Recognizing that the market for mid-and large-sized SUVs has shifted from two rows of seats to three rows, Jeep has introduced a stretched seven-passenger three-row version of the all-new Grand Cherokee ahead of the two-row model.
While the new Grand Cherokee L contains a useable third row of seating that boasts reason ingress and egress plus its own dedicated HVAC vents and USB power plugs for personal devices, the “JEEP” lettering on the hood demands that it retains legitimate off-road capability.
In addition to a four-inch increase in water fording to a full two feet, the Grand Cherokee L can scramble up rocks and traverse huge ruts. On the road, the Grand Cherokee’s sophisticated independent front and rear suspension demonstrated the ability to slice through corners without the head shake common of off-roaders when encountering bumps on paved roads. There’s even a late-availability Level 2 driver assistance system planned.
Although it has an entirely new chassis, the Grand Cherokee’s powertrains are carried over unchanged from the outgoing model. That means a satisfactory 293-horsepower, 260 lb.-ft, 3.6-liter V6 engine that provides a towing capacity of 6,200 lbs. and a fuel-sipping driving range of nearly 500 miles.
The muscular 357-hp, 390-lb.-ft. 5.7-liter Hemi V8 boosts towing capacity to 7,200 lbs. Both engines continue with the 8-speed TorqueFlite planetary automatic transmission, which features the addition of a fluid pressure reservoir to ensure quick shifts following an engine restart from a stop/start cycle.
The new Grand Cherokee L starts at a base price of $38,690, including destination charge, for the base Laredo model, which includes adaptive cruise control and the company’s fifth-generation Uconnect infotainment system. Our tested top-of-the-line Summit Reserve has a base price of $58,690, and its bottom line as tested was $66,275.
Key suppliers for the Grand Cherokee L include:
- Dakkota Integrated Systems – Instrument Panel, Suspension
- Universal Logistics Holdings, Inc. – Sequential Parts Delivery
- Valeo – Front End Modules
- Magna Seating – Seats
- Magna – Fascias
- Fuyou Automotive North America, Inc. – Glass
- International Automotive Components – Headliner
- Mayco International – Hard Trim
- EnovaPremier – Tire and Wheel Assemblies
- Brose – Door Modules
- Carlex Glass America – Windshield, Rear Hatch Glass
- JVIS USA – Console
- Yangfeng Automotive Interiors – Door Panels
Production has commenced at a newly refurbished and expanded Detroit Assembly Complex – Mack, which was previously the production site for the Pentastar V6 engine used in the Grand Cherokee and other Stellantis models. Before that, the plant was the original assembly site for the Dodge Viper sports car.
Jeep provided us with a tour of the Detroit Assembly Complex to see the Grand Cherokee’s production process, so click through our slide show for a look.