokee offers 277mm of ground clearance and a water fording depth of 610mm. Quadra-Lift air suspension endows the Grand Cherokee L with a 30.1-degree approach angle, a 23.6-degree departure angle and 22.6-degree breakover angle. An Aero mode lowers the vehicle on-road for fuel efficiency and there’s also a Park mode for easy cabin ingress/egress.

The Grand Cherokee’s Selec-Train system offers five terrain modes (Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow, Mud/Sand) to provide optimised calibrations for any given terrain. When fitted with the optional Off-Road Group package, the Grand Cherokee Overland comes fitted with high-strength steel skid plates, electronic limited slip differential rear axle, 18-inch aluminium wheels and rugged, all-season performance tyres.

All New 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland


The proportions of the new Grand Cherokee were inspired by the original Jeep Wagoneer. “The Jeep design team envisioned a modern aesthetic for the all-new 2021 Grand Cherokee L – they worked to sculpt it down and gave it a clean and updated premium appearance tailored for today’s customer,” Mark Allen, Head of Jeep Exterior Design, FCA said. “The design for the first-ever three-row Grand Cherokee pays respect to its heritage and honours its utilitarian roots. The results reflect its premium characteristics, contemporary style and legendary capability that has defined the Grand Cherokee since its inception.”

On the inside the Grand Cherokee gets a 10.1-inch display for the new Uconnect 5 system, and a 10.25-inch frameless digital gauge cluster with nearly two dozen different menus, while the centre console is highlighted by an all-new drive-control centre with a backlit, metal rotary shifter that delivers haptic feedback. The shifter is flanked by the ride height and Selec-Terrain switches, while an optional front bin can charge two devices simultaneously.

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The Summit Reserve model’s interior features standard 10-inch display screens, including a frameless digital gauge cluster and 10.1-inch Uconnect 5 touchscreen radio.

Mopar options

In the US, Jeep says it will offer more than 75 factory-engineered Mopar parts and accessories for the new Grand Cherokee including integrated side steps, three-row all-weather floor mats and cargo mats, moulded splash guards, paint-protection film, roof-rack cross bars, rock rails and unique 21-inch Mopar wheels. Mopar parts will be backed by a full factory warranty.

Keep an eye out for more details on the Aussie-spec 2021 Grand Cherokee later this year.