New SUV

Redesigned 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee gets beefy, adds tech, keeps engines

Jeep has redesigned the Jeep Grand Cherokee and added a new three-row Grand Cherokee L to its lineup.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is getting grander for the 2021 model year as part of a fifth-generation (WL) overhaul. Highlights of the redesign including an overhauled exterior and interior design, fresh technology, and the same engine availability as the 2020 model.

Jeep will offer the Grand Cherokee in two body styles: a two-row Grand Cherokee and a three-row Grand Cherokee L. The Grand Cherokee L, with its 6.9-inch longer wheelbase than the 2020 model, will go into production first with the two-row variant following by the end of the year barring any complications. The current two-row, fourth-generation Grand Cherokee will continue for the 2021 model year and a new two-row will be introduced at a later date, likely as a 2022 model.

Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Overland exterior The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve (left) and 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland (right).Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Grand Cherokee L will be offered in Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit trim levels. It is expected that the model will compete directly with the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, and Chevrolet Traverse.

The new Grand Cherokee's looks are in line with the Wagoneer concept vehicle that was showcased in late-2020 and Jeep's team says that they were a bit inspired by the original Wagoneer. The comparison starts up front where the Grand Cherokee's take on the classic seven-slot Jeep grille shows off the width of the vehicle and is flanked by standard LED headlights and daytime running lights. The grille hides active shuttering and driver assistance and safety technology. LED fog lights sit low to illuminate the close-up road ahead.

A gloss black roof is standard on the Grand Cherokee L Overland and available on the Grand Cherokee L Summit. It slopes backward in Lincoln Aviator-like fashion toward blade-like horizontal taillights. The roof is accented by a wraparound chrome piece of trim and comes with a fresh roof rack design that has just one side rail cap.

The tailgate features vertical rear spoiler. Jeep has tucked the car's rearview camera with washer into the spoiler and added a LED center high-mounted stop lamp for additional visibility. An integrated tow hitch over and fascia-mounted exhaust tips are standard. Overland and Summit models come standard with a hands-free, foot-activated power liftgate.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve: Exterior

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Though it has a fancy new exterior, the Grand Cherokee L has Jeep's tried-and-true 4x4 systems, Quadra-Lift air suspension, and Selec-Terrain traction management system. The vehicle's new architecture is designed to work in tandem with the systems to deliver improved noise, vibration, and harshness to the cabin occupants without sacrificing capability.

The air suspension features five settings, each either raising or lowering the height of the vehicle to improve performance in a specific situation. The SUV's normal ride height is 8.3 inches. Off-road 1 lifts the vehicle an additional 1.6 inches to allow 9.9 inches of ground clearance. Off-road 2 goes further offering 2.4 inches of ground clearance over normal ride height and up to 24 inches of water fording depth. Park Mode lowers the vehicle 1.8 inches from its normal ride height while Aero Mode lowers the vehicle just 0.8 inches from its normal height. All modes are driver-controlled except Aero Mode, which happens automatically when in Sport Mode.

With the available Quadra-Lift air suspension, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L features a 30.1-degree approach angle, a 23.6-degree departure angle and 22.6-degree breakover angle.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland: Exterior

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Grand Cherokee L 4x4 also gets front axle disconnect. If the vehicle senses that road conditions do not require all-wheel drive, the front axle disconnect automatically places the Grand Cherokee L in two-wheel drive, reducing drag on the driveline and improving fuel economy. Four-wheel drive automatically re-engages when the vehicle senses it is needed.

Jeep's Selec-Terrain system offers five available terrain modes (Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow, Mud/Sand) in the Grand Cherokee L. There's also hill descent control. An Off-Road Group Package is available that gives the Trail Rated Overland 4x4 model high-strength steel skid plates, an electronic limited slip differential rear axle, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and rugged, all-season performance tires.

The Grand Cherokee Limited and Laredo ride on 18-inch wheels while the Overland and Summit get standard 20-inchers. Adding the Summit Reserve Package to the model gives it 21-inch wheels. The 2021 Grand Cherokee L has a track that is 36 millimeters wider than the 2020 Grand Cherokee.

The doors of the model open wider in this generation than the last. They open 64 degrees with an ingress/egress exterior side step.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve: Interior Design

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Buyers can get their Grand Cherokee L with their choice of one of two offered powertrains, both of which are carryovers from the 2020 Grand Cherokee. The standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 delivers 290 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque. It comes with a 6,200-pound towing capacity and has a range of 500 miles on a single tank of gas. The available 5.7-liter V8 engine gives drivers access to 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. It has a class-leading towing capacity of 7,200 pounds. The engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The interior of the Grand Cherokee L features design lines meant to emphasize the width of the SUV. The model's center stack features a 10.1-inch infotainment screen that runs Uconnect 5, FCA's latest operating system. In front of the driver is 10.25-inch frameless digital gauge cluster.

High-quality materials and technology give the Grand Cherokee L a premium look. Glossy piano black finish features on the console while a metal rotary shifter rests nearby, along with the Selec-Trac switches. The front bin can hold two wireless devices that can charge simultaneously. There are 12 USB Type A and Type C ports in the vehicle. Personalized ambient lighting solutions are available.

The Grand Cherokee Summit features open-pore Absolute Oak natural wood accents while the Summit Reserve Package adds open-pore Waxed Walnut. That's on top of the leather upholstery that comes in the trim level.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland: Seating & Cargo Areas

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Upscale Overland and Summit models get a length-adjustable cushion in the front row. First-row seats with power 16-way adjustable position with memory and lumbar are available on Overland and standard on Summit. Those two models also are available with back massage capability with five customizable profiles and three levels of configuration.

Heated seats in the first two rows, with three-level configurable controls for personalized passenger comfort, are standard on Limited models and above. Ventilated front-row seats are available on Limited and standard on Overland and Summit models. Ventilated seats in the second row and a suede-like headliner that wraps around the A-pillar come standard on the Summit Reserve Package.

The second row comes with standard "tip and slide" bucket seats and a bench seat is available. The standard seats offer seven inches of fore/aft travel. Child safety seats installed in the second row do not have to be removed to access the third row. The second-row seats also recline 18 degrees. The third-row seat features a 50/50 split

Small item storage and cup holders are available for third-row passengers. The model seats six or seven depending on the configuration.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland: Infotainment

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Four-zone automatic climate control is standard on Summit models and offers four different temperature settings. The location of the vents in the vehicle have been changed from the 2020 model to offer more precise heating and cooling.

Like the Wagoneer concept, the Grand Cherokee L comes with a McIntosh audio sound system. It's available in Overland and Summit models and comes standard with the Summit Reserve Package. It features a 17-channel amplifier with a maximum output of 950 watts and 19 speakers, including a 10-inch subwoofer, to envelope vehicle occupants in high-definition sound.

Overland and Summit models also come with a dual-pane sunroof with a power sunshade. It's available on the Grand Cherokee L Limited. The Laredo model features an available single-pane sunroof.

Rear cargo volume behind the second row is increased of there 2020 Grand Cherokee, which is no surprise given its longer wheelbase. Both the second- and third-row seats fold forward into a flat-load floor. When the second- and third-row seats are folded flat, the maximum cargo space is 84.6 cu. ft. There is a remote release to fold the second-row seats flat from the cargo area (standard on Overland and Summit). Overland and Summit models come standard with a hands-free, foot-activated power liftgate.

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L offers more than 110 safety and security features. Buyers can equip their model with a host of driver assist technologies including adaptive cruise control, highway assist, night vision, drowsy driver detection, and speed limit traffic signs display. Hands-free driving capability is slated to arrive on the SUV for the 2022 model year, likely as a high-end add-on.

Jeep will make the Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee L at its new Detroit Assembly Complex – Mack Plant in Detroit.

Pricing for the Grand Cherokee L is expected to start around $40,000. The Grand Cherokee will likely be priced lower while the Grand Cherokee 4xe version will probably carry a far higher price tag.

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The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder arrives on dealer lots this summer.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder doesn't have to be capable of rock crawling or deep water fording. What it has to do is service the needs of families in their daily life and give them the opportunity to competently go off-roading on rocky trails should they desire. The new, fifth-generation models does just that and adds in enough nifty features to make it among the most compelling choices for three-row SUV buyers.

The 2022 Pathfinder is thoroughly modern though not the boxy off-roader it once was. The SUV's styling harkens back to that time with a tilted, darkened C-pillar and a return to a more muscular body style. That styling makes straightforward visibility good but for shorter drivers seeing what is immediately in front of the grille is a challenge that necessitates using surround view camera technology (available only in upper trim levels) when navigating challenging terrain.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can easily handle the roads less traveled.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 that offers up 291 horsepower and torque - plenty to do the job without complaint. The SUV's nine-speed automatic transmission replaces the continuously variable transmission (CVT) from the previous generation and delivers smooth shifts. Though low-end torque isn't as robust as I like it to be, once up over 35 mph, the Pathfinder's powertrain delivers smooth, powerful sailing.

The redesigned architecture and components underpinning the Pathfinder make it stable on the road and don't allow it to wallow on winding roads. Even off-road, the suspension provides the right blend of stability while the drive dynamics allowing the driver to feel engaged with their surroundings whether on freshly paved roads, city streets, or muddy trails.

Nissan has given the Pathfinder a 6,000-pound towing capacity and even when maxed out the engine's functionality is strong as ever. The transmission can get held up in a gear mid-range when performing this function, however, with 5,000-6,000 rpms registering on the tachometer but a quick release of the gas pedal recalibrates the offering bringing it down to a more traditional 2,000 rpm range.

The eight-seater Pathfinder clearly has the Toyota Highlander in its sights, with good reason. It's the top-selling three-row SUV in the country. Nissan boasts that three adults can fit across the rear bench seat of the Pathfinder and, as long as they're average size or smaller, the marketing talking point holds up. There is gobs more room back there than there is in the Highlander.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Nissan has given the Pathfinder ample cargo space.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Getting in and out of the third row is easy thanks to one-touch buttons on the outboard side of the second-row chairs that move the SUV's captain's seats forward creating enough room to get through to the back. Smartly, Nissan's engineers have put duplicates of these buttons on the back side of the same seats allowing third-row passengers to simply press the button to move the seat up.

The third row can also be accessed via a split between the captain's chairs as well, a space traditionally occupied by a center stowage bin/cup holders/arm rest. Owners can quickly remove the center console by opening a panel on the front and pulling the release mechanism. The one-handed operation takes seconds and the console can be easily stored in the under-floor trunk space behind the third row seat for ease.

Speaking of cargo space... The Pathfinder is one of the most spacious midsize SUVs on the market today for both passengers and cargo. There is a substantial amount of room behind the third-row seat and the under-floor storage area is nearly twice the size of the one in the Highlander. Plus, it has a feature that allows the area cover to be automatically propped up when pushed up by a user. This is especially help when carrying groceries or plants home and keeps them from being crushed.

The first- and second-row seats are suitably comfortable, even for extended periods of time and standard trig-zone climate control makes finding the right in-cabin mix easy. Bottle holders in the pockets of the front doors are exceptionally large, fitting even bulky water bottles.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder's front row seats are comfortable.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

In front of the driver is a standard tachometer, speedometer, and 7.0-inch driver information display. Buyers can upgrade to a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster and head-up display but they're not reason enough to upgrade to the top-tier Pathfinder Platinum on their own.

Nissan packs the new Pathfinder with a host of desirable features that make living with the Pathfinder easier including one-touch auto up/down windows, a wireless phone charger, grocery hooks in the rear cargo area, USB ports in all three rows, second-row sunshades, rear door keyless entry, wireless Apple CarPlay, and a motion-activated lift gate.

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is priced to start at $33,410 for the two-wheel drive S base model and $35,310 for the four-wheel drive S base model. The model tops out around $50,000 with destination and delivery included, which seems fair when comparing the Pathfinder to other vehicles in the market.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

If you're thinking of purchasing a Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, or Highlander, do yourself a favor and schedule a test drive of the new Pathfinder when it arrives at a dealer lot near you. You may just be surprised how seamlessly it fits into your daily life compared to the competition.

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The Grand Cherokee L features a third-row seat for the first time.

Jeep

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the longest running and most off-road capable SUVs on the market today. But for buyers needing to haul more than a few people, the Grand Cherokee wasn't the roomiest choice. To remedy that problem, Jeep created the Grand Cherokee L, a three-row version of the popular SUV that will go on sale in 2021. Today, Jeep announced pricing for the new stretched Grand Cherokee.


2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Pricing starts under $40,000.Jeep


The Grand Cherokee L is the first three-row SUV to wear the nameplate, and will land in 2021 with a starting price tag that comes in under $40,000. The SUV will include four trims: Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit. The base Laredo trim will start at $36,995, the mid-range Limited trim at $43,995, and the range-topping Overland trim at $52,995.

The base powertrain for Grand Cherokee L models involves a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 290 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive is available. As in previous models, the Grand Cherokee L will be available with a V8. Here, it produces 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque.


2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Higher trim levels can be quite plush.Jeep


Even the base Laredo trim gets a fairly generous list of standard features that include adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, LED exterior lighting, an 8.4-inch-inch infotainment display, a 10.25-inch frameless digital gauge cluster, and Uconnect 5. Top trims get upscale features like ventilated seats, navigation, a dual-pane sunroof, an electronic limited slip differential, and more.

The new Uconnect 5 infotainment system enables advanced capabilities, such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Grand Cherokee L will also be offered with a head-up display system, a digital rearview mirror, and a 950-watt McIntosh audio system.


2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L The Grand Cherokee L should bring better cargo space with seats folded down.Jeep


The three-row Grand Cherokee L beats its two-row counterpart to market. While the L is expected soon, Jeep says the standard Grand Cherokee and an electrified 4xe version are scheduled to debut later in 2021.

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